(1972 – )

Alexander Opper
Contemporary
Overview

Coming from an education in the discipline of architecture, now working as an artist, my artmaking has always engaged instances of the missed, the ignored and the overlooked. I am captivated by the less legible – but no less important – aspects of life. Such not-so-obvious spaces, things and phenomena tend to occur in liminal zones, for instance along boundaries, on edges and at thresholds. In search of new ways of seeing, I mine such generally missed notions for the revealing and surprising possibilities they hold.

‘Undoing Architecture’ is the term I use to frame my artmaking practice. This practice relies on working with the overlaps of – and slippages between – art and architecture. Working in the frictional zone between the two disciplines, I produce artistic responses that challenge the status quo of current material, spatial, social, economic, and cultural phenomena. These occurrences are often poorly framed and oversimplified by an architectural discipline too slow and too complacent to seriously engage the multiple universal existential crises faced by humanity. In my work I set out to undo simplistic and often erroneously understood benign readings of such ostensibly innocent architectural framing, and flattening, of life. My chosen mode of undoing, whether speculative or concrete, provides new possibilities for a re-viewing and re-imagining of atrophied mainstream architectural practice. This approach has resulted in a steadily growing body of work expressed in numerous group and solo exhibitions since 2009.

My work has focused primarily on the spatially and socially fraught city of Johannesburg, in a sense the perfect locus for my work, precisely because it is such an imperfect city (inscribed with division even 25+ years after the political dismantling of apartheid). Locating my research in this fraught context adds further credence to my work, particularly in current times of dissonance linked to the complex layers of a ‘nation’ grappling with an emergent and unpredictable state of becoming or, as it feels to many now – considering this city and country’s multiple structural failings – a relentless state of un-becoming. Adding to these local tensions the world at large appears to have reached a simultaneity of breaking points, hinging on current widespread social unrest, political uncertainty, economic precariousness, creeping fascism and an apparently permanent state of othering and shifting of blame. These conditions play out in architectural space and place. In Johannesburg, such instances also unfold in many if not invisible then at least overlooked zones that exist in this sprawlingly uneven urban conurbation. These zones, what one might refer to as non-spaces and non-places, lend themselves to and deserve closer consideration in their essential yet elusive states of in-between-ness. 

The conceptual ‘collisions’ I set up in my artistic work serve as a basis for my critically reflexive writings. Such writings complement and strengthen my art practice and facilitate a working-through and textual expression of my larger framework of undoing. My art practice – supplemented by my writing and teaching practices – situates the site-specific anomalies in Johannesburg I choose to work with, within a broader global discourse examining urban, national and trans-border spaces of conflict. The works which emerge from such artistic pursuits are, I hope, responsive, inclusive and adaptive, in the ways in which they set out to challenge the continued generally unquestioned relevance of the sluggish and self-assured discipline of architecture.

I work across an ever-expanding range of media, from photography and video, to drawing, collage, sculpture and installation. Photography, more than any other medium, serves as a critical cog in my practice. A way of seeing and un-seeing, I use it to build a loose archive of observations and latent potential ideas that may or may not become works. Chloë Reid, in a recent exhibition catalogue introduction (2021), outlines my use of photography as follows:

Opper, whose interdisciplinary work is concerned with spatial politics, uses the photographic mode to collect imagery. The images he collects represent immediate responses to his everyday environment and provide the material (both physical and conceptual) for critical and creative research.

Career highlights have been my first solo show, Separ(n)ation, at Goethe on Main (2013), for which I produced seven substantial works exploring the relational tensions and possibilities evoked by Johannesburg’s ubiquitous and only ostensibly banal condition of palisade fencing. In 2015 a key work from the above show, ‘Who’s Afraid of …’ (2013) was acquired by the Johannesburg Art Gallery (JAG) for its contemporary collection. Before this, in 2010, the making of Accumulation #1 (the first iteration of an envisioned open series of works), using as a medium dust which had settled on the cornices of the JAG’s exhibition spaces over the course of its, then, 100 years of existence, represents another key example of my spatial un/doings. More recently my large-scale artist’s book wall-installation Burning Issues (2017) critically engaged the complex role of language, and fire, exposed by 2015’s various #RMF and #FMF moments and campaigns. The 2021 works, 20 seconds and Figure/Ground mark my debut showing with GRAHAM Contemporary in Johannesburg.

As a cultural producer I have given numerous TV, radio and press interviews on my artistic practice (see, for example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgwSivZ3BVQ, featuring the second installation of the work Uitval (2013) as installed at the Gordon Institute of Business Science in 2015, in a version of the work called Uitval: Unfolded). A design studio I headed at UJ in 2008/09 illustrates one instance of how intensively my artistic practice flows into and is also informed by my academic research and teaching. This studio led to a reimagining of Johannesburg’s Goethe-Institut via the reinterpretation and entropic reconfiguration of its original alienating boundary wall (for more context, see my article: http://mg.co.za/article/2009-11-06-fall-wall-confronts-fear-and-paranoia-of-city-users). I have run local and international master classes, curated exhibitions on art, architecture and design and have presented my artistic projects in a broad range of places, including various German cities, New York, São Paulo and Abidjan. My work is held in public (The Johannesburg Art Gallery (JAG)) and private collections. A book I co-edited, ‘Das Bauhaus Verfehlen / Missing the Bauhaus’, was recently published by iwalewabooks, Germany and, in July 2022, I completed a month-long residency as a fellow of the Ampersand Foundation in New York City.

Biography

I was born in Pretoria in 1972 and left, literally as soon as I could, at 17. Cape Town was my next stop and the UCT School of Architecture set the scene for what it was I thought I should be doing with my life. Architecture as it turns out has simply served as a very useful critical arc to return me to an early instinctual desire for artmaking.

After my undergraduate studies I worked in various architectural practices between 1994 and 1997, the year I began my graduate studies in architecture in Berlin, a city I had moved to in 1995. Having had a German father, the pull to gain a fuller understanding of my German roots had always been strong. The entropic and site-specific nature of my future artistic work announced itself in my politically loaded master’s thesis, The Matter of the Castle (German: Schloß als Materie), completed at the University of the Arts (UdK) in 2001. My project offered a counterproposal to the farcical idea of rebuilding the former Berliner Schloß (Berlin Castle) as a Disneyfied copy of itself. The copy has since, sadly, manifested: as the Humboldt Forum, a new museum problematically housing, amongst other things and functions, a massive ethnological ‘collection’. This culminating project of my graduate studies remains of seminal importance for me as it birthed my driving approach of Undoing Architecture (I write more about this here: https://www.academia.edu/21407615/_Undoing_Architecture_2010_double_blind_peer_reviewed_paper_published_in_conference_proceedings_book_).

After graduating and qualifying as an architect I was invited, on the strength of my master’s project, to join the architectural team of Kühn Malvezzi Architects. The firm had won the invited competition to design the exhibition architecture for Okwui Enwesor’s Documenta 11 in 2002.

In 2005 I relocated to South Africa. After experiencing Berlin’s particular brand of cityness, Johannesburg was the only South African city I could imagine living, and thriving, in. In the second half of 2005 I taught a semester to first year architecture students at the University of Pretoria. It was my first teaching engagement and an experience I found very gratifying. After a short stint in a local architectural firm, I successfully applied for a fulltime teaching position in the University of Johannesburg’s Department of Architecture. I immersed myself in the possibilities this position afforded me to think and teach architecture differently (critically reflecting on the limits of the modernist tradition under which I’d been taught architecture). I went on to design and direct the university’s first ever architectural master’s programme. This programme catalysed very fruitful years of pedagogical experimentation using an approach I called ‘folding the studio into the field’, breaking with the typically inward-looking nature of architectural education prevalent in the school at the time. I employ this teaching approach to this day.

This period and the many ways in which Johannesburg served as a critical laboratory for testing and developing new approaches to architectural education proved highly significant for my emergent artistic career. It exposed me to the city’s many complexities and contradictions, based on, to highlight just one example, its entanglements of smooth and striated space (as described by Lindsay Bremner in her essay Themes and Theories, in her book Writing the City into Being (2010, Fourthwall Books)).

In 2009, UJ’s FADA Gallery served as the first significant opportunity for me to make a large-scale artistic installation, a work of institutional criticism. The faculty’s white cube gallery was the subject of this critique. Via an immersive work called Auseinandersetzung (German for a range of related words – conflict; confrontation; dialogue; engagement – and the intersections between them) employing an entropic approach of shifting, displacing and obstructing, I drew attention to the gallery’s failings. This early work marked the beginning of a critically reflexive practice of interrogating the fallout of the largely uncritical, linear and normative discipline of architecture. Since then, I have gone on to produce and exhibit a substantial body of work that – through my process of undoing – deals critically with, and derives meaning from, the politics of space.

Education

2018    
PhD studies: Affiliated Junior Fellow in the PhD programme of the Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies (BIGSAS), University of Bayreuth, Germany

2001
Master of Architecture (MArch), with Distinction: University of the Arts (UdK), Berlin, Germany 
Master’s thesis title: Schloß als Materie (The Matter of the Castle)

1993
Bachelor of Architectural Studies (BAS): School of Architecture, Planning & Geomatics, University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa

1985-1989
Pretoria Boys’ High School, Pretoria, South Africa

Exhibitions

Solo exhibitions:

2015
Uitval: Unfolded, Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), Johannesburg (04/02-26/02)

2013
Separ(n)ation, Goethe on Main, Arts on Main, Maboneng, Johannesburg (24/10-17/11)
See: https://vimeo.com/214627677

Group exhibitions:

2023

Sunny Side Up, Group exhibition, Graham Contemporary, Johannesburg, South Africa

2022

New Day, Group exhibition, Graham Contemporary, Johannesburg, South Africa
Romancing the Stone, KZNSA Gallery, Durban (21/09-21/10).
See: https://www.kznsagallery.co.za/Exhibitions/View/1014/romancing-the-stone

2022
Jan-Ken Paa/Paper, Studio Gallery SPG no. 3, Muizenberg, Cape Town (22/07-31/12).

2021
Interventions in Practice, University of Johannesburg, FADA Gallery, Johannesburg (10/08-15/10).
See: https://www.academia.edu/71809566/20_seconds_and_Figure_Ground_2021_chapter_in_exhibition_catalogue_

2017
Booknesses: South African Artist’s Books, University of Johannesburg, FADA Gallery, Johannesburg (24/03-05/05).
See: http://www.theartistsbook.org.za/view.asp?pg=booknesses&pgsub=exhibitions&pgsub1=fada_artists&pgsub2=ao

2017
Booknesses: Artist’s Books from the Jack Ginsberg Collection, UJ Art Gallery, Johannesburg (25/03-05/05).

2015
Past Imperfect // Future Present, FADA Gallery, Johannesburg (24/03-15/05)
See: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/59e717f380bd5e0c46840b11/t/5bb499170d92977697f51445/1538562384331/Past+Imperfect-Future+Present.pdf & https://static1.squarespace.com/static/59e717f380bd5e0c46840b11/t/5bf7f8040ebbe88c33834185/1542977563553/9781431425136.pdf(pages 111-122)

2015
GROUP, Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), Johannesburg (08/04-22/04).

2014-15 }
TWENTY: Contemporary Art from South Africa, Turchin Center for the Visual Arts. Appalachian State University, North Carolina, USA. (11/07/14-07/02/15).
See: https://www.flickr.com/photos/turchincenter/15138351967/in/album-72157647509829938/

 2010
Cloak & Dagger: The Curtain Raiser, Security Building, 95 Commissioner Street, Johannesburg (25/11-31/12).                                          

2010
Draw links: An exhibition of contemporary drawings, Gallery Art on Paper, 44 Stanley Ave., Johannesburg (09/10-30/10).

2010
The Spirit is not an idea, Says the penguin, CO-OP, Juta Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg (18/03-17/04).

2010
Time’s Arrow: Live readings of the JAG collection, Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg (21/02-18/04).
See: https://timesarrowatjag.blogspot.com/p/alexander-opper.html

2009
2nd Floor, Security Building, Security Building, 95 Commissioner Street, Johannesburg (28/11).

2009
FADA Staff Show, University of Johannesburg, FADA Gallery, Johannesburg (22/09-16/10).
See: https://www.viad.co.za/fada-staff-exhibition-2009

2009
The Double Body: being in space, University of Johannesburg, FADA Gallery, Johannesburg (20/05-21/07).
See: https://www.viad.co.za/times-arrow

Curated exhibitions:

2015
Exhibition and Auction of original drawings inspired by the City of Gold. Public exhibition and auction (04/10); Showcasing of 120 original drawings produced by the students of Unit 1: Architecture & Infrastructure – Drawing the city into being. The Gauteng Institute for Architecture (GIfA). Johannesburg (17/09-04/10).

2014
Monty Sack (1924-2009): Architecture & Art (Special Exhibition for the XXV International Union of Architects (UIA) World Congress: Architecture Otherwhere). Public exhibition (Co-curated with Albonico Sack Metacity Architects & Urban Designers); with inclusion of master’s student work (from the 2013 design studio Urban Update: Monty Sack). Durban Convention Centre. Durban (03/08-07/08).

 2014
JAG: A catalytic discussion & exhibition. Public discussion and two-week exhibition of design work by UJ Master’s Architecture students considering the future of the Johannesburg Art Gallery (JAG). JAG.
Johannesburg (Opening & public discussion: 24/04).

 2013
Monty Sack (1924-2009). Retrospective Exhibition: Architecture & Art. Public exhibition (Co-curated with Stephen Hobbs and Albonico Sack Metacity Architects & Urban Designers); with inclusion of master’s student work (from the design studio Urban Update: Monty Sack). FADA Gallery, UJ. Johannesburg (23/05-20/06).

 2009
FallWall (Part of Cracking Walls) (2009). Goethe-Institut (G-I), Johannesburg. Public exhibition of 3rd Year UJ/FADA architecture student design proposals for future visions of the Goethe-Institut, Johannesburg, without walls. (07/10-31/10).

 2018
Dogscapes: Etchings and Drawings by Sue Pam-Grant. The Gallery of the DST NRF SA Research Chair in South African Art and Visual Culture, University of Johannesburg (33 Twickenham Avenue, Auckland Park). (18/04-11/06).

2012
(In)visible City Revisited, Nirox Projects. Arts on Main. Johannesburg. Showcasing the nocturnal photography of Johannesburg of architect and photographer Leon Krige (01/06-16/06).

 2010
GAZART. Curatorial intervention. Main Street Life, Maboneng. Johannesburg. Co-curated with Tegan Bristow, in collaboration with Molemo Moiloa and Nare Mokgotho, of MADEYOULOOK (07/08).

 2009
(In)visible City. FADA Gallery. Johannesburg. Showcasing photography by Leon Krige and Sally Gaulle. Co-curated with David Paton and Rosalind Cleaver (01/08-31/08).

Writings & Publications

As someone who has written and published extensively, I’m a well-respected researcher both locally and internationally. In 2017 I was been awarded the academically coveted rated-researcher status by the National Research Foundation (NRF). I have penned over fifty texts about art, design and architecture across numerous publications. These include a total of 15 double-blind peer-reviewed publications. A selection of my chapters, articles, essays and reviews can be found here: https://johannesburg.academia.edu/AlexOpper

 In the paper ‘Undoing Architecture’ (2010) I describe my approach to making art in the frictional space between the disciplines of art and architecture.
See: https://www.academia.edu/21407615/_Undoing_Architecture_2010_double_blind_peer_reviewed_paper_published_in_conference_proceedings_book_

 Most recently my co-edited book Das Bauhaus Verfehlen / Missing the Bauhaus was published under the imprint iwalewabooks(2022).

Publications on my work:

Reid, C. 2021. Introduction. In Interventions in Practice (online exhibition catalogue). Discussion of my work, part of the above exhibition, held at FADA Gallery, UJ, Johannesburg: 2-5. 10 Aug-15 Oct.
See: https://www.uj.ac.za/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/interventions_catalogue_08-2.pdf

Wood, G. 2015. A fence to bring us together. Review of my 2015 solo exhibition Uitval (Unfolded), held at Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), Johannesburg (4-26 Mar). In Times Live (online). 10 Mar.
See: https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/south-africa/2015-03-10-a-fence-to-bring-us-together/

Wood, G. 2015. Dusting of JAG: Six exhibitions and a book celebrate gallery’s centenary. Includes a reflection on my work on the exhibition Time’s Arrow: Live readings of the JAG collection, held at the Johannesburg Art Gallery (JAG) (21 Feb-18 Apr 2010). In Times Live (online). 10 Nov.
See: https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/south-africa/2015-11-10-dusting-off-jag-six-exhibitions-and-a-book-celebrate-gallerys-centenary/

Andrew, D. 2014. Separ(n)ation: Alex Opper’s Undoing of Johannesburg Space. Review of my 2013 solo exhibition, Separ(n)ation, held at Goethe on Main, Johannesburg (24 Oct – 17 Nov). In Safundi – The Journal of South African and American Studies. Vol. 15. Iss. 2-3: 420-22 (special issue on SA photography).

Smith, T. 2013. The ins and outs of SA’s divisive palisades. Review of my 2013 solo exhibition, Separ(n)ation, held at Goethe on Main, Johannesburg (24 Oct – 17 Nov). In The Sunday Times. 3 Nov.
See: https://www.timeslive.co.za/sunday-times/lifestyle/2013-11-03-the-ins-and-outs-of-sas-divisive-palisades/

Buys, A. 2012. The Spirit is Not an Idea, Says the Penguin. Exhibition review in Artthrob.

Bester, R. 2010. Time’s Arrow. Johannesburg Art Gallery. Johannesburg. (exhibition review). In Art South Africa. Vol. 08. Issue 04. Winter: 104-105.

Buys, A. 2009. The inspirational quirk (review of the 2009 FADA Staff Exhibition). In Mail & Guardian. Friday, 2 Oct: 6.

Gray, B. 2009. The Double Body: being in space (exhibition review). In FADA Research Newsletter. Issue 12: 10-11.

Conferences

Conference presentations:

19-23 September 2022. Alexander Opper. Photo/graphing Stone: The lasting concretisation of politics and the politicisation of concrete in David Southwood’s photographs of Johannesburg water towers; The 36th Annual SAVAH Conference (‘Romancing the Stone’). Faculty of Arts & Design, Durban University of Technology, Durban.

27-29 May 2019. Alexander Opper. Breaking Johannesburg’s Fourth Wall: An interrogation of three façade-conditions as interstitial sites of appearance, reality and possibility; ‘Inclusion and Accessibility’ Conference. Kardinal-Wendel-Haus-Katholische Akademie, Münich.

23-26 March 2017. Alexander Opper. Undoing the Artist’s Book. Booknesses Book Arts Colloquium: Taking Stock of the Book Arts in South Africa (International colloquium at FADA, UJ). Johannesburg.

18-20 March 2015. Alexander Opper. Derrière les panneaux publicitaires (Behind the Billboards). Viaduct 2015 – Archival Addresses: Photographies, Practices, Positionalities (International platform at FADA (FADA Gallery), UJ). Johannesburg.

19-22 March 2014. Alexander Opper. Separ(n)ation. 16th ACASA Triennial Symposium on African Art. Brooklyn Museum. New York.

30-31 January 2014. Alexander Opper. Separ(n)ation. Practice-Led Writing Workshop. UJ, FADA. Johannesburg.

21-22 November 2013. Alexander Opper. Assessing pedagogical outcomes: Some reflections on Productive ‘Leakage’ and the ‘Folding’ of the Studio into the Field. URBAN LAB+. The Laboratory approach to Built-Environment Education. Johannesburg Colloquium. Wits (School of Architecture and Planning), Johannesburg.

23 May 2013. Alexander Opper. ‘Folding’ the Studio into the Field: Some Lessons learned and shared, between

Johannesburg & São Paulo. IBSA Working Group on Human Settlements (IBSA WGHS). Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), Pretoria (live simulcast between Pretoria / Cape Town / Durban).

29 April 2013. Alexander Opper, with Anne Graupner (26’10 south Architects). Informal Studio: Marlboro South, Johannesburg, South Africa. Baukulturwerkstat. Weltstadt-Stadtwelten. Deutschen Architektur Zentrum (DAZ). Berlin, Germany.

26 October 2012. Alexander Opper, Thiresh Govender & Monika Läuferts. Change Room (‘Art and the Creative Industries’): presentation on the possible future(s) of Johannesburg’s Gas Works. Sustain our Africa Summit. Cape Town. 24-

13-17 September 2012. Alexander Opper with Thorsten Deckler. Informal Studio: Ruimsig – Unsettling the Status Quo. AZA 2012 Conference. Cape Town.

3 May 2012. Alexander Opper with Thorsten Deckler. Informal Studio: Ruimsig. One-day Sub-Saharan Regional Conference, Goethe-Institut. Johannesburg.

3-5 November 2011. Alexander Opper with Thorsten Deckler. Informal Studio Ruimsig. African Perspectives, Casablanca. Morocco.

28-29 October 2011. Alexander Opper. New Iwalewa (presentation of design concept for the domicile of the New Iwalewa Haus). Contact Zone – New Iwalewa. Bayreuth, Germany.

16-17 April 2011. Alexander Opper. (Not) Everything counts in large amounts: Dusty Realism and the productive ‘archive’ of the in between. Synthetic Dirt. Rhodes University. Grahamstown.

11-15 January 2011. Alexander Opper. Landscapes and Trajectories of Displacement: Finding Place in Hotel Yeoville; SAVAH Conference (Other Views: Art histories in (South) Africa and the Global South). Wits, Johannesburg.

22-24 September 2010. Alexander Opper. Playing Ball: A Friendly Between Two Private Publics. AZA Biennale 2010: Event + City (Reimagining Johannesburg). Johannesburg.

15-16 October 2009. Alexander Opper. Undoing Architecture. On Making: Integrating Approaches to Practice-Led Research in Art and Design. FADA, UJ. International colloquium. Johannesburg.

9-11 April 2008. Alexander Opper. The Physical Relocation of Cultural Memory and the Political Dislocation of History through Architecture; Johannesburg and Megacities Phenomena Conference. Johannesburg.

22-24 August 2007. Alexander Opper. The Physical Relocation of Cultural Memory and the Political Dislocation of History through Architecture. Second International Conference of the Arts in Society. Kassel, Germany.

Talks

Talks, launches & walkabouts:

3 September 2022 (15:00-18:00). Public book signing for Das Bauhaus Verfehlen / Missing the Bauhaus: Alexander Opper & selected authors. FnB Art Joburg, Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg.

9 June 2022 (11:00-13:00). Second public book launch for Das Bauhaus Verfehlen / Missing the Bauhaus: Alexander Opper & co-editor. Gauteng Institue for Architecture (GIfA), Johannesburg.

24 March 2022 (18:00-21:00). First public book launch for Das Bauhaus Verfehlen / Missing the Bauhaus: Alexander Opper, co-editor & selected authors. Breezeblock Café, Brixton, Johannesburg.

17 July 2017 (20h00-22:00). Public lecture (Burning Issues): on the politics of language(s) in the context of #FMF and #RMF discourses in SA (using the artist’s book, Burning Issues, as a critical lens). Iwalewahaus, Bayreuth, Germany.

11, 18 & 25 March 2015 (13h00-13h45). Exhibition walkabouts (Uitval: Unfolded): Three public walkabouts of my solo exhibition at the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS). Johannesburg.

24th April 2014. Public discussion (JAG. A Catalytic Discussion): Alexander Opper, with Antoinette Murdoch and Stephen Hobbs. Public discussion on the future of the Johannesburg Art Gallery (JAG). JAG, Johannesburg.

19 October 2012. Special School Talk (‘Ohne Titel / Untitled – Deutschland: of some terrains …’): Presentation to FADA members of faculty and students, of a week-long research trip (Sept 2012) undertaken to Germany, upon the invitation of the Goethe-Institut’s Visitor’s Programme. UJ. FADA Auditorium. Johannesburg.

8 December 2011. Invited university lecture (‘Hotel Yeoville’): Presentation of the project and exhibition design of Hotel Yeoville. University of Tübingen, Germany.

17 September 2011. Public lecture and tour (of the Goethe-Institut’s Cracking Walls project): for Gauteng school pupils participating in Growth and Development Strategy (GDS) 2040. Goethe-Institut, Johannesburg.

13 September 2011. Public presentation (Enabling Safety through Urban Design and Management): I presented in the context of Growth Development Strategy (GDS) 2040’s Outreach Programme (during the Community Safety Week, from 11-17 Sept). Cosmo City, Johannesburg.

13 July 2011. Invited university lecture (Two-part lecture on ‘Hotel Yeoville’ and ‘Undoing Architecture’): Invited by Dr Kerstin Pinther. Free University, Berlin. Art Historical Institute. Berlin, Germany.

1 July 2011. Invited university lecture (Two-part lecture on ‘Hotel Yeoville’ and ‘Undoing Architecture’): Invited by Dr Ulf Vierke. University of Bayreuth. Iwalewa Haus. Bayreuth, Germany.

19 May 2011. Invited public lecture (The Residual Power of Uitvalgrond): Afternoon Colloquium on Art and Public Space. Organised and hosted by GIfA and Fourthwall Books. Johannesburg

20 April 2010. Invited guest speaker (Creating meaning in architecture and furniture design in a South African context: searching for interdisciplinary lessons between two disciplines ): Invited guest speaker at annual prize-giving of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s (NMMU) School of Architecture. NMMU. Gqeberha (then Port Elizabeth).

7 October 2009. Public presentation (Presentation of the Cracking Walls designs by 3rd year students form the UJ FADA’s Department of Architecture): In the context of the symposium Boundaries: How we define safety in public spaces. Goethe-Institut, Johannesburg.

21 August 2008. Public Talk (Cities Talk): Invited talk with Thorsten Deckler and Henning Rasmuss, on Maputo, New York and Beijing, respectively. At 26’10 south Architects, as a contribution to the ‘Friday Sessions’ (#34), Johannesburg.

3 March 2008. Invited School Talk: Practice presentation, in the context of the Practice Makes Perfect series. WITS School of Architecture & Planning, Johannesburg.

28 September 2007. Public Talk (The Physical Relocation of Cultural Memory and the Political Dislocation of History through Architecture): At 26’10 south Architects, as a contribution to the ‘Friday Sessions’ (#33), Johannesburg.

20 April 2007. School Talk (Design & Process – Process & Design): University of Johannesburg, Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture, Johannesburg. 

2006. School Talks (Design & Process – Process & Design): Two school talks (Universities of Pretoria and Free State (Bloemfontein)), respectively.

Interviews

26 September 2022. Radio interview: by Kofifi FM, on a public art mural executed in Westbury with my 3rd year architecture students from the University of Johannesburg’s Department of Architecture.

31 March 2015. Television interview: by BusinessDay TV (The Business of the Arts), on solo exhibition Uitval: Unfolded, at Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), Johannesburg. The interview was broadcast, in edited form, on BusinessDay TV on 31 March 2015. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgwSivZ3BVQ

 17 November 2013. Television interview: by eNCA, on solo exhibition Separ(n)ation, at Goethe on Main. The interview was broadcast, in edited form, on eNCA on 17 Nov 2013. See: https://youtu.be/4TVWwSX7T6k

16 November 2013. Radio interview: on SAfm’s Art Matters show, on solo exhibition Separ(n)ation, at Goethe on Main.

29 October 2013. Press interview: published as The ins and outs of SA’s Divisive Palisades. Interviewed by
Tymon Smith, for The Sunday Times (published: 13 Nov 2013 – under Opinion & Analysis:19), on solo exhibition Separ(n)ation, at Goethe on Main.

7 June 2011. Press interview: published as Turning the City into a 3-D School. Interviewed by Theresa Taylor, for The Star (published: 9 Jun 2011), on the student project and public exhibition, Re-educating the City.

7 June 2011. Press interview: published as Soft Touches in Concrete. Interviewed by Andrea Nagel, for The Times (published: 9 Jun 2011), on the student project and public exhibition, Re-educating the City.

11 November 2009. Radio interview/discussion: as one of David Gleason’s guests on CLASSIC fM’s The State of the Nation show, on the Cracking Walls project for the Goethe-Institut, Johannesburg, Discussion revolved around notions of safety and security in the context of Johannebsurg’s many physical and mental walls.

4 November 2009. Television interview: by German channel ZDF, on the Cracking Walls project for the Goethe Institut, Johannesburg. Interview revolved around the design process carried out by my 3rd year students at the time – from the University of Johannesburg’s Department of Architecture – that led to the design of the re imagined  landscape around the Goethe-Institut in Parkwood, Johannesburg. The interview was broadcast, in edited form, on German national television (Channel: ‘3Sat’) on 9 Nov 2009.

Collections

Opper’s work is held in private collections and the following public collections:

  • The Johannesburg Art Gallery (JAG
  • The Smithsonian Institute
  • The collection of the Jack Ginsberg Centre for Book Arts
Awards

2022
Aawarded the rare privilege of becoming a fellow of the residency programme of the Ampersand Foundation Fellowship in New York City.  Oppertook up the residency for the month of July.

2016
Awarded an NRF (National Research Foundation) rating as a rated-researcher for the period 2017-2022. Opper recently applied for a re-rating for the upcoming period.

Featured Artwork
  • Alexander Opper

    Printed by master printer Andreas Vlachakis at LIGHTFARM, with Epson Ultrachrome pigment inks on archival Ilford Gold Fibre Gloss (100% Cotton Rag).
    40 x 40cm
    Edition of 7 + 2 AP (Set of 9 photographs)
    2021 

  • Alexander Opper

    Printed by master printer Andreas Vlachakis at LIGHTFARM, with Epson Ultrachrome pigment inks on archival Ilford Gold Fibre Gloss (100% Cotton Rag).
    40 x 40cm
    Edition of 7 + 2 AP (Set of 9 photographs)
    2021 

  • Alexander Opper

    Printed by master printer Andreas Vlachakis at LIGHTFARM, with Epson Ultrachrome pigment inks on archival Ilford Gold Fibre Gloss (100% Cotton Rag).
    40 x 40cm
    Edition of 7 + 2 AP (Set of 9 photographs)
    2021 

  • Alexander Opper

    Printed by master printer Andreas Vlachakis at LIGHTFARM, with Epson Ultrachrome pigment inks on archival Ilford Gold Fibre Gloss (100% Cotton Rag).
    40 x 40cm
    Edition of 7 + 2 AP (Set of 9 photographs)
    2021 

  • Alexander Opper

    Printed by master printer Andreas Vlachakis at LIGHTFARM, with Epson Ultrachrome pigment inks on archival Ilford Gold Fibre Gloss (100% Cotton Rag).
    40 x 40cm
    Edition of 7 + 2 AP (Set of 9 photographs)
    2021 

  • Alexander Opper

    Printed by master printer Andreas Vlachakis at LIGHTFARM, with Epson Ultrachrome pigment inks on archival Ilford Gold Fibre Gloss (100% Cotton Rag).
    40 x 40cm
    Edition of 7 + 2 AP (Set of 9 photographs)
    2021 

  • Alexander Opper

    Printed by master printer Andreas Vlachakis at LIGHTFARM, with Epson Ultrachrome pigment inks on archival Ilford Gold Fibre Gloss (100% Cotton Rag).
    40 x 40cm
    Edition of 7 + 2 AP (Set of 9 photographs)
    2021 

  • Alexander Opper

    Printed by master printer Andreas Vlachakis at LIGHTFARM, with Epson Ultrachrome pigment inks on archival Ilford Gold Fibre Gloss (100% Cotton Rag).
    40 x 40cm
    Edition of 7 + 2 AP (Set of 9 photographs)
    2021 

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