Artology exhibition by the UP Museums – 100 years of excellence Opening 20 April 2023

Posted on April 14, 2023

Artology exhibition by the UP Museums – 100 years of excellence Opening 20 April 2023

In 2022, the University of Pretoria Museums conceptualised and defined Artology, a new term not yet found in the Cambridge Dictionary. Artology is a dynamic curatorial perspective that combines collections, archives, conservation, and audiences in the framework of a university museum setting. The permanent institutional collection, which spans a century of collecting, is highlighted in Artology: The University of Pretoria Museum Collections 1922–2022.

The Artology exhibition features iconic works from the University of Pretoria, ranging from some of the earliest art forms from ancient Mesopotamia, a cuneiform tablet dating between 3100 and 2900 BCE, to an augmented reality artwork, recently acquired from the 2022 Sasol New Signatures winner, Andrea du Plessis. The magnificent Ardmore ceramic, Pangolin and Crocodile, created by Thulani Mntungwa and painted by Jabu Nene, was purchased in 2022 by the University of Pretoria Museums to commemorate and celebrate a centenary of collecting art.

The Museum collection began with one of the old South African masters, Hendrik Pierneef (1886–1957), who donated a 1915 linocut portrait of Paul Kruger (1825–1904) to the former Transvaal University College (TUC) in 1922, which later became the independent University of Pretoria in 1930. The art collection was then significantly expanded by blue-chip works from well-known South African artists, including Maggie Laubser, Irma Stern, Sydney Kumalo, Lucky Sibiya, Alexis Preller, and Anton Van Wouw, to name only a few.

The world-famous Mapungubwe Collection was added to the ever-expanding institutional collection in 1933 as a result of research and fieldwork. Subsequently, the permanent collection was progressively formed with greater ethical and responsible stewardship directing acquisitions through the founding of the University of Pretoria Museums and an Art Committee. Today, the Museums curate one of the best higher education collections in South Africa and Africa, and the Artology exhibition acts as witness to this, showcasing the esteemed, the unusual, as well as lesser-known works.

Artology aims to rethink and reframe how university museums actively try to fill narrative, identity, and representational gaps while simultaneously capturing an institution’s memory of the past and present. Gathering data and conducting active curatorial research further reveals numerous shortcomings, flaws, blemishes, and deficiencies as seen through the prism of shifting times that span the institution's lifetime. The Artology exhibition is exquisitely curated and deeply thoughtful Artology, as a term, is a future-focused trajectory that remains exciting, fresh, and at the forefront of highly specialised curated collections brought to an array of audiences. The exhibition celebrates an abundance of appreciated, valued art and objects under the stewardship of the University of Pretoria. The Artology exhibition in association with Javett-UP will run from 20 April 2023 until 31 July 2023.

To book an Artology tour contact: [email protected] or Tel: 012 420 5181 or 012 420 2178 or whatsapp +27 (68) 236 4808

- Author Dr. Sian Tiley-Nel

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