Exhibition of unconventional treasure

16 March 2012 | Story by Newsroom

Don't expect the regular dusty, crusty archival display when popping into the new exhibition, Imperfect Librarian. Rather prepare yourself for a collection of unconventional items - from San animal-skin bags and a menagerie of plastic tat to a pink wall.

Plastic fantastic In tatters
Plastic fantastic: Curator of Imperfect Librarian Clare Butcher describes the work of Joanne Bloch, which showcases a fragment of Bloch's The People: a thousands-strong personal collection of plastic figurines and objects. In tatters: A photograph from the series Bophuthatswana Air Force Base by Brenton Maart.

Running at the Michaelis Gallery until 26 March, the exhibition features the works-in-progress of seven master's and doctoral students of UCT's Archive and Curatorship: The Visual University and its Columbarium (ARC) progamme.

As its name suggests, Imperfect Librarian reflects on the orthodoxy of archival arrangement, the worth people attach to the things they keep, and the politics that come with questioning truth and value.

Works on display include etchings by Gabriel Clarke-Brown, part of a project by Jessica Brown that ponders the archiving of 'official' art such as UCT's collections; and a photographic survey of derelict structures found in South Africa's former homelands, put together by Brenton Maart.

On the whole, the showcase's message is clear: the retelling of history lies not only in the what but in the ways of its telling.

Contributors to the exhibition are Joanne Bloch, curator Clare Butcher, Brown, Maart, George Mahashe, Andrew Putter and Jon Whidden.

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