Friday, February 22, 2019
Butcher Boys by Jane Alexander Essay
despatch Boys is a reckon of art created by Jane blackened lovage in 1985-86. Jane Alexander is a egg colour female who was born in Johannesburg southeasterly Africa in 1959, and grew up in South Africa during the tumultuous political and cultural atmosp here of apartheid and the fight for obliging rights. This location, or much detailally the cultural, favorable and political aspects of this location, affected Alexanders report, Butcher Boys. The artist states, my work has been a response to the social environment I find myself in. Apartheid happened to be the grievous political fit at a certain clipping, and it still concussions my perception of social environments flat, here or abroad. (Dent). Alexander still resides in South Africa and soon teaches at the Michaelis School of Fine tricks in Cape t witnessship (Bick 30).Butcher Boys is a work consisting of three affix-cast, life-size naked figures that cost both forgiving and in man pillow slipistics. The hu man characteristics include arms, legs, hands, feet and torsos that atomic number 18 unite with monster like heads with decaying horns, dark eyes, cleaved backs, sutured chests, ear holes and lacking mouths. The genitalia of the figures come along to be covered by cod rigs. The three figures are seated on a bench in a mundane position that could be seen in a doctors office waiting room or similar to athletes on the bench. (Klassmeyer). This exhibit is not unconnected from the earreach by rails or boundaries, but is on an equal take to viewers, and thitherfore viewers are able to see the art ensnare from all angles. The artist used oil paints to create the darkness of the defects of the figures making them seem more realistic.This artwork was created by Alexander tour she was complementary a masters degree at the Universityof Witwatersrand. She may film chosen the media of plaster to create these figures due to the message she think to portray. The possible message, whic h go out be discussed in detail later, is controversial and addresses thelarge topic of apartheid. mayhap the artist wanted to gather in a life-sized exhibit to make an impression and better communicate this important message. This exhibit is not provided large but the humanoid figures are created to scale of the human regulate which makes the message more intimate and relatable to the general audience. An separate reason wherefore Alexander may have chosen plaster for this art foot, is that plaster is inexpensive and easily accessible. For a student, and I speak from experience, these are important considerations when choosing a medium to utilize. Therefore, plaster allowed Alexander to make the statement she intended within her constraints as a student.In A History of maneuver in Africa, Suzanne Blier describes various categories that can applied to African art. Several of these categories contribute to Jane Alexanders piece Butcher Boys. Alexander utilizes innovation of casting by adding innovations to the human figure to communicate her message. This symbolizes the inhuman characteristics of the culture of apartheid. This proficiency of creating human forms with inhuman additions has a realistic and yet surreal put on the viewer. Visual abstraction is shown in this artwork by the exit of the figures from the classic human form. Although the figures are in a truly terrene position, they have cleaved backs, horns, ear holes and other inhuman attributes. Without the addition of these abstract characteristics, these figures would await to be ordinary humans, and the thought provoking connotations of the piece would be lost.The figures in the art piece are human like and represent human society. This shows humanism/ anthropomorphism. There are also three figures arranged together in this piece making this display an ensemble. The meaning of Butcher Boys is very intellectually complex, and can be interpreted in a mixed bag of ways. Therefore the piece shows a multiplicity of meaning. The various interpretations of this piece entrust be discussed at a later point in this essay. The categories that do not apply to Alexanders piece include analogasymmetries and performance.The cultural, political, and social circumstances that existed in South Africa during the life of Jane Alexander greatly impacted her art, and specifically the piece Butcher Boys. To appreciate the meaning of this pieceit is necessary to understand the history of South Africa, the origin of the artist. Similar to other African countries, South Africa was colonized by Europeans including Dutch and later British immigrants.The discovery of gold and diamonds in the mid 1800s brought an increase in upkeep to South Africa and therefore, an increase in immigration from European countries. The Zulu, an empire of the autochthonal African population, was defeated by the British and the Dutch in 1879. These white immigrants over clock established control of the i ndigenous populations by creating several(prenominal) laws and limitations. The Natives Land constitute of 1913 assigned 87% of the hus striationry in South Africa to the white population and 13% to blacks. The Mines and Works Act of 1911 assigned menial and manual labor to blacks and skilled labor to whites. During this time the indigenous population was denied many rights including the right to vote. In 1948, apartheid, a form _or_ system of government of racial segregation, was put into place by the ruling white population. This importantly increased the racial issues in South Africa. In the 1960s and seventies South Africa encountered upheaval including several strikes and uprisings which resulted in many deaths. After this time South Africa undergo a continuous struggle between the black and white populations as the indigenous people fought for their civil rights, similar to what was experienced in the United States during this time.During this time of racial turbulence, Ja ne Alexander created the piece Butcher Boys in 1985-86. This cultural, social and political framework had a distinct impact that is communicated in the meaning of this piece. As an artist, Jane Alexander is generally silent as to her intended meaning of her pieces stratagemThrob). Therefore, the meaning of Butcher Boys is open to interpretation and there are a variety of perceptions of this piece. One possible intention of this piece is to create emotions within the viewers rivald to the horrors that took place during the apartheid era in South Africa. The figures in the artwork may represent theperpetrators of apartheid. The casualness of the display of the models in relation to the inhuman characteristics of each may communicate the dangerous and bad within the white population involved in these atrocities.This may show the revulsion that Alexander felt toward the white population while living in South Africa during apartheid. In contrast, these figures can also beperceived a s representations of the black population. They show dehumanized victims of apartheids crimes against human race (Bick 33) by the additions of horns, cleaved backs, and other inhuman attributes on the otherwise normal human form. It can be argued that the evil vs good theme displayed in this artwork portray the good and evil present in all of us. These sculptures have no genitalia or specific skin color and are therefore representations of humanity in general, and all viewers can relate the forms to themselves. This interpretation is intensified be ride the figures are life-sized and are not separated from the audience allowing them to become more intimate with the art piece. The human features of the sculptures cause viewers to relate personally to the figures, and ponder if the inhuman attributes represent the evil inside themselves.Another interesting issue regarding the perception of Jane Alexanders Butcher Boys occurred in February 2012. At this time, the South African band s top Antwoords lead singer Ninja dressed as a character resembling a figure in Butcher Boys in a teaser trailer for their album Tension. snap Antwoord speaks to the post-apartheid generation of the white population who is now experiencing a changing identity as the political and social entities in South Africa stabilize after a tumultuous past. Die Antwoord participates in selecting, editing, and borrowing from available cultural resources to construct and perform a unused white identity (English). Jane Alexander communicated with the band after this release objecting to the bands appropriation of the imagery of her piece. The band immediately removed the ikon and the lead singer responded that they used the imagery because Butcher Boys was one of the few South African art pieces that they were proud of. Reactions to this occurrence in South Africa have been mixed.Butcher Boys by Jane Alexander was chosen for this essay because it was previously introduced to the class and the i mage was found to be both visually and conceptually stimulating. After reading the article Horror Histories Apartheid and the abject Body in the Work of Jane Alexander, the historical significance of this piece made it even more intriguing. Butcher Boys became even more compelling after research showed that this specific art work, as well as its history, impacted the band Die Antwoord, which is aband I appreciate. This piece is relatable to me personally because it shares many qualities of my own work which utilize the human form with alterations. I find the work of Jane Alexander to be inspirational and will draw from this experience in my future endeavors as an artist.BibliographyBeing Human. Durham University. N.p., 3 Mar. 2009. Web. .Bick, Tenley. Horror Histories Apartheid and the Abject Body in the Work of Jane Alexander. African Arts (2010) 30-41. Print.Dent, Lisa. Global condition Q+A with Jane Alexander. Art in America. Cynthia Zabel, 6 Aug. 2012. Web. 30 Nov. 2013. .Engl ish, Chris. Die Antwoord and Appropriation. YouTube. YouTube, 06Dec. 2012. Web. 30 Nov. 2013. .Jane Alexander. ArtThrob. N.p., July 1999. Web. 30 Nov. 2013. . Jane Alexander South African History Online. South African History. N.p.,15 Apr. 2009. Web. 30 Nov. 2013. .Jimenez, Danetta. Jane Alexander Surveys (from the Cape of Good Hope). (2013) n. pag. Rpt. in Museum of African Art New York. N.p. n.p., n.d. Print.Klassmeyer, Kelly. Jane Alexander and the Dangers of Success. Houston Press. N.p., 19 Sept. 2012. Web. 30 Nov. 2013. .Vison, Monica Blackmun. A History of Art in Africa. New Jersey Pearson Prentice Hall, 2001. Print.