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Anton Kannemeyer

 

Anton Kannemeyer is a South African comics artist who makes images imbued with black humor, subversive thinking, and satire. He approaches his complicated, emotional topics with a deceptive simplicity.

Kannemeyer’s underground comics journal Bitterkomix challenges the rigid image of Afrikaners in post-apartheid times. “For Kannemeyer it has been a concerted campaign of revenge against the hated authority figures of his boyhood - his father, 'Barries' who caned him, and all the headmasters, priests, policemen and rugger buggers who in one way or another attempted to indoctrinate, punish and belittle him. His intensely personal response to the humiliations of his boyhood has since radiated out into a broader psychosexual, socio-historical critique of Afrikaner culture and South African society in general.” (Doug Haddow, 2011)

Born in Cape Town, Kannemeyer and graduated with an MA in Fine Arts from Stellenbosch University, his publications include 16 editions of Bitterkomix, The Big Bad Bitterkomix Handbook and several other solo book compilations (all with Conrad Botes) as well as 2010 solo books, Pappa in Afrika and Alphabet of Democracy.

His work has been published in numerous publications and catalogues around the world, and is held in many permanent collections, including the Museums of Modern Art in New York and San Fransisco.

Anton Kannemeyer is a co-founder of Bitterkomix and is where "Joe Dog", his pseudonym was first used. Aided and abetted by Conrad Botes (Konradski), he has displayed a Duchamp-like ability to manipulate the media by generating controversy, in a full frontal assault on the Afrikaner cultural mainstream.

In the prints that Anton Kannemeyer has done at The Artists' Press, he has cast his gaze across many metaphorical landscapes. Images from his Alphabet of Democracy series have appeared regularly over the years. The first were done in 2005, J is for Jack Russell and D is for Dancing Ministers. The initial reference is to childhood primers and illustrated alphabets, Letterland gets political. The text on the prints reflects his obsession with hand done typography and the style of the prints recalls his earlier silk-screens with the backgrounds of flat colour. The appealing primer like text is deceptive; on closer inspection, the images are not so innocent.

The Alphabet of Democracy of Anton Kannemeyer is an ongoing project and is one set of alphabets that are not going to make it to the Foundation Phase classrooms of the Department of Education. These prints refer to local, South African events and some of the definitions are from dictionaries used in schools,but the meanings extend way beyond South African borders and pick up on prejudices and social issues across the globe.

In many of his prints, Kannemeyer investigates the continued existence of racism in Africa and its double standards. Prominent in his work is his continued interest in exposing the hypocrisy of the white liberal in South Africa. With his confrontational images and humour, he brings to attention prejudices and worldviews that can then be dealt with and hopefully be done away with.

Some of Kannemeyer's prints relate more to South Africa and the specifics of sport, suburban life and politics. In E is for the Enemy of Democracy he uses quotes spanning almost forty years to suggest that the more things change the more they stay the same.

About his style, Kannemeyer says: “I think that a comic style allows one to easily access stereotypes, which is important if you’re a satirist. The simpler the image becomes, the clearer it is for the viewer to read the image. The problem, however, is that the image may look simple, but the message is often complex. It so happens that a lot of people, especially visual illiterates, may think they understand the image because it’s drawn in an accessible comic style, but the meaning may be ambiguous or hidden. This often leads to misinterpretations and controversy...” (2011 Interview with Doug Haddow)

Recent group exhibitions include King of the Hill at Jack Shainman Gallery (2019), Making Africa: A Continent of Contemporary Design (2015-2019), Africa Now: Political Patterns, at the Seoul Museum of Art (2014-2015), and Public Intimacy: Art and Social Life in South Africa (2014), at SFMOMA and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.

 

EXHIBITIONS:

2014

     Such, Such Were die Joys, Stevenson, Cape Town, April 10 - May 24, 2014 (solo exhibition)

     Theory of Colour, Museo Universitario Art Contemporáneo (MUAC), Mexico City, Mexico, September 11, 2014–January 17, 2015

     Africa Now: Political Patterns, Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul, December 16, 2014 - February 15, 2015

     Public Intimacy: Art and Social Life in South Africa, Yerba Buena Centre for the Arts and SFMoMA, San Francisco, USA, February - June 29, 2014

     Meeting points 7: Ten Thousand Wiles & A Hundred Thousand Tricks, ParaSite, Hong Kong, March 1 - April 20; Beirut Art Centre, Beirut, April 1 - May 3; 21er Haus, Vienna, 9 - August 31; Institute for African Studies, Moscow, July 7 - August 22, 2014

     Mise En Scène, The School, Kinderhook, NY, August - December 2014

 

2013

     South Africa Revisited, Gallery Twitter Machine, Berlin, Germany, October 4 - 13, 2013

     Sharp Sharp Johannesburg, La Gaite Lyrique, Paris, France, October 12 - November 8, 2013

     The Loom of the Land, Michael Stevenson Gallery, Johannesburg, January 24 - February 22, 2013

     Pop Goes die Revolution, The New Church, Cape Town, October 10, 2013 - April 1, 2014

     Meeting points 7: Ten Thousand Wiles & A Hundred Thousand Tricks, Museum of Modern Art (MuHKA), Antwerp, Belgium, October 24, 2013 - February 16, 2014

 

2012

     Paintings and Prints for Doctors and Dentists, Stevenson, Johannesburg, May 31-June 29, 2012(solo exhibition)

     We are not armed, don't shoot, Raum Linksrechts, Hamburg, Germany, March 24 - April 15, 2012

     Bitterkomix: Contemporary Comics from South Africa, Llotja del Cànem, Seu de la Ciutat de la Universitat, Jaume I, Castelló de la Plana, Spain, March 30 - April 29, 2012

     Things Beyond Our Control, Fredric Snitzer Gallery, Miami, July 14 - August 13, 2014

     Taboo, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia, December 19, 2012 - February 24, 2013

 

2011

     Anton Kannemeyer: After the Barbarians, Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, October 13th to November 12, 2011 (solo exhibition)

     What we talk about when we talk about love, Stevenson, Cape Town, December 1, 2011 - January 14, 2012 (solo exhibition)

     Impressions from South Africa, 1965 to Now, The Paul J. Sachs Prints and Illustrated Books Galleries, Museum of Modern Art, New York, March 23rd to August 14, 2011. Curated by Judith B. Hecker (Catalogue)

     Co/mix, National Arts Festival, Grahamstown, South Africa, June 30th to July 10, 2011

     What we talk about when we talk about love, Michael Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town, December 2011 - January 2012

 

2010

     Anton Kannemeyer: A Dreadful Thing Is In The Out, Michael Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town, April, 22-May 29, 2010 (solo exhibition)

     Anton Kannemeyer: Alphabet of Democracy, Michael Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town, December 2, 2010–January 15, 2011, (Catalogue)(solo exhibition)

     Peekaboo: Current South Africa, Helsinki Art Museum, Finland, August 20, 2010–January 16, 2011

     Coca-colonized, Hilger Brot Kunsthalle, Vienna, September 16th to November 20, 2010. Traveled to: Museo de Arte de El Salvador (MARTE), San Salvador, May 5th to July 3, 2011. Curated by Claire Breukel

     Party Crashers: Comic Book Culture Invades the Art World, Arlington Arts Center, Virginia, November 19, 2010 – January 16, 2011 (Catalogue)

     Anton, Hylton, Serge, Viviane and Claudette at Michael Stevenson Gallery, Michael Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town, December 2, 2010–January 15, 2011

     Summer 2010/2011 , Michael Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town, December 2010–January 2011

     Philigrafika 2010: The Graphic Unconscious, The Print Center, Philadelphia, January 29th-11th, 2010

     NeoIntegrity: Comics Edition , Museum of Comics and Cartoon Art, New York, March 12–August 29, 2010

     1910–2010: From Pierneef to Gugulective, Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town, April 13th - October 3, 2010

     ...For those who live in it: Pop culture, politics and strong voices, MU Eindhoven, The Netherlands, May 21st to August 1, 2010

     Halakasha!, Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg, June 2–July 17, 2010. Curated by Fional RankinSmith

     This is Our Time, Michael Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town, June 3rd to July 24, 2010

     Bitterkomix, Rio Loco Festival, Toulouse, France. Traveled to: Ti Piment Festival, Espace my.monkey, Nancy, France, June 9th - July 14, 2010

     Exquisite Corpse Project, Gasser Grunert Gallery, New York, October 12th to November 6th, 2010. Curated by David Salle

     Les Afriques de Papa, Espace du Collectif Sadi, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, October 22-24, 2010

 

2009

     Anton Kannemeyer: Works on Paper, Brodie/Stevenson Gallery, Johannesburg, November 12th to December 15, 2009(solo exhibition)

     Bitterkomix: A certain regard on the Africa du Sud, Angoulême International Comics Festival, France, January-March 2009

     Self/Not-self, Brodie/Stevenson Gallery, Johannesburg, February 19–March 21, 2009

     Anton Kannemeyer, Conrad Botes & Henning Wagenbreth: Recent prints and drawings, Gallery AOP,Johannesburg, March 2009

     Cyclone BD international comics festival, St. Denis, Reunion, France

 

2008

     Anton Kannemeyer: The Haunt of Fears, Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, April 17th to May 17, 2008 (solo exhibition)

     Anton Kannemeyer: Fear of a Black Planet, Michael Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town, October 16th to November 22, 2008 (Catalogue) (solo exhibition)

 

2007

     Anton Kannemeyer: New Work, Beam Gallery, Spier Estate, Stellenbosch/Cape Town, August-September 2007(solo exhibition)

     South African Art: Modern Art and Cultural Development in a Changing Society, Danubiana Meulensteen Art Museum, Bratislava, Slovenia, September 9-November 2007. Curated by Edwin Meulensteen

     Artisti a Castagnoli, Gaiole in Chianti, Tuscany, Italy, October-November 2007

     Flesh!, Main program, Klein Karoo National Arts Festival, Oudtshoorn 2007–2008

     From_&_To: From Trentino South Tyrol to the rest of the world and back, Art Merano Arte, Merano, Italy, October 2007–January 2008

     Summer 2007/2008, Michael Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town, November 2007–January 2008

 

2006

     Anton Kannemeyer: More Days of My Lives, Art on Paper, Braamfontein, Johannesburg, June 2006 (solo exhibition)

     Bitterkomix, Michael Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town, November 2006

     Out of Context, Erdmann Contemporary, Cape Town, January 31st to March 4th, 2006

     Anton Kannemeyer and Conrad Botes: Bitterkomix, Michael Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town, October 24-November 25, 2006 (Catalogue)

     Africa Comics, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, November 15, 2006–March 18, 2007

     South African Art Now, Michael Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town, November 29, 2006–January 6, 2007

 

2005

     Anton Kannemeyer: Days of My Life, Erdmann Contemporary, Cape Town, November 8, 2005–January 21, 2006(solo exhibition)

 

PUBLIC COLLECTIONS:

Art Omi Collection, New York

Hollard/Spier Collection, Johannesburg & Stellenbosch

Johannesburg Art Gallery, South Africa

JS Gericke Library Special Collection, University of Stellenbosch

The Museum of Modern Art, New York

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, New York

National Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa

National Gallery, Pretoria, South Africa

Special Collections Division, Michigan State University

Soccer

Soccer

  Original title of the artwork: Soccer / Football Anton Kannemeyer is a South...

Artist photo Anton Kannemeyer South Africa, Cape Town
Splendid Dwelling

Splendid Dwelling

  Original title of the artwork: Splendid Dwelling Anton Kannemeyer is a South...

Artist photo Anton Kannemeyer South Africa, Cape Town