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Contemporary African Art Collection by Jean Pigozzi

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Willie Bester

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Born 1956, Montagu, Cape Town, South Africa
Lives and works in Kuilsriver, Cape Town, South Africa

Willie Bester uses the leftovers of the society he depicts in order to retrace the political history of South Africa. Bester was ten years old when the Group Areas Act of the apartheid government forced his family to leave their farm and move to a homeland. Like an archaeologist, Bester reconstructs the fabric of this history to reveal the hidden faces of the South African township. His works are vivid collages, juxtapositions of odds and ends, of rubbish found in the townships: shoes, bones, tin cans, newspaper clippings, pages of books, scrap metal. The artist has stated: “People have built up a resistance to anything that addresses the psyche of mankind or people or themselves. I believe that we must protest against that which is wrong. There is no form of escape; remaining apolitical is a luxury that South Africans simply cannot afford.”

In his best known works like A Tribute to Steve Biko (1992) and Kakebeen (1993), the reminder of violence is resurrected by the patchwork of materials, acid colours, and photographs of the daily life that bring back the reality of the events described. He does not recycle trash to give it another dimension, but to integrate elements into his works that summon up the corrupt and violent world of a divided society.

SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2009
Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg

2009
Investec Private Bank & US Wordfest Artist

2009
Sasol Art Gallery, Stellenbosch

2008
Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town

2007
Montagu Museum, Montagu, South Africa

2005
34 LONG, Cape Town

2003
Willie Bester
Studio d’Arte Raffaelli
Trente – Italy

2003
"Willie Bester: 15 Years"
Association for Visual Arts
Cape Town - South Africa

2002
Willie Bester
SASOL Museum
Stellenbosch - South Africa

2001
Willie Bester: Who let the dogs out?
Goodman Gallery
Johannesburg - South Africa

2001
Willie Bester
Contemporary Art Center.
Bruxelles, Belgium.

2000
Willie Bester
Arti Assortite.
Torino, Italy.

1999
Willie Bester
Art Studio Raffaelli.
Trento, Italy.

1998
Willie Bester.
Dakar, Senegal.

1994
Willie Bester
Goodman Gallery.
Johannesburg, South Africa.

1993
Invited Artist/Solo workshop
South-African National Gallery.
Cape Town, South Africa.

1991
Willie Bester
Galley International.
Cape Town, South Africa.

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2009
34 LONG Fine Art, Cape Town

2007
Rocca di Castagnoli, Biennale Internazionale d'Art, Italy

2006
Mori Art Museum, Tokyo

2005
Arts of Africa
Grimaldi Forum
Monaco - France

2005
African Art Now : Masterpieces from the Jean Pigozzi Collection
Museum of Fine Art Houston
Houston - USA

2004 – 2006 (travelling exhibition)
Africa Screams – Das Böse in Kino, Kunst und Kult
The Evil and the Uncanny in Cinema and Art

* 24 July 2004 – 7 Nov 2004
Iwalewa-Haus
Afrikazentrum der Universität Bayreuth
Bayreuth – Germany
* 05/11/04 – 05/02/05
Kunsthalle Wien
Vienna – Austria
* 03/04/05 – 12/06/05
Kunstverein Aalen
Aalen - Germany
* 08/07/05 – 15/01/06
Museum der Weltkulturen Frankfurt
Frankfurt – Germany

2004 (travelling exhibition)
Africa Remix
Art contemporain d’un continent

* 24 July 2004 – 7 Nov 2004
Museum Kunst Palast
Düsseldorf - Germany
* 10 Feb 2005 – 17 April 2005
Hayward Gallery
London – England
* 15 May 2005 – 20 Aug 2005
Centre Georges Pompidou
Paris – France
* Feb – May 2006
Mori Art Museum
Tokyo

2004
Tremor, art sud-africain contemporain
Palais des Beaux-Arts
Charleroi - Belgium

2003
Suidoos Festival
Peninsula Technikon
Cape Town - South Africa

2002
Ubuntu
Gallery 3A
Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia

1999
" Rewind " Fast Foward. ZA : New work from South-Africa.
Van Reekum Museum. Apeldoorn, Netherlands.

1998
" The Edge of Awarness " WHO Geneva, Switzerland.
New-York, United-States.
Sao Paulo, Brasil.

1998
"Dak'Art"
Contemporary African Art Biennale.
Dakar, Senegal.

1996
"Colours, Contemporary Art From South-Africa".
Haus Der Kulturen Der Welt
Berlin, Germany.

1996
"Tradition in Transition"
October Gallery.
London, Great-Britain.

1995
"Heimat Project, Africus".
Johannesburg 1st Biennale.

1995
"On the road"
Exhibition by 10 Southern African artists. Part Africa 95° Festival.
Delfina Studio Trust.
London, Great-Britain.

1995
"Dialogues of Peace".
50th anniversary of the United Nations.
Palace of Nations.
Geneva, Switzerland.

1994
Modern Art Center.
Las Palmas, Gran Canaria.

1994
Ludwig Forum.
Aachen, Germany.

1994
Havana 5th Biennale
Havana, Cuba.

1994
"Incroci Sel sud"
Stedekijk Museum.
Amsterdam, Holland.
Sala 1.
Roma, Italy.

1993
"Incroci Sel sud"
An Exhibition of Works by 27 Contemporary South African Artists
Venice biennal, Italy.

1992-1991
"Zabalaza Festival"
Museum of Mordern Art -Oxford.
London
S.A National Gallery, Cape Town.

1991
"South-Africa"
A National Touring Exhibition.
Cape Town Triennale, South Africa.

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

2005
African Art Now: Masterpieces from the Jean Pigozzi Collection
Exhibition catalogue. Published by Merrell.

2004
Africa Remix
Exhibition catalogue. Published by Hatje Cantz.

2004
Africa Screams: Das Böse, in Kino, Kunst und Kult
Exhibition catalogue by Tobias Wendl. Published by Peter Hammer.

2001
A History of Art in Africa
Visonà, Monica Blackmun et al. New York, Prentice Hall, Inc and Harry N. Abrams, Inc.

2001
Willie Bester
Publication : Contemporary Art Center, Bruxelles.
Exhibition catalogue.
Bilingual Texts: French, English, 29 pages.

2001
Tribal Soul, Metropolitan Body.
Arte africana contemporanea. A cura di Sarenco...
L'artière edizionitalia. Bologne, Italie. Exhibition catalogue.
Bilingual text: Italian, English.

2000
Willie Bester by Sandra Klopper.
Arti Assortite, Torino.
Text in Italian, 46 pages.

1999
Willie Bester : opere recenti, text by Alberto FIZ.
Studio d'Arte Raffaeli, Trento.
Bilingual texts: Italian, English, 62 pages.

1996
Contemporary Art of Africa.
Willie Bester, "The story of a migrant worker" by Gavin Younge P.155-158.
Text in English.
Edited by André Magnin & Jacques Soulillou.
Published by Harry N. Abraams.

1996
Colours
Kunst Aus Sud Afrika
Exhibition catalogue, text in German p.74-78.
Haus Der Kulturen Der Welt.

1994
Image of Metal : post-war sculptures and assemblages in South Africa by Elisabeth Rankin.
Witwatersrand University Press, Johannesburg.
Text in English p.89-92.

1993
Affinities. Contemporary South African Art.
Incroci Del Sud. Biennale di Venezia.
Exhibition catalogue, bilingual text in Italian, English.


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