RICHARD LONG
Works on Paper

WILLEM BOSHOFF
Text Works

14 June – 10 September 2012

SMAC Art Gallery is proud to present Richard Long: Works on Paper, organised in collaboration with Haunch of Venison, London and Willem Boshoff: Text Works.

These concurrent exhibitions present work by two artists of international acclaim. Britain’s Richard Long, one of the world’s most renowned and established land artists, exhibits alongside Willem Boshoff, one of South Africa’s foremost conceptual artists. Richard Long and Willem Boshoff work in distinctly different visual languages, however their central context and inspiration is synonymous – nature and the nature of things. The exhibitions reveal how the artists uniquely engage with the natural and social world.

In 2011, Richard Long was invited to visit South Africa for a residency at the NIROX Foundation, situated in the World Heritage region in Gauteng, known as the Cradle of Humankind. The Cradle of Humankind is a massive expanse of Highveld grass and woodland and is an area of enormous scientific significance, this is where Long and Boshoff met for the first time – their mutual affinities leading to these concurrent exhibitions.

Recipient of Britain’s infamous Turner Prize in 1989, Richard Long has made a significant and indelible contribution to the visual arts. Long has exhibited extensively all over the world since 1968. Important early exhibitions include participation in Arte Povera, Amalfi, Italy, as well as at Earth Art, Cornell University, New York in 1969.

 In 1971, Long took part in the Guggenheim International Award exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, and exhibited in the Projects gallery at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 1972. Long was invited to participate in Documenta 5 and 7 in 1972 and 1982, in Kassel and represented Great Britain at the Venice Biennale in 1976 and 1980.

Affiliated with Land Art, a movement inextricably linking art and the environment, Long is interested in the earth’s surface and the experience of the natural environment. In 1967 Long started his walk-works, initially repeating the organic, impermanent act of walking in a single line until a trail was made. This notion became his point of departure for walks that have taken him to Mongolia, Bolivia, Canada, India, Nepal, Finland, Iceland, and in 2004 and 2011, South Africa.

The marks that Long leaves are dialogues with nature, delicate deliberations and meditations that resonate with a serene simplicity. Finger prints, muddy hand prints, stone sculptures, a line of sticks and old animal bones, Long’s works are not documentations but extensions, even translations of his outdoor experiences.

Willem Boshoff has had a prolific art career spanning over 30 years. In  2008 he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Johannesburg. Having recently returned from overseas where he presented a talk at the Tate Modern in London, Boshoff’s reputation has established itself as one of international standing. Boshoff represented South Africa at the Säo Paulo Biennale in 1996 and in 1997 he was the winner of the FNB Vita Award for Art. In 1998 he won the Ludwig Giess Preis, awarded by the LETTER Stiftung, Cologne, Germany and in 1999 he received the Gauteng Arts, Culture and Heritage Award for Visual Art. In 2001 he was the recipient of an honorary medal for Visual Arts and Sculpture from the South African Academy for Science and Art.

Boshoff combines his fascination with words and language with an astute awareness of the natural world and socio-political discourses. Working in a number of modes and media, from monumental stone and wood works, to ephemeral works from sand, to ‘concrete poetry’ (his own dictionaries and taxonomies), it is the world’s texts and textures that inspire Boshoff. Boshoff’s almost obsessive ethic and painstaking approach, in conjunction with a convergence of craft and concept has  garnered his art extensive local and international recognition. Working with Southern Africa’s textures, Boshoff handles sand, stone and especially wood with  impressive skill and intimate intricacy.