curated by Paul Tichmann
January 12 – July 31, 2013
For the past twelve years Allen has been exploring the image of South Africa through a series of collection projects. His studio practice has evolved out of an interest in how mass-produced items—newspapers, stamps, magazines, records—function as carriers of information and operate in the construction of national identity.
Records, Allen’s most recent collection project, is rooted in his extensive archive of South African audio consisting of over 2500 items including 650 rare shellac discs. The project has generated a series of varied works sourced from this ongoing audio collection including a number of site responsive installation works, a series of large-scale digital prints, and a searchable web-based database that can be viewed at www.flatinternational.org.
In time, as the collection grows, names and labels will be added to the curtain, but like an asymptote that never reaches its axis, the collection can never be complete. In as much as the archive can never contain all recordings, the curtain cannot represent all artists. The project is but a fragment of history and the curtain is an impossible attempt to capture that history. The curtain functions as both a tribute to decades of South African music and a memorial to those individuals named. Though Allen’s curtain is more celebratory than somber, like Maya Lin’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., the sheer accumulation of ‘the individual’ transforms the collective into the monumental.
Many thanks to Paul Tichmann (Curator of Social History at Iziko Museums), Lalou Meltzer (Director of Social History Collections at Iziko), Glen Fouten, Kenni Molopyane, Kendall Buster, Tony East, Claire van Blerk and Goodman Gallery for making the project possible.
|Kendall Buster, Kenni Molopyane and Glen Fouten all helped install the work.|