PANEL: Mancoba and Other Artists

Title: MANCOBA DUCHAMP/DUCHAMP MANCOBA “Work and interpretation in opposition”

copyright the speaker. To reference the talk: Jacob van Schalkwyk, “Ernest Mancoba – Dialogue on his Art & Words” 10 Feb 2020, A4 Foundation, Cape Town

The content of this paper is directed at the point of difference between an artwork and its interpretation. I argue that in his interview with Hans Ulrich Obrist, Mancoba identified a point in art historical space where the interpretation of Duchamp’s work diverged from the work itself. I argue that Mancoba’s ‘Academy’ with its “spiritually empty canons” takes the form of a provincialism that haunts the metropolis as much as it does the outskirts of cultural society: the Academy survives wherever taste for an aesthetic based on wildly simplified understandings of nature remains.

Jacob van Schalkwyk is a visual artist and writer. His practice is based on raising questions about the received wisdoms of (Western) art history. His interest in formalism and materiality spans from experimenting with lithographic ink as drawing and painting medium, to working with film, assemblage and installation. Van Schalkwyk studied Drawing at the Pratt Institute in New York City (2003) and completed his MAVA in Sculpture at Stellenbosch University (2018), where he currently teaches drawing and painting. His debut novel “The Alibi Club” was published by Umuzi Random House in 2014.