South African Rubber and Clay: Material Challenges to the Global Nomad

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Elizabeth A. Perrill, Associate Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:

Abstract: Artistic nomads described in Nicolas Bourriaud's Altermodern are the elite darlings of the contemporary artworld. Yet these transgressors of national boundaries often fail to engage with or slowly abandon local audiences and iconography. Through an analysis of several South African artworks, this article proposes that Okwui Enwezor's alternative concept of the ‘aftermodern’ is particularly relevant for those working against nomadic superficiality. South Africans Nicholas Hlobo and Clive Sithole are discussed as counterpoints to facile reliance on transnationally recognised sign systems. The both personally idiosyncratic and culturally bound meanings of these artists' materials and significations create subtle oppositions to globalising homogeneity. Utilising material iconographies and histories akin to those of Joseph Beuys, ‘aftermodern’ artists challenge superficiality by privileging local connections to chart new gender constructions and identities through media specificity and subtle linguistic play.

Additional Information

Third Text. 26,5, Sept, 2012, 585-597
Language: English
Date: 2012
Elizabeth Perrill, South Africa, art, ceramics, installation, Nicolas Bourriaud, altermodern, post-apartheid, materiality, comics, Okwui Enwezor, Nicholas Hlobo, Clive Sithole

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