26 January – 26 March 2023
‘The sun comes up like a big bald head’. Laurie Anderson’s charmingly simple line sets the tone for a show brimming with gentle optimism. In the southern hemisphere it is summer, Johannesburg is hard at work, with a zest not only for money, but life. This is often forgotten – that the will and drive that defines the city also defines its boundless generosity, keen attention to others, readiness to overcome each and every obstacle – to succeed. This is the mantra of Graham Contemporary, a dealership that has tapped the zeitgeist – why art matters now, in an otherwise cynical arena. SUNNY SIDE UP defines this energy field. The art is uplifting, though never glib. Riotous, though never nasty. Splendid, though never arrogant. A sunbeam or fragile state are equally promising, because, after Nietzsche, SUNNY SIDE UP aspires to thrive in a permanent midday, or high noon, in which an African light strips away all shadow, where ghosts no longer prowl and all is wholly minted anew. The sun is perpetually inspiring, always novel. Art which draws from its energy is the greater balm.