Time & Location
23 Mar 2022, 16:30 – 17:30
About the event
Heritage Guest Lecture Series Presented by Professor Brenda Schmahmann, who holds the SARChI Chair in South African Art and Visual Culture at the University of Johannesburg. As an art historian, she has done extensive research on the politics of public sculpture as well as on gender and art in South Africa.
In this presentation, it will be argued that the shape and form of Marco Cianfanelli's Shadow Boxing Sculpture in Johannesburg encourages the viewer to recognize the significance of the site and its difficult history. Falling within a contemporary genre of monument-making that is “performative”, the sculpture shifts the impact of the work away from the realms of the narrowly didactic to how it is experienced, and it thus enables the importance of the site to be ‘felt’ rather than simply ‘learned’. Developing ideas that Cianfanelli had explored in his rendition of Mandela in Release at the capture site in Howick in KwaZulu-Natal which was completed in 2012, Shadow Boxing provides an example of how a recognizable figure might be represented on a monumental scale but, in contrast to traditionalist monuments celebrating noteworthy individuals which are commonplace in South Africa, in such a way that literalism is avoided in favor of metaphor and association.