11th April 2024

S04 E06: ‘The Biennale’ with Clive Kellner and Ame Bell

Art conversations in South Africa

In this conversation Anthea and Nkgopoleng discuss the Venice Biennale with Ame Bell and Clive Kellner and its significance in the art world. Ame emphasises the broad scope and experience of Clive in covering various biennales, with a focus on the Eurocentric nature of the Venice Biennale. Ame raises questions about the accessibility of such exhibitions, pondering who gets to go to Venice to view these events. Nkgopoleng expresses interest in exploring the meaningful contributions and limitations of biennales to both local and global contexts. Ame reflects on the impact of the Venice Biennale, highlighting its significance in showcasing artists on a global stage, but also noting differences in the application processes among countries. Overall, the conversation delves into the advantages and limits of large-scale exhibitions like the Venice Biennale, touching on issues of representation and accessibility in the art world.

Biographies

Clive Kellner

Clive Kellner is the Executive Director of the Joburg Contemporary Art Foundation with a career spanning 25 years, with experience mainly in the art, media and literary industry. From launching new platforms to being part of our country’s art history since South Africa’s democracy in 1994. 

Clive Kellner is the Executive Director of the Joburg Contemporary Art Foundation (JCAF). He was Chief Curator of the Johannesburg Art Gallery, JAG (2004-2009) Coordinator of the 2nd Johannesburg Biennale (1997), co-founder of the pan African platform Camouflage and was editor-in-chief of Coartnews journal (1999-2002). His curated exhibitions include: Kahlo, Sher-Gil, Stern: Modernist Identities in the Global South JCAF (2022) Contemporary Female Identities in the Global South, JCAF (2020) Yinka Shonibare, Camouflage (2001) and Videobrasil: Mostra Africana De Arte Contemporanea (2000). He also organised Africa Remix: Contemporary Art of a Continent, JAG (2007). 

Ame Bell | Bio 

Ame Bell is an arts professional, art historian and artist living in Johannesburg.

Ame Bell (b. 1988) is an arts professional, art historian and artist living in Johannesburg. In 2023, Bell  celebrated 10 years at David Krut Projects where she is the director.  As the director, Bell is responsible for all projects and operations regarding galleries and art fair exhibition programmes, local and international sales, initiating projects in the print workshop and the direction of all gallery and bookstore staff in administration, sales, communications, framing and venue projects. She operates across all locations and is based between all project spaces in South Africa with occasional visits to New York. Bell has a special interest in mentoring  young creatives and artists who aspire to having long-term careers in the arts. 

Bell has curated over 100 exhibitions locally and internationally. Her curatorial practice is aimed not only towards translating processes and creating a dialogue around the experience of works and exhibitions, but also at establishing and communicating the histories of artists, their works and their collaborations, which often include a multitude of voices. “My exhibition-making process is aimed at storytelling that connects an audience with the artist and their ideas, as well as the overall input of their collaborators who have played a part in the creative process.” In 2022, Bell was appointed as the curator for the South African Pavilion at La Biennale Arte in Venice, showing the works of Phumulani Ntuli, Lebohang Kganye and Roger Ballen. In 2023, she received  the North West University Alumni Excellence Award for Arts and Culture, which is awarded to career professionals who have excelled in their field. 

Bell holds a Masters Degree in Art History from the North West University in Potchefstroom and is currently a PhD scholar in Art History at the University of the Witwatersrand focussing on Independent artists in Johannesburg and their expansion into the digital space. Bell has independently co-founded the Chopped Liver Appreciation Society which is a podcast platform dedicated to promoting creatives in their various forms, and she is an active member of the South African print collective The Printing Girls. 

INSTAGRAM: _amebell_

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