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Monday, September 13, 2021


(Above: African Landscape VI (Gold Below), 2020. Oil on canvas 280 x 280 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Goodman Gallery (Cape Town, Johannesburg, London). Photo credit: Anthea Pokroy)

The KZNSA and Goodman Gallery are pleased to present Remembering, a survey exhibition of paintings, prints and sculptures by Clive van den Berg which is running at the KZNSA Gallery.

Curated by Jo Voysey and Kim Kandan, the exhibition comes full circle for van den Berg, who held his first solo exhibition at KZNSA gallery in 1983. At that time, much of van den Berg’s work looked at the violence of nationalism, both from a societal point of view as well as how it affects the land. These initial themes have continued to serve as rich areas of interest for van den Berg, evolving to incorporate bodiliness, memory, monumentality, and the archive. In returning to the very place where much of this inquiry began, van den Berg aptly presents works that speak to these currents running through his practice.

In the 2011 exhibition catalogue, Clive van den Berg: Unlearning the Grounds of Art, professor Rosalind C Morris characterises van den Berg as being insistent on “seeking a new kind of language [...]attempting to break syntax without relinquishing its necessity." In order to do so, van den Berg has gone about developing a visual vocabulary to engage his subject matter.

A rich territory for van den Berg in developing this grammar has come from the diagrams and mapping techniques of archeologists and prospectors. The result is a recurring motif of landscapes in van den Berg’s work, which challenge our sense of perspective, and invite us to reconsider our orientation.

Van den Berg’s interest in this imagery relates to ideas surrounding the “distemper” of our lived experience. For the artist, land serves as a powerful symbolic marker for these anxieties, which are contained in both the personal and political.

Historical depictions of land, which were primarily filtered through Western perception, sought to possess the territory by recording its surface image. In turn, van den Berg peels the surface off the land and makes the landscapes porous. Surface and underneath, past and present, are simultaneously presented in his work.

“That relationship of surface to interior is one of the complexities of vision. And that is a political vision: what is on the surface and what does it conceal?” asks van den Berg. This question manifests itself in various ways from van den Berg’s use of figurative elements of bodily forms to depictions of the surface of the earth, often unstable in appearance as it breaks open and erupts.

Central to this exercise in unpacking our notions of vision in relation to our bodies and the land is the relationship between time and space. In particular, van den Berg’s interest lies in fracturing and collapsing ideas of time and space, which he invokes through themes of memory and the archive. Remembering brings together works which directly speak to this ongoing preoccupation in van den Berg's practice.

Remembering runs until October 10, 2021, in the Main Gallery, Mezzanine Gallery and Park Gallery at the KZNSA, which is situated at 166 Bulwer Road, Glenwood, Durban. More information on 031 277 1705 or cell 082 220 0368 or visit

Please note that KZNSA observes all protocols for Covid-19, including social distancing and screening. Please wear a face mask.

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