19 April – 10 May 2014
Please note: the exhibition will be on view from 19 April, but the opening takes place on Thursday 24 April at 18:00.
Please scroll down for the exhibition brochure Download
Johannes Phokela has made a second version of Edouard Manet’s famous historical painting, The Execution of Maximilian (1867), of which Manet himself made four copies. Phokela painted his first version, The Lord Works in Mysterious Ways, in 2002, copying the scale and subject matter fairly accurately from the Manet version in the National Gallery, London. Phokela, however, altered and added to the original, effectively producing a postmodern comment on the Manet painting. Phokela’s second, and most recent version, an oil sketch, follows a similar trend, but on a much smaller scale, and in a markedly different medium.
Phokela’s oil sketch of the Execution of Maximilian challenges notions of the ‘completeness’ of a painting. It is a dossier of ideas, suggesting the underlying structure of the original painting more than anything else. His oil sketch thus serves as cartoon in both senses of the word: a design for a larger enterprise, such as a tapestry, or a comic, if not futile version of an incident.
Johannes Phokela was born in Soweto in 1966. After three year diploma studies at the FUBA Academy, Phokela went to the United Kingdom to pursue a career in Fine Arts. He obtained a Masters Degree in Fine Arts at the Royal College in 1993, having obtained a Bachelor’s degree at Camberwell College of Art, University of the Arts, London in 1991. Phokela has exhibited extensively abroad and was given due recognition in South Africa with a major retrospective exhibition mounted at the Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg, in 2009. He was awarded the John Moore Painting Award, Liverpool, England in 1993; the prestigious residency award in Stockholm, Sweden, in 2001, and the Decibel Award (Arts Council of England) in 2004.