Friday, October 23, 2009

Katherine Bull

The drawing machine... Katherine Bull.
One chair for Liza, one chair for Irma.

Four hours of low-res high-concentration digital life drawing.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Sonya Rademeyer

The eyes are the windows to the soul (?)

Sonya invited a group of 20 somethings to partake in a visual experiment. She showed them images of paintings by Stern intermixed with other painters that portrayed war and violence. Their eyes were video recorded whilst they looked at the visuals. Unexpectedly strong emotional responses were observed in both the expressions and the feedback.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Ruben Gutierrez

Mexico to Cape Town.
How does one pay a 1-day visit across miles and miles of deep blue sea?
Ruben suggested a possible solution via email...

...Rendering Theoretical Commitments Visible.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Michael Taylor

Michael Taylor is a prolific artist. He settled into the library and made drawn responses to each and every Stern portrait. Below are some of the outcomes. To view all, visit

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Jacques Coetzer

Saturday mornings are especially good for drinking coffee at some special little cafe...

Jacques used an unique system. He treated guests to home brewed coffee and biscuits and chatted about one of his latest projects: a functional coffee shop at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro as a sustainable business for the local community.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Seth Harper

Seth installed a portrait wall of 'the family' in various settings. Two of the brothers (on the chair) came along to observe...

He built a brand new member of the family from scratch in his characteristic style within the day residency period.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Niklas Zimmer

Niklas marked students' art theory dissertations, but paused to converse and have tea with visitors.

The camera shutter clicked every minute with mechanistic regularity:
420 photographs in 7 hours. Does human interaction adjust the flow of time?
Watch this space for the short film of the day.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Johan Thom

Some visitors are more demanding than others...
Johan posted 100 engraved razors, emailed a couple of instructions, and requested that I perform a randomly constructed version of the poem below...
"afloat in tethers row” (in memory of South African poet Ingrid Jonker) in three anchor bay
beneath an ever breaching wave
not of waternot of soil
but where drowning meets with chafe and heat
and open wounds still loathe to heal
awash in bugles coil with salt
yet pulsing far beyond our reach
others float like nesting crows
i knew you once or may yet still
in turn of tide
en masse
set sail
to bleached white sands
long exposed to sundrenched
cooled down by temperate flow
this shore is neither yours nor mine
to trample
touch or disavow
and castaway the chance to meet
amid ships afloat in tethers row

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Lynette Bester

Lynette arrived back in Cape Town from a collaborative residency in Cornwall at 08.10 and came straight to the museum, suitcase and all...

For the duration of the residency, Lynette communicated with friends and visitors on Post-Its and via sms. The conversations became visual fragments that invaded the space.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Barend de Wet & Adrienne van Eeden-Wharton

Double knit: a knitting performance in all the colours of the rainbow. Barend and Adrienne chose one of each colour double knit wool available and sistematically (over a month) knitted one colour after the other. As the colours multiply, the distance between them grows... The project continuous...

Friday, October 9, 2009

Abri de Swardt

Abri had many visitors whilst constructing his collage/performance Visitation. Here he is explaining his working method to art consultant Rose Korber. On Saturday 10 October the Visitation, based on Irma Stern's Water Carrier, attended the walkabout. Below: Visitation, the spirit of Stern, at the Zanzibar front door of The Firs (Irma Stern Museum).

photo: Stuart Buttle

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Lien Botha

Lien Botha brought an African Grey Parrot named Coco with her on her visit. He whistled and watched as she installed the dado gray scale on the wall of the residency space. (The dado gray scale was used by photographers when developing their own prints as a guide of the tonal spectrum in the print.)
In other parts of the museum, she hid colour cards. People who found these were entitled to a free catalogue of her show Parrot Jungle, which is currently on at the PhotographersGalleryZA (Shortmarket Street, Cape Town). At the same time, it also forced visitors to engaged with the venue as a historic space. Two groups of students visited, and there was an intense discussion around her work.
Lien with the completed scale at the end of the day...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Francisca Sanchez

Francisca Sanchez posted 6 waterfalls for her residency (7 Oct). Here the paper construction can be seen as installed in the residency space...
View to see more of her work.

Sunday, August 30, 2009


Wednesday 7 October - Francisca Sanchéz (Chili)

My cascading life in Irma Stern's room OR you will be making waterfalls inside houses - an installation of waterfalls.

Thursday 8 October - Lien Botha

African Grey: Botha will have the company of an African Grey Parrot while stepping out a dado gray scale on the wall of the allocated residency space.

In other spaces throughout the gallery will be hidden ten colour strips and the first ten visitors to spot and produce these strips will each win a catalogue of Botha's latest show Parrot Jungle which coincides with Grobler's show. The only requirement is that catalogues must be collected from the Photographer's gallery in Cape Town.

Friday 9 October – Abri de Swardt

“During the years spent in Europe studying there was always the one idea in my mind – back to Africa, the country of my birth, the land of sunshine, of radiant colours, where the fruit grows so plentifully and the flowers seem to reach the summit of all joy” - Irma Stern, The Cape Argus, 3 April 1926.

“What a joy, when after a week I was allowed to enter the class of living models!... From the very first moment I took the greatest delight in this work. The human body appeared to me to be an instrument for expressing the emotions of the soul. What sorrow lay in a bowed head, in a curved back; what joy and force in a figure standing upright! This was new land and I set out to conquer it with keenest intensity” - Irma Stern, The Cape Argus 19 June 1926.

Given Stern’s well-known primitivist sentiments, Abrie de Swardt intends to utilize The water carrier (1937) as a starting point for a body collage that will be produced during the residency and subsequently worn as a performance at Grobler’s walkabout on the following day. In the performance, Visitation, he will be present within Stern’s house as a poltergeist haunting her, an exorcism of the very ‘primitive’ she delineated as paradise, albeit in a manner that reinforced the eurocentrist paradigms of the time. The collage will be a curation of images onto his body that catalogues Stern’s journeys into Africa, referencing her extensive collection of ethnographic objects – it is a Pan-Africanist tapestry of travel and the ‘exotic’.

Saturday 10 October – Adrienne van Eeden-Wharton & Barend de Wet

Double Knit - Barend de Wet & Adrienne van Eeden Wharton

A continuous, collaborative knitting session in all the colours of the rainbow...

Tuesday 13 October – Lynette Bester

Bester arrives back from Cape Cornwall (England) in Cape Town on Tuesday 8am, 13 October 2009, and will make her way, not home, but to visit a friend, to participate in VISITOR. She will unpack her bags and keep-sakes collected during her travel. She will only be communicating to Grobler and others in the gallery space on post-its, as well as via sms text to others outside the gallery. Communication in this manner, apart from being a wonderful tool, is also a handicap, smokescreen or mask and a results in compromised friendship

of true communication, albeit traditional communication.

Wednesday 14 October – Johan Thom

Incantation: In all there are five main INCANTATIONS of 100 words each. Each word of the individual INCANTATION is engraved on an ordinary steel razorblade (1 word per blade). These words are ‘read’ aloud in order during the various INCANTATIONS. That is, each blade is physically handled as its is removed from the pack of blades, read aloud or perhaps rather ‘intoned’ in this context (decoded and understood by the brain), spoken (verbally re-encoded) and finally thrown to the floor, falling where it may. Thus each word becomes a compound term, denoting a set of interrelated actions, objects and meanings. The residency's incantation is in memory of poet Ingrid Jonker...

Thursday 15 October – Niklas Zimmer

Niklas intends to have tea with as many (un)usually dressed/behaving friends as care to visit him: "I'd like to take this as an opportunity to create an interesting photographic essay on the sur-face of Cape Town's creatives. So: This is an open invitation to all with goodness and friendliness somewhere in their hearts to visit me for tea. Please bring cookies etc., and dress and behave (un)usually, and be prepared to be photographed at least once, or perhaps 214 times."

Friday 16 October – Seth Harper

Seth will create one of his signature characters from start to finish and showcase 'the family' in a series of portraits.

Saturday 17 October - Jacques Coetzer

Jacques Coetzer is currently involved in a project with friends to extablish a permanent coffee shop at the foot of mount Kilimanjaro. During his residency, he will offer visitors fresh coffee, ground from coffee plantations at the foot of this mountain.

Tuesday 20 October – Michael Taylor

Michael plays the role of visiting 'portrait artist' for one day, creating rapid sketches in response to each of Stern's portrait paintings in the downstairs drawing room. These reactionary drawings confront Stern's subjects as would a ghost, an unexpected visitor, or an imaginary friend. The A6 journal pad drawings will then form the content for a special edition of Michael's online publication 'The Book of Immediate Nonsense'.

Wednesday 21 October – Ruben Gutiérrez

Rendering theoretical commitments visible...

Thursday 22 October – Sonya Rademeyer

Documenting eye-movements. This flows from her research which explores whether innate empathy affects the way that art is seen. Rademeyer subdivides the day by selecting 10 individuals to participate.The eye movement made during the scanning of the on-screen imagery, will be recorded via the computer’s in-built camera.

Friday 23 October - Katherine Bull

Bull wil draw a digital portrait of Grobler sitting in Irma Stern's Big chair and then a subsequent picture of the empty chair in situ in the museum.