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HOUSES OF MEMORY (article first published : 2007-03-31)

Houses of Memory is a multi-media exhibition which forms part of a collaborative international project Memories of Modernity which is to run at the Durban Art Gallery.

Memories of Modernity is the title of a broad collaborative project between K3, School of Art and Communication, Malmö University and the Centre for Creative Arts and Centre for Culture and Media Studies of the University of KwaZulu-Natal. It is also supported by the Department of Arts and Culture. The art exhibition, Houses of Memory at the Durban Art Gallery is produced by South African and Swedish artists and forms the backbone of the Memories of Modernity project.

Contributions for the exhibition come from the experienced and celebrated hands and minds of Swedish artists Carlos Capelan and Jan Håfström. Also from Sweden, are the incisive Loulou Cherinet and Tova Mozard whose interest lies in man’s encounter with the deviant and inexplicable as well as dealing with how the personal is formed by political and existential concerns.

Clifford Charles and Tracey Rose, both known for their startling innovation, form part of the dynamic South African contingent. Joining them is artist and architect Doung Jahangeer who uses both the language of art and architecture to interrogate and investigate human spaces. Qualified sculptor Langa Magwa completes the South African contribution. Langa’s work is deeply saturated with African customs, embedded in the use of skin (human and animal) as a form of expression and communication.

Houses of Memory is informed by the insight that the house as the home has been the prime symbol for human identity in Western culture. The house is, according to French philosopher Gaston Bachelard, the first framework of consciousness. Memory and imagination therefore forms an inevitable foundation for the spirit of place.

The relation between the places we call home and the identities we take on remains a fundamental and problematic one in the globalised multicultural contemporary societies, in Sweden as well as in South Africa. But the house is more than the home. It can also be a prison - or a museum. The house is not only a primordial symbol of memories and identification; it is also tightly symbolically linked to the institutions of Modernity. Houses of Memory will be a multimedia exhibition, giving room for a variety of artistic expressions that connect to one or more of the sub-themes of the Memories of Modernity project: Security, Lifestyles, Public Sphere and Remembrance.

After the Durban run, the exhibition will move to Malmö Museum in, Sweden for an installation in September 2007.

House of Memory is a collaboration with the 10th Time of the Writer international writers festival, organised by the Centre for Creative Arts. The festival hosted Swedish novelist Oscar Hemer, one of the inititiators at the recent Memories of Modernity Conference and Artist Workshop (Durban). He participated in a discussion panel that critically tackled the themes of Memory and Modernity.

Houses of Memory: Memories of Modernity runs at the Durban Art Gallery from April 4 to 25. More information on 031 311 2264.




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