venerdì 4 luglio 2008


Lara Koseff

Avant Car Guard appears to be proclaiming its position as the pirate of the Jo’burg art scene. Zander Blom, Jan-Henri Booyens & Michael MacGarry form the trio that staged an event at David Krut Projects this weekend. Instead of pirating goods, however, the trio are more interested in stealing the viewer’s attention in order to challenge perceptions about what it means to be an artist in South Africa.
The event was advertised as the launch of Avant Car Guard’s new album, which is a publication of photographs of their previous staged antics. The trio was present to sign the publication. The scenario, however, was quite dissimilar to any other book signing in that the artists were emerging from three holes in a makeshift pirate shipwreck. The ship was plastered with Avant Car Guard signage, a home-made skull and crossbones flag rising out of it and a chaotic pile of publications spread out in front of it. Although this and the smoke machine made the atmosphere quite melodramatic there was nothing theatrical about the artists’ demeanour. They were drinking beer, smoking and making polite conversation with those curious and even brave enough to approach them.
Avant Car Guard is not only pushing the boundaries of conceptual art in South Africa, but also demystifying the notion of the renowned and established South African artist. They achieve this by enacting satirical scenarios of their own derisive and uncertain fame and ultimately baffling others into believing it and eventually questioning it.
The newly opened David Krut Projects was the perfect venue for such an event. People poured out onto the pavement and engaged in animated discussion and debate. The space, tucked in between a sex shop and a now-defunct curry den, looks out onto Jan Smuts Avenue, on a block that is fast becoming the new Jo’burg gallery strip.. This is the perfect setting to be exposed to the contemporary Jo’burg art scene and to simultaneously question and debunk it.

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