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Generations under racial microscope

By Edward Tsumele | 2012-01-16 07:20:11.0

THE television soapie Generations has been part of the nation's TV viewing for years now..

Mainly dealing with urban black people's lives, it has never crossed the minds of many that this soapie actually excludes white people as actors.

The reason seems to be that the soapie uses characters who use a plethora of African languages, so white people, most of whom cannot speak any of the local languages, are excluded out of necessity.

Now comes the Extra! exhibition of Candice Breitz, pictured, which zooms in on the issue of race representation and white exclusion.

The first comprehensive survey exhibition of the artist's work to be presented in South Africa is presented by Standard Bank, the Goethe-Institut and Goodman Gallery, and runs at the Standard Bank Gallery from February 8 until April 5.

In Extra, Breitz inserts herself into a number of actual scenes from Generations, sometimes subtly, sometimes awkwardly and absurdly, but always without judgement or easy explanation.

She resonates as a conspicuously white presence among an otherwise black cast.

The resulting images are simultaneously thought-provoking and uncomfortably amusing -- raising questions about what it might mean to be white in the new South Africa, without offering easy answers.

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