Richmond Center exhibition explores post-Apartheid South Africa

Contact: Deanne Puca
Piece of art from the exhibit After the Thrill is Gone.

"After the Thrill is Gone" is on display through Oct. 28.

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Through Friday, Oct. 28, Western Michigan University's Richmond Center for Visual Arts will present one of the first major exhibitions in the United States to explore artistic practice in post-Apartheid South Africa. "After the Thrill is Gone: Fashion, Politics and Culture in Contemporary South African Art" features 13 artists who use fashion, textile, and clothing to comment on social and political landscapes since 1994 by considering the lack of substantial change and by imagining new alternatives for South Africa’s future.

Featuring nearly 40 objects in a variety of media—video, sculpture, installation, photography, performance, works on paper, textiles and fiber art—"After the Thrill is Gone" reads the political climate of post-apartheid South Africa through fashion’s continual interest in the 'new'. By initiating dialogues that reassess the euphoria of South Africa’s post-apartheid present—one perpetually haunted by the violence of colonialism—the artists featured in "After the Thrill is Gone" reconfigure narratives of representation, identity, memory, xenophobia, violence in the domestic sphere, and allegories of nationalism. From Mary Sibande’s voluminous gowns to Daniel Halter’s tartan print bags to Kudzanai Chiurai’s photographs detailed with wax-print fabrics, "After the Thrill is Gone" locates fashion as a political language, giving voice to the past, shaping the present, and repositioning the potential for new futures.

Accompanied by a digital catalog authored by curator Dr. Andrew Hennlich, WMU assistant professor of art, "After the Thrill is Gone" is the first exhibition to address the intersection of politics, fashion and culture in post-Apartheid South Africa through distinctly theoretical lenses, including the work of Frankfurt School philosophers Theodor Adorno and Walter Benjamin. Artists in the exhibition include Kudzanai Chiurai, Julia Rosa Clark, Hasan and Husain Essop, Pierre Fouché, Gabrielle Goliath, Haroon Gunn-Salie, Daniel Halter, Nicholas Hlobo, Gerald Machona, Mohau Modisakeng, Athi-Patra Ruga and Mary Sibande.

Funding for this exhibition is provided by the Provost’s Visiting Scholars and Artists Program and the Gwen Frostic School of Art at WMU.

Gallery hours

RCVA galleries are open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, and noon to 6 p.m. Saturday.

For more information, contact Indra Lacis at indra.lacis@wmich.eduu or (269) 387-2455.

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