Sun, 28th Oct 2018 8:30

Historic, Modern and Contemporary Art

 
Lot 84
 
Lot 84 - Willem Boshoff (South Africa 1951-)

84

Willem Boshoff (South Africa 1951-)
Young Guns X; Young Guns O, diptych

plastic toy guns, sand, small stones, wood and glue on board

Artwork date: 2005
Signature details: each signed and dated on the reverse; accompanied by a signed certificate of authenticity signed by the artist
Exhibited: Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg, Word Forms and Language Shapes 1975–2007, 25 September to 1 December 2007.
Literature: Siebrits, W. (2007). Willem Boshoff: Word Forms and Language Shapes 1975–2007. Johannesburg: Standard Bank Gallery, illustrated in colour on pp.108-109.

Sold for R91,040
Estimated at R250,000 - R400,000


Condition Report

Surace dirt, otherwise good.

Please note, we are not qualified conservators and these reports give our opinion as to the general condition of the works. We advise that bidders view the lots in person to satisfy themselves with the condition of prospective purchases.

 

plastic toy guns, sand, small stones, wood and glue on board

Artwork date: 2005
Signature details: each signed and dated on the reverse; accompanied by a signed certificate of authenticity signed by the artist
Exhibited: Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg, Word Forms and Language Shapes 1975–2007, 25 September to 1 December 2007.
Literature: Siebrits, W. (2007). Willem Boshoff: Word Forms and Language Shapes 1975–2007. Johannesburg: Standard Bank Gallery, illustrated in colour on pp.108-109.

(2)

126 x 126 cm each

Notes:

Young Guns X and Young Guns O (2005) formed part of the select collection of works that featured in Willem Boshoff’s mid-career retrospective exhibition in 2007 at the Standard Bank Gallery in Johannesburg. Titled Willem Boshoff: Word Forms and Language Shapes 1975–2007, the exhibition, curated by Warren Siebrits, surveyed the intricacies of Boshoff’s conceptual work and significant artistic output. Boshoff is internationally renowned for engaging his socio-political viewpoints in evocative and, at times, challenging works, in various media for well over thirty years. An obsessive collector and taxonomist of objects both natural and manmade, of words, phrases and paraphernalia, his practice take on an almost investigative process of collecting, ordering and translating. Despite seeing himself as a pacifist, Boshoff has never shied away from tackling very serious topical issues head-on. Young Guns X and Young Guns O is an imposing two-piece mixed media work in which Boshoff makes a strong statement against perpetuating a culture of violence, already subliminally inculcated since childhood. Criticizing the commercial supply of war themed games and toy guns for children’s recreation, he states: ‘The toys we play with when we are small embody the standards we uphold for the rest of our lives. Children’s toys write the script by which they enact their adult lives. Little boys play with guns, and ultimately, in a violent society like South Africa’s, they want to play with real guns when they are adults.

This is a dangerous tendency, because it fosters a kind of militaristic aggression. If guns and the elements of aggression are taken out of the toy shop, it will cease to exist1 At the centre of this work is a consideration for the child, who is innocent and vulnerable, especially at a very young age. A ‘young gun’ refers to a young person regarded as assertive and aggressively selfconfident, however in this context Boshoff condemns the societal approval of conflict and confrontation. In a public drive to create awareness for a non-violent society, Boshoff actively ‘called on’ children in the Johannesburg area to ‘surrender their weapons’. He collected 90 plastictoy guns which he fixed to two panels and covered them with a sand and glue mixture to evoke ‘the transition from childhood plaything to serious killing instrument of adulthood’2. However, buried, these guns are now rendered useless and unattainable. Suggesting a game of tic-tac-toe, Boshoff further denounces these instruments of violence; a superimposed O draws their challenge to a zero and the X cancels them out.

Marelize van Zyl

Sources:

1 Siebrits, W. (2007). Willem Boshoff: Word Forms and Language Shapes 1975–2007,Johannesburg: Standard Bank Gallery, p.25.

2 Siebrits, W. (2007). Willem Boshoff: Word Forms and Language Shapes 1975–2007,Johannesburg: Standard Bank Gallery, p.108.

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Auction: Historic, Modern and Contemporary Art, Sun, 28th Oct 2018

Aspire Art Auctions brought a significant double-header of top lot leads to this sale.

Stellar results were achieved for internationally prominent William Kentridge and Alexis Preller, one of South Africa’s most respected and collectable modern artists. Collectors were attracted to Kentridge’s remarkable, Drawing from Stereoscope (Double page, Soho in two rooms) (1999), which sold for R6 600 400, while Preller’s Adam (1972), sold for a world record at R9 104 000. Modern offerings also included works by Peter Clarke, Kenneth Bakker, and Douglas Portway, while the contemporary segment included Moshekwa Langa, Penny Siopis, Simon Stone, Clive van den Berg, and Georgina Gratrix, amongst others.

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