New York

“Translation/Seduction/Displacement”

WhiteBox

This exhibition of work by contemporary South African artists derived its title from some of the implications of the word “translation” in several of that nation’s languages: translation as libidinal, spiritual, or cartographic displacement and as an act of seduction, enticing, or leading something or someone astray. Gesturing toward the slippages and the communicative potentialities of language, curators Lauri Firstenberg and John Peffer clearly wanted to avoid mounting a regional survey show (“South Africa Now” or “Young South Africans”) that would claim to be definitive or exoticize practices that are as intimately linked to the rest of the world as is South Africa’s economy. The titular emphasis on language also reflects the Conceptual slant of the work, which is in fact as much about distortion and repulsion as it about translation and seduction.

The curators and the artists they

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