Gradex’11 explores the in-between spaces where new meaning is created
The Visual Arts Class of 2011 kicked off the annual Gradex exhibition on Friday, 25 November, with an opening reception featuring music by The Cat and the Jackal and an address by artist and Stellenbosch University alumnus Francis Burger.
This year the theme of the group exhibition, which features works from studio practice majors in Fine Arts, Jewellery Design and Creative Metal Techniques, and Visual Communication Design, is FOLD. The exhibition is housed in the Visual Arts Department in Victoria Street, Stellenbosch and is open to the public on Mondays to Fridays between 09:00 and 17:00. It will finish on 9 December 2011.
“Gradex is an annual exhibition of final-year students, a diverse group of young artists engaged in critical visual practices. The exhibition is developed in consultation with teaching staff, yet it remains an entirely student-driven initiative, from fundraising to installation and catalogue design,” says Ms Kathryn Smith, a lecturer and course co-ordinator for Fine Arts Studio practice in the Department.
Students organised themselves into teams to manage curatorial decisions, fundraising, marketing and technical installation requirements for the exhibition. The fundraising campaign alone has encompassed a range of creative activities, from fun runs to weekly lunch-a-thons, and the design and sale of collectible t-shirts and mugs. The funds were used for a massive opening event of 700 people and to setup the exhibition.
“In so doing, the production of the graduate exhibition plays a critical role in their professional practice education,” says Smith.
The theme FOLD, which can be used as a noun and verb, was selected as the primary organising principle and conceptual framework for the exhibition by the 2011 graduates.
“The fold produces a fragile and liminal space – a crease – where all practices briefly meet and interact. The crease signifies a dynamic meeting place that each student encounters daily within the department. It functions as an influential place of joining and separating; of combining and un(folding); a space of reference and reflection. This in-between space opens up for unexpected visual dialogues to be brought together – where new possible meanings may un(fold),” says the curatorial team.
The teams responsible for the exhibition included Lee-Ann van der Schyff, the co-ordinator and head curator; Emma Keet and her design team; Marlene Steyn and her Opening Night team; Rochelle Goosen and her marketing team; Karina van Schalkwyk and her financial team and Carla Kruger and her fundraising team.
The exhibition presents the culmination of a wide variety of individual, research-based explorations by 43 students.
“The interaction between disciplinary focus and multidisciplinary experimentation promises a vital and exploratory exhibition that tests the limits of creative research, as skills and positions fold together and fold back on each other,” says Smith.
Gradex is sponsored by Leopard’s Leap Wines, Maxigroup, BURO, Duraline, Serve the City and Brundyn + Gonsalves.
- For more details about this exciting exhibition, visit www.gradex.co.za. You can also join Gradex’11 on Facebook for regular updates.