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Group Exhibition

29.08.16 – 03.09.16


The words UPSTART and STARTUP seem to be peering at one another from opposite sides of a mirror, each raising an arm and waiting for their counterpart behind the surface to do the same. While the two phrases are certainly related and, in some circumstances, interchangeable, it is best in this instance to understand UPSTART as ‘cause’ and STARTUP as ‘effect’.

SMAC Gallery proudly opens in Johannesburg with UPSTART/STARTUP, a group exhibition featuring works by a selection of gallery artists; Jake Aikman, Ruann Coleman, Barend de Wet, Peter Eastman, Frances Goodman, Kate Gottgens, Georgina Gratrix, Cyrus Kabiru, Alexandra Karakashian, Johann Louw, Mongezi Ncaphayi, Chemu Ng’ok, Musa N. Nxumalo, Giovanni Ozzola, Jody Paulsen, Simon Stone, Ed Young and Asha Zero.

Never one to be shaped by current trends or fads, an UPSTART is often an esoteric figure, generally considered as a ‘parvenu’ or societal ascender. The UPSTART is approached with caution, a merited trepidation, for this protean character is bound to – at any point – shoot upwards, surpassing many of its spectators’ expectations. However there is a way to harness the limitless potential of the enigmatic UPSTART. With some creative license and a little rearranging of characters, one discovers the STARTUP.

A youthful operation, fully supported and independent, it is furnished with generous amounts of dynamism, proficiency and energy. The STARTUP thrives on experimentation and consistently endeavours to invigorate and enliven the all too commonly found mediocre and stale practices of its day.

As UPSTART and STARTUP mimic and counter each other, they are able to support, reinforce and critique their reflection. With the STARTUP offering the UPSTART a platform on which to create and explore concepts, the UPSTART allows the STARTUP the means to continue to grow and further its contribution to the cultivation of talent.

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