The Neo-Expressionists

John-Michael Metelerkamp and Stompie Selibe
Ashraf Jamal, 2018



What immediately strikes us… is that the adjective new is used rather liberally. People speak of the Neue Wilde (New Savages, Neo-Expressionists)… Indeed, the inflationary use of the word new in connection with artistic trends does not correspond at all to current terminology. It never actually appears on its own but only ever as a prefix (Neo-) or as an adjective qualifying a trend which already exists. New tendencies are not really all that new, nor are they really meant to be.’
     Klaus Honnef’s cautionary reminder of the pitfalls that come with naming art is worth noting.  Art cannot be so easily framed. And yet our Linnaean tendency to name the world persists. In the South African context, the art dealer, Candice Berman, has taken it upon herself to name what she sees as a daring re-emergence and fusion of abstraction and the figurative. This emergence, which she sees in the paintings of John-Michael Metelerkamp and Stompie Selibe, is one which she perceives as a healthy and long-overdue counter to the dominant fixation with art as a weapon of struggle, a medium for ideology – in short, statement art.

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