Memorials Without Facts / 2000

Goodman Gallery - Johannesburg

Men Loving

 

For many years I have been making work about homosexual love. I collected these works under two series, titled; Love’s Ballast and Memorials without Facts.

 

The title of the last one was chosen because in the absence of archival facts I made up histories of that which had been erased or characterized as criminal. For some years now I have been working on ideas of love and sexuality, how in some ways love is an index of memory, our own, but also the memories (or instructions to love) that we inherit. I am struck by the inevitable connection between acts of love and memorializing. Each kiss, is a re-inscription of those that other men have made.

 

My freedom to love is weighted by acts other men have done, often with a cost attached. The collection of work I am now working on is titled Love’s Ballast. It attempts to image a vocabulary of skin and structures, porous with memories of others before me. The work was made during a period in South Africa’s history when the archive and was being re-examined. I was concerned that in this process of re-figuring the history of LBGT people in colonial and apartheid South Africa would be ignored.

The other aspect of my creative work which is related to the subject of this activity is my work as a curator and designer of exhibitions in the collective called Trace. Several of these are advocacy exhibitions about the rights and history of LGBT people and communities.

 

Identity is constructed by such terms as race, gender, geography, class, cultural context, but my concern is how love, its languages, enactments, cultural celebrations and strictures, fundamentally constructs the self, forms the body, determines it’s actions and occupation of space in the corporeal and spiritual realms.

© 2018 clive van den berg. 

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Memorial Without Facts Exhibition

Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa