Gavin Jantjes, Visual Century - South African Art in Context 1907 – 2007

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Visual Century is an ambitious four-volume publication that reappraises one hundred years of South African visual art from a post-apartheid perspective. It is the first wide-ranging survey of South Africa’s contemporary art to incorporate multiple writers and perspectives.

By contextualising the art within broader historical currents, Visual Century makes a major contribution towards the construction of an inclusive national archive, as well as to the development of an inclusive international art history. Wide-ranging and in-depth essays by over 30 contributors, including many of South Africa’s leading art historians, cultural commentators and artists, make it an indispensable resource for curators, historians, students and artists. Lavish full colour illustrations, often of rare or seldom-seen artworks, make this collection a treasure for all art lovers with an interest in South African art. 

Project initiator and director Gavin Jantjes is a South African artist currently based at Norway’s National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design. Jantjes, together with Mario Pissarra of Africa South Art Initiative (ASAI), commissioned and oversaw the process of writing the book. Pallo Jordan, former Minister of Arts and Culture, supported the development of the manuscript with seed funding.

In 1982 Gavin Jantjes went into exile in Great Britain. From 1986 to 1990 he was a member of the Arts Council of Great Britain. In 1992 he advised the Arts Council on the establishment of the Institute on New International Visual Art (INIVA). From 1992 to 1995 he was an advisor for the Tate Gallery. In 1995 Jantjes taught Visual Arts at the Chelsea College of Art and Design, Liverpool, and from 1995 to 1998 he was curator of the Serpentine Gallery, London. 

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