19 Keyes Avenue
1st Floor The Trumpet building
Monday – Friday
09:00 – 17:00
10:00 – 15:00 Visit Website
SMAC Gallery is a leading South African contemporary art gallery representing established and emerging artists from South Africa, Africa, and further afield. The gallery first opened in Stellenbosch in 2007 and launched a second space in Cape Town in 2011. SMAC opened its third space in Johannesburg, in 2016.
The gallery manages a dynamic programme of exhibitions and curatorial projects that focus on contemporary artistic discourses, while facilitating collaborative projects with local and international institutions and artists. In addition, SMAC maintains a significant publishing initiative that has produced twenty-five titles to date. The gallery also regularly presents large-scale historical exhibitions and projects that offer a critical re-evaluation of South African art history within a global dialogue.
SMAC participates in international art fairs, including: The Armory Show, ARTISSIMA, Art Brussels and others.
SMAC Gallery is pleased to present 'Der Abschied', a solo exhibition of new charcoal drawings and paintings by one of South Africa's pre-eminent painters, Johann Louw. 'Der Abschied' is Louw's fourth solo exhibition in Johannesburg and his sixth with the gallery. Louw's paintings are an intense response to notions of identity, testaments to a particular psychological spirit of place and time. Occupying a somewhat paradoxical space, Louw’s ambiguous and vulnerabe figures, set within non-descript and seemingly forsaken landscapes, create a sense of pervading uneasiness.
His masterful handling of his chosen materials of oil paint and charcoal draw the viewer in, demanding an emotive engagement. To understand ‘Der Abschied’, one must first understand the title’s reference, engendered from the work of the famous late-Romantic composer and conductor, Gustav Mahler. In July 1907, a doctor summoned to tend to Mahler’s ailing wife would also examine the composer, discovering the fatal heart condition that killed him less than four years later. Composing the song-symphony Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth) in the shadow of this terrible blow, Mahler’s perhaps most well-known piece was “permeated with the bitter taste of mortality”, as observed by Deryck Cooke. The colossal finale of the symphony, known as Der Abschied (The Farewell) – with its dirge-like passages, central funeral-march episode, and dark C-minor tonality – has long been understood as a more or less autobiographical farewell to life, the forbearing reconciliation with an ecstatic, quintessentially romantic death.
‘Der Abschied’ is thus something of a meditation on mortality, manifested through Louw’s characteristically visceral canvases, as well as a new series of charcoal drawings, where the anthropomorphic features of his figures (human and animal) are scrubbed out, veiled by the pooling of deeply-etched shadows. 'Der Abschied' will be showing at SMAC Gallery Johannesburg until 13 January 2018.
153 Smit Service Street
163 Jan Smuts Avenue
Corner Jan Smuts and Bolton Roads
Corner of Bertha & Jorissen Streets
Corner of Juta of De Beer Streets
142 Jan Smuts Avenue
19 Keyes Avenue
90 De Korte Street
144-146 Jan Smuts Avenue