UJ: Art Professor off to present on renowned visual artists in Croatia and Beijing

An Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (FADA), Prof Karen Von Veh, is off this week to present academic papers at the 9th Conference of Iconographic Studies (IKON), and the 1st International Symposium: Forum of Eastern Cultures in 21st Century (FEC) in Beijing.


Prof Von Veh will present a paper titled Contemporary Iconoclasm in South Africa: transgressive images of the Madonna and Christ in response to social politics, in Rijeka (Croatia) from 2 to 4 June 2015. The academic paper will discuss the underlying purposes of South African artists Diane Victor (Little Deposition Picture), and Wim Botha (Carbon Copy: Madonna del parto col bambino). She argues that iconoclasm in art is employed to function as a catalyst for the renewal of ideas and attitudes in the work of these artists.
On the abstract, Prof Von Veh cites: “These artists transgressively parody recognisable Christian icons to comment on the ongoing inequalities still rife in post-apartheid South African society. The transformation of society after the apartheid era has been difficult; often beliefs or behavioural practices are so normalised that change is virtually impossible without a catalyst to disrupt complacency and introduce alternative practices and thoughts.”
Subsequently, the Art Professor will jet off to Peking University in Beijing, China, from the 6 to 8 June to present picture language: the work of Willem Boshoff.
FEC aims to exchange Eastern and Western cultures and arts, to build a platform for all the scholars all over the five continents.
“I propose to discuss examples of the work of one of our high profile South African artists, Willem Boshoff, in the light of my response to an exhibition of Chinese contemporary art that I saw in New York in 2014. Entitled Ink Art: Past as Present, the exhibition was held at the Metropolitan Museum.”
On the abstract she cites: “I suggest that Boshoff’s work similarly resonates with a tradition where writing may exist in visually aesthetic terms on one level, as knowledge dissemination on another level and, in addition, may produce complex semantic reinterpretations and layered meanings through the combination of visual presentation and conceptual meaning in its new context as a work of art.”
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