Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


Revisiting the Johannesburg Biennale

25 September 2019, 6:00 pm–8:00 pm

made routes

Panellists include: Tamar Garb (chair and curator of 'Made Routes'), Penny Siopis (artist), and Osei Bonsu (Tate Modern)

This event is free.

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Institute of Advanced Studies


IAS Common Ground
Ground floor, South Wing, UCL
United Kingdom

To coincide with the exhibition 'Made Routes: Vivienne Koorland and Berni Searle' (Richard Saltoun Gallery) curated in honour of Okwui Enwezor (1963-2019) who was the Artistic Director of the 2nd Johannesburg Biennale, 'Trade Routes: History and Geography' in 1997, this panel will relook at that ground -breaking event from the perspective of its participants and of a new generation of curators who work in the global contemporary, and especially in relation to current debates around contemporary art from Africa.


Tamar Garb is Durning Lawrence Professor in the History of Art at University College London and the Director of the Institute of Advanced Studies, UCL. In 2007 she curated an exhibition ‘Reisemalheurs’ situating the paintings of the New York based, South African artist, Vivienne Koorland in the Freud Museum, London. In 2008 she curated an exhibition on Landscape and Language in South African Art entitled Land Marks/Home Lands; Contemporary Art from South Africa at Haunch of Venison Gallery in London. In April 2011, her exhibition Figures and Fictions: Contemporary South African Photography opened at the Victoria & Albert Museum. Other exhibitions include Distance and Desire, Encounters with the African Archive, New York and Ulm, 2015 and William Kentridege and Vivienne Kooralnd: Conversations in letters and Lines, Fruitmarket, Edinburgh 2016. Tamar’s research has focused on questions of gender and sexuality, the woman artist and the body in nineteenth and early twentieth century French art, questions of race and representation, and post-apartheid culture and art as well as the history of photographic practices in South Africa.

Penny Siopis is a South African artist who works in painting, film and installation.  She is Honorary Professor at Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town. Recent solo exhibitions include: Moving Stories and Travelling Rhythms: Penny Siopis and the many journeys of Skokiaan, National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Bulawayo (2019); Warm Water Imaginaries Stevenson, Johannesburg (2019); This is a True Story: Six Films (1997-2017), a retrospective of her films at Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, Cape Town (2018). Her work Obscure White Messenger (2010) is currently on collection display at Tate Modern. Recent publications include Material Acts (Stevenson, 2018), Grief and Shame(Stevenson, 2016) and Time and Again, edited by Gerrit Olivier (Wits University Press, 2014).

Osei Bonsu is a British-Ghanaian curator, critic and art historian based in London and Paris. His activities encompass exhibition programming, publishing and cultural strategy in the field of visual arts. He has developed projects focused on transnational histories of art, collaborating with museums, galleries and private collections internationally. In 2017, he curated the 10th edition of Satellites, an exhibition co-commissioned by Jeu de Paume and CAPC: Centre for Contemporary Art, Bordeaux. He has also worked on the development of a number of projects focusing on African art, including ‘Pangaea II: New Art from Africa and Latin America’ (Saatchi Gallery, 2015) and 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair (2013-14). He holds a Masters in History of Art from University College London, where he earned a distinction for his dissertation on Surrealism and African sculpture. Bonsu is a contributing editor at frieze magazine. He was recently appointed Curator, International Art at Tate Modern in London.

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Images: Vivienne Koorland, The Local Monuments II: Central Africa, 1997, Oil, charcoal, paper and glue on linen, 270 x 228 cm, © The Artist; Courtesy Richard Saltoun Gallery. And Berni Searle, Com-fort, 1997, Paprika, found objects, Dimensions variable, © The Artist; Courtesy Richard Saltoun Gallery