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Jane Alexander


Born in Johannesburg, 1959. Lives and works in Cape Town.
Jane Alexander trained as a sculptor at the University of the Witwatersrand in the eighties. The turbulent political context of that time has led many commentators to read a clear political message in her sculptures and photomontages (she has always practised both disciplines simultaneously). This is particularly the case of Butcher Boys (1985-6), which has become an icon of the South African art of that period. These readings are commonplace but tend to ignore the fact that very rarely does the artist use direct political imagery in her work. Much of Alexander’s imagery derives from the landscapes, individuals and situations around her. A recent development in Alexander’s production is foreshadowed by a technique consolidated in her photomontage work. This is the reuse of sculptural elements in new installations or subtle changes in existing works. The new decade has seen the artist resist the production (and institutionalization) of her sculptures as individual, unitary and fixed works. Like her photomontages, they have become elements that can be incorporated into new installations and provoke a completely different response by creating a new system of relationships between the different elements.

Source: Lamprecht, Andrew. (2004). 10 Years 100 Artists. Art in a Democratic South Africa. (Cape Town: Sophie Perryer. Bell-Roberts)

Update: 17 June 2020


Has participated in

Local Racism, Global Apartheid

South Africa as a paradigm

South Africa: Divided Cities

Urban Space, Art and Citizenship after Apartheid


The South African mirror