Nothing Personal

SMAC Gallery , Stellenbosch, South Africa
11 Jun 2016 - 30 Jul 2016

Nothing Personal

Nothing Personal_Group Exhibition_Installation View, (Lhola Amira Performance), courtesy of SMAC Gallery

SMAC Gallery presents Nothing Personal, a group exhibition featuring a selection of young and emerging artists from Southern Africa, currently practicing within the region.

The term ‘Nothing Personal’ implies many things, but inseparable from its use, is the knowledge that the speaker is aware of the discomfort caused by the ensuing statement and yet, will speak the words anyway.

An informal prefix to insulting or offensive statements, whilst dragging a silent ‘but’ behind itself, the use of the term ‘nothing personal but….’ has come to be recognized as some kind of thunderous set- up, before a storm-like punch line. The peddler of such a phrase cloaks their statement in such a glaringly transparent manner, that their attempt at diplomacy is often more vexing than their intended blow.

The idea of ‘the personal is political’ was popularized following the titling of a paper authored by radical feminist and writer Carol Hanisch in 1969. Due to its accuracy and ‘interpretation-ability’, many social movements to date have adopted this title-turned-statement. This is mostly due to the use of the word ‘personal’, the definition of which largely depends on comparison and differentiation. The ‘personal’ relies on interpretation. ‘Interpretation’ relies on understanding and around we go…

The meaning of the word ‘personal’ is best understood in terms of ‘self’ and ‘other’ – both of which rest, almost solely, on context. This exhibition is therefore thematically placed at the intersection between the private and the public, or the personal and the political – respectively and interchangeably. The artists featured in this exhibition, each engages with context (as a concept) through direct reference or complete negation, both manners speak volumes to those that choose to listen.

The phrase ‘nothing personal but…’ is frequently used in a local context to express criticism that will certainly offend, whilst implying that one either can not, or has not applied time and forethought to the delivery. The manner in which each of the artists in this exhibition silently apply this statement to their work, is based on audience understanding, context, and the artist’s own interpretation of ‘self’ and ‘other’.

Featured Artists: Lhola Amira, Ruann Coleman, Katharien de Villiers, Euridice Kala, Bronwyn Katz, Alexandra Karakashian, Olivié Keck, Wallen Mapondera, Siwa Mgoboza, Miranda Moss, Sethembile Msezane, Mongezi Ncaphayi, Ruby Swinney, Katlego Tlabela, Christiaan van Eeden.