Business Day Live | Chris Thurman:
I’ve been more cynical than most about the Oscar Pistorius trial — specifically, about the frenzied coverage of the trial by that vague entity we call “the media”. But I have to admit that South Africa’s journalists have done an impressive job thus far.
Think again: Grey is not dull, it provides nuance: a Diane Victor linocut. Picture: ART EYE GALLERY
Sure, there is the chicken-and-egg question of whether news platforms are just responding to an existing public obsession, or have in fact helped to grow what seems an insatiable appetite. But setting this aside — it confuses rather than clarifies to use words like “sensationalism” — there is a substantial journalistic achievement in balancing detailed coverage of the case with other, bigger, more important stories.
These stories have nothing to do with the death of Reeva Steenkamp: new treatments for HIV, pre-election political developments, energy crises. Yet many of them are directly related: domestic violence and femicide, access to and transparency in the justice system, gun culture and police inefficacy, the implicit racialisation of crime. This trial has shone a spotlight on issues of national concern.
So it’s not just a voyeuristic impulse that drives our collective fascination with each twist and turn, with every piece of new evidence or tense cross-examination. Despite the high stakes, or maybe because of them, the devil is in the detail (as in every court case). Although it is critical to the legal proceedings, there is something absurd about the close revisiting of the mundane and the banal — particularly when defence advocate Barry Roux, now famous for his courteously pedantic bullying, is trying to discredit the testimony of state witnesses.
When did Reeva eat her last meal? Had Oscar cheated on an ex-girlfriend? Did he tell a security guard, after the shooting, that things were “fine” or just “okay”? There is a thin line between drama and bathos, and this trial keeps crossing from one side to the other.
That is the nature of the courtroom. It is the judge’s job, after all, to distil the truth: to see things in black and white. There is no room for grey areas, for ambiguity, for doubt — even “reasonable doubt”. That’s all very well as the basis for legal adjudication. The problem is that, if we’re honest, our every perception of the world around us is somewhere on the spectrum of grey.
Visually, grey is considered dull and monochromatic; symbolically, however, grey is rich and varied. Shades of grey are an artist’s friends. More’s the pity that the phrase has been ruined by EL James and her oh-so-naughty novel … or has it? The good folk at Art Eye Gallery in The Design Quarter, Fourways, don’t think so.
50 “Shades” of Grey (on until 22 March) is a group show, partly a commission — “Our brief was short: be brave and push the boat out!” — and partly an opportunity to bring works out of the storeroom and onto the gallery’s walls. The Art Eye stable includes some recognisable names, both current practitioners and artists past, including Diane Victor, Mbongeni Buthelezi, Braam Kruger, Eduardo Villa and Wopko Jensma. But some of the most interesting pieces displayed are from less well-known creators.
The exhibition’s title and broad concept have two chief consequences, one aesthetic and the other thematic. There are the greys of gouache, photographic prints, linocuts and various other media (including Victor’s haunting “smoke drawings”).
But the shadow of Christian Grey also lurks in many of the images, with their troubling combination of eroticism and cruelty, attraction and antagonism. Unsurprisingly, then, most of the works in 50 “Shades” are portraits, loosely defined: the body is on display in all its vulnerability, desire, fear and longing.
In Margo Shopf’s paintings, for instance, male figures are both lascivious and coercive. Luke Batha and Jenny Reyneke’s female subjects are marked by smudges of red — the colour of amour, but also of blood. Carol Hamman’s sculpture, The Priest and the Prostitute, depicts its protagonists in a tragicomic shouting match.
Here we are uncomfortably close to the story of love gone wrong that is being told and retold in the high court in Pretoria.
When intimacy meets brutality, very little is black and white.
Read this and other interesting art-icles via source: http://www.bdlive.co.za/life/entertainment/2014/03/13/a-different-50-shades-of-grey-are-revealed-at-the-art-eye-gallery?crmid=crm2