SC
Strauss & Co

approximately. 150 x 150 cm

This lot offers a distilled sense of Conrad Botes’s early sculptural practice. In 1999, Botes, a co-founder of the occasional comic and ‘zine Bitterkomix, initiated a collaboration with Brett Murray on a series of sculptural wall lamps. The rockabilly characters featured in the Boogie …

Medium
Signature
Signed twice with the artist's initials 'CB'

Conrad Botes was born in 1969 in the Western Cape. Part of his childhood was spent living in a Department of Water Affairs prefab house on the edge of the Theewaters Dam. His father was a teacher at the local school. Listening to Conrad Botes tell stories of the characters that peopled his childhood world one can see how he has been able to develop his eye for targeting the soft underbelly of Afrikaanerdom and by extension South African culture. It does not take much to imagine Botes out on Commando during the Boer War and it is this dichotomy between who he physically is and his mental space that makes his work so powerful.

Together with Anton Kannemeyer, Conrad Botes is one of the founders of Bitterkomix, a rude almost abusive, cutting publication which the two started as students to jolt the establishment and enliven the lives of their gleeful peers, and which is still published regularly. The Bitterkomix publications have grown to be something of a national institution. Botes proudly relates how one of their comics was the first publication to be banned in the free South Africa, and Claudette Schreuders tells how Kannemeyer and Botes were able to keep their supply of beer going through university with the sale of postcards that they made from Bittercomix.

Conrad Botes elaborates: "With the comics, we're dealing very specifically with a South African audience who know what we're referring to. Originally we wrote them in Afrikaans, so many of the references are to things in Afrikaans culture. The paintings I make are much more personal. I can explain them if I have to - but I'd much rather not. It is difficult to explain something that you are meant to feel. People can formulate their own ideas about the work, the viewer's reaction is more important than my own explanation".

With his monoprints, silkscreens, lithographs and other work on paper, Conrad Botes indisputably proves his status as 'torchbearer of the Post-Pop movement in South Africa'.

Collected by a major museum
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Selected exhibitions
2020
Southern Guild at Intersect Aspen 2020Southern Guild
Southern Guild at Intersect Chicago 2020Southern Guild
2018
HUBERTY & BREYNE GALLERY at 1-54 New York 2018HUBERTY & BREYNE GALLERY
View all

Brett Murray makes art as a form of protest. In his acerbic bronze sculptures, photographs, works on paper, paintings, and public art installations, he lambastes politicians, corruption, and abuses of power in his native South Africa and beyond. Satire in all of its forms is key to his approach, as he explains: “Within satire, there is a range from the one-liner to something more open-ended, more metaphorical, where the humor is more layered. I try and work within all of these.” The language and symbols of power figure prominently in his work, twisted to reveal the lies and greed they mask. In his series of metalwork shields, for example, he combines traditional heraldic motifs with phalluses and money signs, stand-ins for politicians. As his diverse, prolific output attests, Murray will push back creatively as long as politics continues as usual.

Collected by a major museum
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Selected exhibitions
2021
HIDEEverard Read
2020
THE PORTRAIT SHOWEverard Read
2015
Brett Murray: Again AgainGoodman Gallery
View all

The Voodoo

Painted wooden sculpture, reverse glass painting, metal and plastic wall lights
59 1/10 × 59 1/10 in
150 × 150 cm
.
Bidding closed
SC
Strauss & Co

approximately. 150 x 150 cm

This lot offers a distilled sense of Conrad Botes’s early sculptural …

Medium
Signature
Signed twice with the artist's initials 'CB'

Conrad Botes was born in 1969 in the Western Cape. Part of his childhood was spent living in a Department of Water Affairs prefab house on the edge of the Theewaters Dam. His father was a teacher at the local school. Listening to Conrad Botes tell stories of the characters that peopled his childhood world one can see how he has been able to develop his eye for targeting the soft underbelly of Afrikaanerdom and by extension South African culture. It does not take much to imagine Botes out on Commando during the Boer War and it is this dichotomy between who he physically is and his mental space that makes his work so powerful.

Together with Anton Kannemeyer, Conrad Botes is one of the founders of Bitterkomix, a rude almost abusive, cutting publication which the two started as students to jolt the establishment and enliven the lives of their gleeful peers, and which is still published regularly. The Bitterkomix publications have grown to be something of a national institution. Botes proudly relates how one of their comics was the first publication to be banned in the free South Africa, and Claudette Schreuders tells how Kannemeyer and Botes were able to keep their supply of beer going through university with the sale of postcards that they made from Bittercomix.

Conrad Botes elaborates: "With the comics, we're dealing very specifically with a South African audience who know what we're referring to. Originally we wrote them in Afrikaans, so many of the references are to things in Afrikaans culture. The paintings I make are much more personal. I can explain them if I have to - but I'd much rather not. It is difficult to explain something that you are meant to feel. People can formulate their own ideas about the work, the viewer's reaction is more important than my own explanation".

With his monoprints, silkscreens, lithographs and other work on paper, Conrad Botes indisputably proves his status as 'torchbearer of the Post-Pop movement in South Africa'.

Collected by a major museum
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Selected exhibitions (3)

Brett Murray makes art as a form of protest. In his acerbic bronze sculptures, photographs, works on paper, paintings, and public art installations, he lambastes politicians, corruption, and abuses of power in his native South Africa and beyond. Satire in all of its forms is key to his approach, as he explains: “Within satire, there is a range from the one-liner to something more open-ended, more metaphorical, where the humor is more layered. I try and work within all of these.” The language and symbols of power figure prominently in his work, twisted to reveal the lies and greed they mask. In his series of metalwork shields, for example, he combines traditional heraldic motifs with phalluses and money signs, stand-ins for politicians. As his diverse, prolific output attests, Murray will push back creatively as long as politics continues as usual.

Collected by a major museum
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Selected exhibitions (3)
Other works by Conrad Botes