kagablog

December 12, 2011

Filed under: art,barking up the wrong tree,peter engblom,photography — ABRAXAS @ 2:27 pm

March 25, 2011

Art and the Moon: Engblom’s art attack.

Filed under: art,helgé janssen,peter engblom,reviews — ABRAXAS @ 7:12 am

What a fantastic evening AND the moon at its closest to the earth in two decades 19 March 2011. What a stunning venue – Khaya Lembali expertly managed by Helena tel: 082 9015931.

The venue is used for conferences, functions including weddings.

*http://www.khayalembali.co.za/

Khaya Lembali proved to be perfect as a setting to view Peters comprehensive photographic exhibition. This ‘art activist’ showing was a very welcome expansion on the Eshowe event and Peter certainly knows a thing or two when it comes to styling his inimitable ensemble instillation soirées. It was a hit!

Dave Starke opened the evening with perfectly pitched aplomb and after two solo acoustic numbers was joined by Shomon Daniel. Shomon absolutely dazzled using breath across her vocal chords as a maestro violinist might manifest the perfect pitch from strings. Her shamanistic take on standard songs banks on the malleability of her musical accompanist as much as it relies on her ability to intuitively connect with her audience. Give her any sentence and her vocal prowess will convert it into a musical line to remember. Shomon is a unique performer with a singular vocal technique that is Jazz focused and Trip Hop influenced. Don’t even try and box this artist….give her free reign and you will be delighted. Any talent scouts listening?

The Zululand Vikings (aka the Norwegian Field Band) spread their infectious expertise and swung their way into everyone’s hearts with flawless composure! Collectively they give new meaning to the term ‘band’ where they wield their trombones, tubas and and French horns as if born to do it! And do it they do!!

The exhibition was far more radical than the Eshowe display giving a broader insight into the range of Peter’s photographic visions. The beauty of the images is matched by the brilliance of his synthesis: the bringing together of seemingly disparate images to tell a contemporary tale so vital to modern South Africa.

Oh dear: ‘modern South Africa’? Is that an oxymoron? Well, I’ll leave you to ponder that. But one image slammed directly into my consciousness:

this one: (demand diamonds)

Certainly the pièce de résistance of the exhibition. Accessing virtually all of Peters obsessions: advertising, beauty, sloganeering, blackness, women, modernity, nostalgia, fashion, styling, painting (Tretchikoff?), a sense of period, irony, a wry interpretation of political correctness, everything comes into crystal focus in this win win manifestation.

And then a sharp art collector (David Gouldie) snapped up the entire range of Peter’s 9 cm X 5 cm photographic blocks – about 100 in all! Wow!

The snacks and eats flowed profusely making sure that the 150 odd guests were not only fed a diet of cutting edge culture. The delectable delights were of course enhanced (and how could I overlook this?) by the eye candy!

Peter Engblom is blazing a trail through Durban’s art scene. When next he exhibits one of his instillation soirées, break down and cry if you do not have an invite. Alternatively beg, steal, or kill to get one!

Also visit: ecomuse.co.za.

February 20, 2011

The art of Peter Engblom: a Swinging Safari – George Hotel, Eshowe

Filed under: art,helgé janssen,peter engblom,reviews — ABRAXAS @ 7:06 pm

tel: 035 474 4919

I was invited to DJ @ the opening of Peter Engblom’s “Swinging Safari” exhibition held at the George Hotel, Eshowe. Peter has implemented a ‘take over’ of the decor and the ‘intent’ of the hotel and is gradually creating a MUST VISIT point on the art itinerary of KwazuluNatal. The entire hotel – with its huge Zulu photographic wall prints, with Peter’s art work, its backpackers, a studio, a gallery – is becoming a phenomenal art instillation of unique and intriguing proportions. And not only does Eshowe boast an incredible forest with a canopy trail of tree top ecology, it also hosts a Field Drum Academy (the only one in South Africa). And in his inimitable way, Peter gathered together an eclectic group of truly interesting people at the opening of this exhibition.

The opening: The event began with the Norwegian Field Band performing “Swinging Safari” by Bert Camfert. The Field Band consisted of an amalgam of brass instruments, a drummer and stunning vocals brilliantly performed. The young performers from Norway are on an adventure of their lives working at the Field Drum Academy.** Then Shomon Daniel presented THE most shimmering rendition of ‘Summertime’ that I have ever heard, giving a lyrically insightful interpretation that made me hear this song for the VERY first time. Nothing short of astonishing!! Certainly someone to watch. Later on there was a man called Jim Reves crooning to some Afrikaner songs – “Sarie Marais” was one of them – completing the artistic instillation and the practical ‘conceptualisation’ of Peter’s artistic oeuvre that is so surrealistically seized in his art work. And then of course it was my turn to DJ dance the guests into the wee hours of the night!

The Exhibition: One of the absolute basic requirements in viewing Peter’s art work is having a sense of humour and being able to think laterally. This seemingly simple freethinking liberal stance becomes the inherent anarchic challenge invoked within any viewer. Without this utterly contemporary insight, it is impossible to make any headway in grasping Peter’s challenging perceptual contribution to the contemporary South African art scene. Whether it draws on Zulu tradition, Afrikaner nationalism, English Colonialism, white domination or black empowerment the overall picture (excuse the pun) is one of INCLUSIVITY. It is IMPOSSIBLE to extract any one influence and delineate a priority. In the mix of what Africa was and more specifically in what South Africa has become, these influences which may still be jostling for dominance in an hierarchical world (the one that is rapidly dying) are given equal importance in the reflective balance of our historical past. One can no more extract whites out of Africa than one can extract blacks out of Europe. In this sense, Peter’s work levels the playing fields and gives prominence to each of the prestigious ‘swings’ of our history in the synthesis of his work. Using a strong (and deceptive) sense of nostalgia even to the point of introducing the flickering light of aged 8 mm film into his video workings

and thus merging past with present Peter ties the entire historical concept of contemporary South Africa into a disturbing bundle of reality….with a twist of humour! And by placing the present in the past or the past in the present depending how you the viewer ‘weights’ the presented images (a modern white women in traditional African dress with warrior-like Zulus in the background) Peter instantly questions how influences can and are so easily and unconsciously absorbed into our subliminal historical make-up. To say that any one of these power points in our archives is of little significance is to embrace denial and to be immune to vital human energies. Whether good or bad, we have all been contaminated by our collective past. In this sense Peter’s work is crucial to the deeper appreciation of our South African heritage. The consideration may not be ‘comfortable’ but that does not make it any less relevant. And for me, the nostalgia in Peter’s work is used to highlight the importance of contemporary thought rather than show a hankering for the past.

Our history is riddled with gaps, with inconsistencies, with hidden agendas, with lies, with selective memories – all of which is evoked in Peters work.

If you get half a chance to travel to Eshowe, to stay the night or weekend basking in the summer glory of the George Hotel and to end up feeling culturally stimulated and relevant, do NOT hesitate. Go! You will not regret it!

** “THE FBF Academy will aim to address the low levels of skills in the economically and socially challenged areas in South Africa and the FBF intends to establish a learning centre which will bridge the gap between schooling and possible tertiary study but also generally raise the levels of functionality of our tutors and staff to a level where they can become self-sustaining.”

http://www.fieldband.org.za/improved_ed.asp

October 9, 2010

kaganof engblom deane: recent work

Filed under: art,kagagallery,nicola deane,peter engblom — ABRAXAS @ 3:24 pm

September 29, 2010

alex sudheim on kaganof, engblom & deane

Filed under: art,kagagallery,nicola deane,peter engblom — ABRAXAS @ 5:48 am

April 17, 2010

eco muse eshowe

Filed under: peter engblom — ABRAXAS @ 10:29 am

April 8, 2010

retro girls

Filed under: art,peter engblom — ABRAXAS @ 9:07 am

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The truth is out there.

Peter Machen spoke to artist and photographer Peter Engblom.

Peter Engblom dances like the crazy man he is along that fine and inescapable line that separates history from myth, facts from reality. It is a line that is of course constantly moving and shifting, and in Engblom’s case it is one that is defined by the thin dotted-lines that defines selections of images in Photoshop, the photo-imaging program.

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A friend of mine is studying quantity surveying at DIT and a lecturer asked the students one day if any of them knew why Nelson Mandela had been imprisoned. No-one in the class of young adults knew. Not treason. Not Rivonia. Nothing. They should have gone to the internet to find out, like Peter Engblom suggested to his DIT fine art photography class.

“Go”, he said, “to the internet, “and find out everything you can about Zulu masks”. His class returned, duly diligent, with reams of information about Zulu masks. “Now throw it all away”, said Engblom, “because Zulu masks do not exist.”

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A museum designer by profession and a former yacht-broker by trade, Engblom is also the man responsible for the now infamous Zulu Sushi series of images, in which he tells the story of Mpunzi Shezi, the first Zulu missionary who went to Japan at the turn of the century and brought back Zen to the Zulus. It is of course a load of horse-shit, but Engblom has constructed his protagonist’s world so convincingly that a certain woman who is not too fond of him, commented that Mpunzi Shezi is so interesting, it’s just a pity that Peter Engblom discovered him.

He who laughs loudest is sometimes on his way to the bank.

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Engblom’s latest project, one of several, is entitled Retro Girls. And it involves an extraordinarily clever little conceit that is at once as light as a feather and with sufficient depth to incorporate his own truth and reconciliation committee, the construction of the female body by gay men, the erasure of apartheid and the overriding contemporary desire to consume that may well end up consuming us all.

What he has done is reconstruct 50’s style prints ads for old South African products which were pandering to the emerging post-war middle class. Except, he’s replaced the original white models with black women. And in the process, he deletes apartheid with the click of a mouse, providing an advertising image of South Africa that might have existed if Verwoerd had not had his dirty way.

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To add to things, Engblom used his own mother’s body for many of the images, recolouring her limbs and replacing her face with that of a young black woman. His mother was actually a clothing model, or mannequin as they used to be called in the 50’s. And one of the women whose face features so seamlessly is Portia, a local singer with an extraordinary voice and a massive presence who fronts the oddly-named rock band Loure. Portia is a beautiful example of the new generation of young South African women. She bristles with confidence, and is determined to do things her way, so she is the perfect choice for Engblom. And of course she becomes, in a bizarre sense, Engblom’s surrogate mother, the past and the future coming together in his manic head and finally arriving in a frame on a gallery wall in semi-industrial Durban.

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Then there is the exploration of the representation of the female body. Engblom and I have often spoken about how the patriarchy, responsible for so much bad shit, has nonetheless been falsely accused of giving modern women impossibly high body standards. The blame for that must go to the gay men who have populated post-war media and fashion, and who have relentlessly sought to reduce the female body to that of a post-adolescent boy.

Straight men on the other hand like a bit of flesh, and for most of them, even advertising isn’t strong enough to change the fact that a generous ass tends to hypnotise the male gaze. At the same time, as contemporary desires fuel a reality built in the impossibly perfect world of Photoshop, the young black female body in South Africa has changed substantially in the last decade. The archetypal mama has slimmed down as body shapes, along with fashion, music and consumables move towards a point of generic convergence, and anorexia and bulima spread their bile into African society.

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So check out Retro Girls, when perfect women still had curves. It’s another world very much like this one. And even if you don’t give a flying anything about art or meaning, the pictures will make you smile.

http://www.zulusushi.com/retrogirls.html

April 5, 2010

ecomuse

Filed under: peter engblom — ABRAXAS @ 9:05 am

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http://ecomuse.co.za/

December 21, 2009

claire angelique and peter engblom

Filed under: just good friends,peter engblom — ABRAXAS @ 4:13 pm

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August 1, 2009

Peter Engblom – “Pandora’s Box”

Filed under: art,peter engblom — ABRAXAS @ 11:35 pm

A photographic Exhibition

Jim Neversink will be playing live music

A Prego stand and cash bar will be available
All welcome

Saturday 1st August 2009 from 11am – 4pm

39 Keyes Avenue, off Jellicoe, Rosebank
Gallery hours Mon to Fri 9h00 – 17h00 Sat 9h00 – 13h00
011 788 4435
www.davidbrownfineartco.za
david@dbfineart.co.za
Exhibition closes 9th August 2009

Pandora van Rensburg
A lot of people know a little about Siener van Rensburg and his visions, many take them with a large pinch of salt & others add a little Tequila.

There may be a coherent story hidden in these visions as some facts balance perfectly modern occurrences. His stories consist of four main parts. One of them contains extensive reference to the “fall of the European Government”, while another one deals entirely with the modern day struggle between the USA and the extremist revolutionaries that follow Islam. He noted that the vierkleur would be flying above the Union Buildings when the ice began to melt, that around this time Koeberg power station would blow up, that the world economy would collapse, the Kruger millions would be found, etc. These visions were all recorded by his daughter some time before his death in 1926.

What many people do not know is that his granddaughter, Pandora van Rensburg, was the first Burlesque performer in Africa. The Boer commandos had a hard time fighting the British forces and there was little or no entertainment for them. Pandora set up a little dance troupe and traveled the various frontlines with her ostrich feathers. Weather this was motivated by patriotism or greed we will never know. What we do know is that she was so successful that she eventually toured the country in a pink sedan, and there are rumors that she may have performed in St Helena, Bermuda and Ceylon for the imprisoned Boer troupes at no cost to these bitter patriots. Pandora carried her ostrich feathers in an old guitar case and this eventually became known as “Pandora’s Box” in Afrikaans known as “Pandora se doos”.

Pandora’s live shows for “Springbok Cigarettes” predated most live advertising in the country and many of her pioneering ideas were later used on the radio station named after this Burlesque show. Many people think that “burlesque” means female strippers walking a runway to a bump and grind beat. But that only fits this form in its later years. At its best, burlesque was a rich source of music and comedy that kept audiences laughing.

Underdressed women performed as sexual aggressors, combining good looks with impertinent comedy, and all this was in a production written and managed by a woman. Unthinkable in those times. No wonder the commandos turned out in droves, making Pandora and her “Boer Burlesque” the hottest thing from Pretoria to Potchefstroom. Demand for tickets was such that she held a special command performance for President Kruger and his generals in his stables behind his house in Pretoria.

Pandora’s principal legacy was her shifting of patterns of gender representation that forever changed the role of the woman on the South African stage. The sight of a female body, not covered by the accepted norms of respectability, forcefully if playfully, called attention to the entire question of the “place” of woman in society.

Peter Engblom studied photography at the Bavarian State Institute in Munich. His ancestors established a Norwegian mission outpost in Zululand at the turn of the last century. A sugar farmer and yacht broker, he has spent over a decade photographing traditional rituals and ceremonies in Zululand. Peter has produced audiovisual experiences for clients such as Itala Bank, Lever Brothers, CI Caravans, Ilanga Newspaper, KwaZulu Monuments Council and the Local History Museums in Durban. He designed the Bensusan Museum of Photography in Johannesburg and the Portnet Visitor Centre in Durban. He also created the concept and history of Mpunzi Shezi, the first Zulu missionary to the Japanese – he took Ubuntu to the Buddhists and brought Zen back to the Zulus. He describes his work as ‘the Celestine Prophecy meets Mad Magazine”. He also designed the suitcases for Big Brother and was the creative director on South Africa’s bid to host the world architectural congress.

Description: Fine Art Exhibition
Peter Engblom spends his days dancing along the ever-shifting line that separates myth from history. A museum designer by profession, the irreverent Engblom is also responsible for the now infamous Zulu Sushi series of images, in which he tells the story of Mpunzi Shezi, a Zulu missionary who went to Japan at the turn of the. “Pandoras Box” is an exhibition of recent photographic artworks created behind the “boerewors curtain” featuring Pandora van Rensburg the improbable daughter of Siener van Rensburk and her travels around the world. She may be a fragment of her own imagination.

Q: How would you characterize your photographic style?

A: At the moment I find myself creating photographic lies. The “Pandoras box” work is based on the fact that identities are constructions that we are swindled into believing. My pictures are constructions of events that never took place.

Q: What inspired “Pandora’s Box”

A: I was reading a book about the visions of Siener van Rensburg and was struck by the idea that the world is going to end in 2012. Research revealed that Clarens would be the safest place to be when the south pole becomes the north pole. Russians are already building bunkers in the mountains.

Q: What role does your character Pandora van Rensburg play?

A: Pandora traveled the world selling ostrich feathers, practicing the dark arts and researching hallucinogenic plants. She exclaimed “A woman does not have an Orgasm from pealing potatoes” when she was served a cold Potato and Leek soup in Manhattan.

Q: How do you create your pictures? Are there any special techniques?

A: The pictures are basically collages with the edges blurred to make them more realistic. Each picture is planned and the different pieces shot separately. The models are real most of the landscapes were shot around Clarens.

Q: How important is Digital-Photography for you?

A:I continually loose all my equipment so I now just use a tiny point and shoot camera that cost less than a thousand rand.

Q: What are your “artistic plans” plans for the future?

A: I recently discovered the diaries of King Jika Jika who was her majesties inspector of paranormal activities and a coffee planter. There appear to be 3d pictures of ghosts and UFO’s taken in Jamaica, St Helena and Kenya. I intend to tear up the album copy the pages and sell them to collectors as “Art” in a coffee shop being built by Matt Stevens in Bath.

March 20, 2009

pandora van rensburg

Filed under: peter engblom — ABRAXAS @ 12:27 am

A lot of people know a little about Siener van Rensburg and his visions, many take them with a large pinch of salt & others add a little Tequila. There may be a coherent story hidden in these visions as some facts balance perfectly modern occurrences. His stories consist of four main parts. One of them contains extensive reference to the “fall of the European Government”, while another one deals entirely with the modern day struggle between the USA and the extremist revolutionaries that follow Islam. He noted that the vierkleur would be flying above the Union Buildings when the ice began to melt, that around this time Koeberg power station would blow up, that the world economy would collapse, the Kruger millions would be found, etc. These visions were all recorded by his daughter some time before his death in 1926.

What many people do not know is that his granddaughter, Pandora van Rensburg, was the first Burlesque performer in Africa. The Boer commandos had a hard time fighting the British forces and there was little or no entertainment for them. Pandora set up a little dance troupe and traveled the various frontlines with her ostrich feathers. Weather this was motivated by patriotism or greed we will never know. What we do know is that she was so successful that she eventually toured the country in a pink sedan, and there are rumors that she may have performed in St Helena, Bermuda and Ceylon for the imprisoned Boer troupes at no cost to these bitter patriots. Pandora carried her ostrich feathers in an old guitar case and this eventually became known as Pandoras Box in Afrikaans known as Pandora se doos.

Pandoras live shows for Springbok Cigarettes predated most live advertising in the country and many of her pioneering ideas were later used on the radio station named after this Burlesque show. Many people think that “burlesque” means female strippers walking a runway to a bump and grind beat. But that only fits this form in its later years. At its best, burlesque was a rich source of music and comedy that kept audiences laughing.

Underdressed women performed as sexual aggressors, combining good looks with impertinent comedy, and all this was in a production written and managed by a woman. Unthinkable in those times. No wonder the commandos turned out in droves, making Pandora and her “Boer Burlesque” the hottest thing from Pretoria to Potchefstroom. Demand for tickets was such that she held a special command performance for President Kruger and his generals in his stables behind his house in Pretoria.

Pandoras principal legacy was her shifting of patterns of gender representation that forever changed the role of the woman on the South African stage. The sight of a female body, not hidden by the accepted norms of respectability, forcefully if playfully, called attention to the entire question of the “place” of woman in society.

November 25, 2008

peter engblom: E-Mail Interview with PHOTOGRAPHIE Magazine – Germany 2005

Filed under: peter engblom,photography — ABRAXAS @ 10:44 am

Q: How would you characterize your photographic style?

A: At the moment I find myself creating photographic lies. The “Zulusushi” work is based on the fact that ethnic identities are basically constructions that we are swindled into believing. My pictures are constructions of events that never took place.

Q: What inspired you to mix elements of the Zulu-culture with elements of the Japanese Culture?

A: I fell down a staircase and the story was inspired by a series of voltaren injections in the backside.

Q: What role does your character Mpunzi Shezi play?

A: Mpunzi Shezi discovered mount Japan in 1911. He took Ubuntu to the Buddhists, taught Zen to the Zulus, studied tantric sex with the geishas and taught his dog to meditate so that he didn’t have to bother with the difficult task himself.

Q: How important are sexual topics, like bondage, for your work?

A: Mpunzi Shezi appeared to be equally interested in Buddhism, bondage and bonsai.

Q: How did the European visitors of your exhibitions (Paris Photo) like your work.

A: I have no idea, you will have to ask RoxAnn or Rolf at the OMC gallery. People bought lots of the pictures if that is anything to go by. Here in South Africa, the response has been fantastic. About a quarter of the visitors actually believe my lies but then they are probably the same people that believe that politicians will make their lives easier and Father Christmas lives in Lapland. All sorts of important people buy the pictures and hang them in their houses. I am continually amazed and amused.

Q: How do you create your pictures? Are there any special techniques?

A: The pictures are basically collages with the edges blurred to make them more realistic. Each picture is planned and the different pieces shot separately. The Japanese models are a real problem as there are very few oriental people in Zululand. I sometimes photograph Oriental hookers while Im traveling. I have never been to Japan. There are lots of Zulus in Zululand so that’s not a problem.

Q: How important is Digital-Photography for you?

A: The Zulus continually steal all my equipment so I now just use an old twin lens Yashika to take my snaps. I have the negs scanned to get them into my computer.

Q: What are your “photographic-plans” plans for the future?

A: I recently discovered the diaries of King Jika Jika who was her majesties inspector of paranormal activities. There appear to be 3d pictures of ghosts and UFO’s taken in Jamaica, St Helena and Kenya. I intend to tear up the album copy the pages and sell them to collectors as “Art”.

October 21, 2008

Filed under: art,peter engblom — ABRAXAS @ 8:28 pm

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Filed under: peter engblom — ABRAXAS @ 7:28 pm

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October 20, 2008

Filed under: art,peter engblom — ABRAXAS @ 5:32 am

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October 19, 2008

Filed under: peter engblom — ABRAXAS @ 5:49 pm

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October 18, 2008

Filed under: peter engblom — ABRAXAS @ 8:57 pm

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Filed under: peter engblom — ABRAXAS @ 11:37 am

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Filed under: peter engblom,photography — ABRAXAS @ 2:22 am

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October 17, 2008

Filed under: peter engblom — ABRAXAS @ 7:13 pm

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Filed under: peter engblom — ABRAXAS @ 2:55 pm

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Filed under: peter engblom — ABRAXAS @ 4:27 am

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Filed under: art,peter engblom — ABRAXAS @ 3:45 am

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October 16, 2008

Filed under: peter engblom,photography — ABRAXAS @ 3:28 am

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October 15, 2008

Filed under: peter engblom — ABRAXAS @ 8:39 pm

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