25th Mar, 2018 18:00

Historic, Modern & Contemporary Art

Lot 145
Lot 145 - Athi-Patra Ruga (South Africa 1984-)


Athi-Patra Ruga (South Africa 1984-)
The Night of the Long Knives III

archival inkjet print on Photorag Baryta mounted on Dibond

Artwork date: 2014
Exhibited: WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town, The Future White Women of Azania Saga, 27 November 2013 to 1 January 2014.

Sold for R295,568
Estimated at R150,000 - R200,000


archival inkjet print on Photorag Baryta mounted on Dibond

Artwork date: 2014
Exhibited: WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town, The Future White Women of Azania Saga, 27 November 2013 to 1 January 2014.


150 x 190 cm


If language indeed reflects society, then today’s cultural speech does more than just sampling and playing with dissonance. If anything, it truthfully reflects the immanent reliance on paradox that is peculiar to this unique age. Athi-Patra Ruga’s The Night of the Long Knives photographic series takes its name from the famous Nazi purge of the 1930s without any trace of a figuration of a massacre. As part of the Future White Women of Azania saga, a project that invokes the much-dreaded notion of Azania but as a myth, in similar vein this present work reminds us of the invented and invested fear of the swaart gevaar associated with Azania. However, looking at the work, these invocations seem farfetched beyond their merely titular stature.Night of the Long Knives is more like a bouquet than a primal scene of death. So, what do you do with this discordance and its purpose? What happens if we think of this titular reference through slang, how slang indiscriminately uses language and its references against or away from their original meanings? That is, think of slaying not as intention to harm but to excel? The sartorial trope in Ruga’s oeuvre enables these speculations. That is how things vacillate between appearances and disappearances. Between the Edenic worlds it conjures and the carnage it references, Night of the Long Knives interestingly blurs reality and myth. Or rather, can we say, infers a reciprocal interdependence? Both enchanting and disheartening, Night of the Long Knives evokes a bitter-sweet reading of history and grandeur, myth and fact. A place of opacity as it is also site of complications, of beauty and colour as it is also uninhabitable and deathly.

Athi Mongezeleli Joja.

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Auction: Historic, Modern & Contemporary Art, 25th Mar, 2018

Aspire Art Auctions brought a unique offering to their second auction in the Cape allowing buyers to add quality and rarity to their collections.

Headlining the success of the auction was as a rare intaglio by Alexis Preller, Gold Angel (Arêté), which sold for R4 638 400. The piece was part of Preller’s last body of work shown at the Goodman Gallery in 1975, and took its place alongside the sale of his mid-period work, the exquisite small study Still life with Vase and Carved Head, which sold for R811 720. Other auction highlights included work by contemporary artists Robert Hodgins, Athi-Patra Ruga, Zander Blom, and Penny Siopis and sculpture by Deborah Bell, Willem Boshoff, Wim Botha, and Amadlozi alumnus Sydney Kumalo.


Friday 23 March 2018 | 10 am – 5 pm
Saturday 24 March 2018 | 10 am – 5 pm
Sunday 25 March 2018 | 10 am – 3 pm

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