TALITA CALITZ

Pretoria, traditionally, is not a city particularly synonymous with art. But maybe it’s time to change this misconception.

Just a few blocks from campus, at 430 Charles Street, sits FRIED Contemporary Art Gallery andStudio. Quite easy to find and worth the visit, the gallery is currently showcasing a variety of new artworks created by 14 established local female artists.

The exhibition is entitled “Bodies in transition”, and the curator is Prof. Elfriede Dreyer, who is a lecturer in the Department of Fine Arts at Tuks.

“The idea was to work with human bodies and how their identities change through the influence of technology,” explains Prof. Dreyer. “Instead of technology helping people, it has become quite an obstacle that could drive people apart.”

Entering the gallery, you are met with different artworks strategically placed in different rooms – each with the artist’s explanation of the inspiration behind their art.

Many of the artworks deal with themes like virtual reality, post-humanism, environmental issues and identity. The artists have a strong relation to the University of Pretoria as many of them completed their degrees at Tuks. They include Erna Bodenstein, Jenna Burchell, Nathani Lüneburg, Anna-Lynne Marais and Irene Naudé.

All 14 artists have created works that use different kinds of media. As a result, the exhibition consists of everything from traditional oil paintings to actual objects (such as a typewriter and an old television set on which sections of film art are shown).

For quality contemporary art this exhibition is definitely something that cannot be missed.

The exhibition runs till 7 March 2010 – plenty of time to soak up some inspiration.

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