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Diane Veronique Victor  (1964) Biography and Exhibitions

Diane Victor was born 1964 in Witbank, South Africa. She received her BA Fine Arts Degree from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, in 1986.


Awards and Merits

2012 KykNET Fiesta award. Beste prestasie in visuele kuns vir Innibos Feeskunstenaar & KKNK Uitstallings.
2011 Festival artist – Innibos arts festival Nelspruit.
2011 Herrie Kanna award at ABSA KKNK.
2010 CCP printmaking residency Connecticut, USA.
2009 Festival artist Aardklop, Potchestroom.
2006 Statutory award of MTG – Krakow Print Triennial. Krakow Poland.
2006 Finalist of the SASOL wax in Art Award.
2005 Gold Medal Award for Visual Art – SA Academy of Arts and Sciences.
2002 WAM Sasol Wax Award winner.
2000 Windsor and Newton Millennium competition – Finalist.
1999 Vermont Studio center residency Vermont, USA.
1998 UNESCO residency Vienna Austria.
1997 Fellowship to the Ampersand Foundation, New York/ Johannesburg, USA/South Africa
1997 Joint second place, Kempton Park Art Competition, Johannesburg, South Africa
1995 Civic Theatre Commission, Johannesburg, South Africa
1989 Financial Mail/J & B Rare Achievers Award for Art, Johannesburg,South Africa
1988 Volkskas Atelier Award, winner, Johannesburt, South Africa
1987 Reeves Award, Rolfeâ“™s Graphics Prize
1987 Corona del Mar Young Artist Award, joint second prize, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa
1986 SASOL New Signatures Competition, winner, SA Arts Association, Pretoria, South Africa
1986 Gunther van der Reis prize for Graphics, New Signatures Competition, S A Arts Association, Pretoria, South Africa
1986 Martienessen Prize, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
1986 Merit Student, Graphics IV, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
1985 Anya Millman Scholarship for travel in Europe, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
1985 Student Prize, NSA Paper Works exhibition, Durban, South Africa
1985 Merit Student, Graphics II, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa



South Africa:
Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
Pretoria Art Museum, Pretoria, South Africa
Durban Art Museum, Durban, South Africa
Tatham Gallery, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
Gauteng Legislature. Johannesburg, South Africa
Gertrude Posel Gallery, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Johannes Stegeman Gallery, University of the Orange Free State, Orange Free State, South Africa
Natal Technikon, Durban, South Africa
University of Pretoria, Pretorian, South Africa
Pretoria Technikon, Pretorian, South Africa
Billiton, Johannesburg, South Africa
Santam Bank Collection, Cape Town, South Africa
Sasol Collection, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Volkskas Bank Collection, Johannesburg, South Africa
Bundeskanzleramt, Vienna, Austria


Solo Exhibitions

2013 No Country for Old Women Absa KKNK Oudtshoorn Festival artist.
2013 Benefit Auction Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg.
2013 Tom Waits for No Man show, curated by Gordon Froud, travelling exhibition.
2012 Ashes to Ashes and Smoke to Dust, University of Johannesburg (UJ) Art Gallery.
2012 Recent work, David Krut Projects, New York, USA.
2012 University of Pretoria staff exhibition AULA, University of Pretoria.
2012 This Place /displace, The George Bizos Foundation Benefit Auction, UJ Gallery, Johannesburg.
2011 Fables and Folly, Faulconer Gallery, Grinnell College, Iowa, USA.
2011 Contemporary prints from South Africa Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), New York, USA.
2011 The butcher, the undertaker and the dealer, Absa KKNKOudtshoorn.
2011 Artists book show KKNK Sasol
2011 Brief lives, at halls abattoir Innibos Nelspruit civic center Festival artist.
2011 Collateral: printmaking as social commentary, Gus Fisher Gallery, University of Auckland, New Zealand.
2010 Transcend,Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg.
2010 Transgressing the page book art show, Potchefstroom University.
2010 Out of [south] Africa, printmaking show, Highpoint center for printmaking, Minneapolis, USA.
2010 Center for contemporary print residency exhibit CCP, Connecticut, USA.
2010 Smoke Screen: Fraility and Failing, David Krut Projects, Chelsea, New York, USA.
2010 Peek a boo, contemporary art from South Africa, Helsinki, Finland.
2010 1EEB4 international experimental engraving biennale, Romania.
2010 2010 Soccer World Cup exhibition, UNISA gallery, Pretoria.
2009 Woordfees Stellenbosh
2009 Art and Violence, SPIER, Stellenbosh.
2009 New work Fried contemporary, Pretoria.
2009 Lesotho, S.A High commission, Maseru, Lesotho.

“My interest in image making is linked to my interest as observer, as voyeur. Through the media of drawing and printmaking in which I normally work, I explore ways to exorcise the mass of images that build up in memory/minds eye. To ‘draw out’ these figures allows me to re-confront them in my own terms/territory. The physical and psychological interactions between people and the damage that these interactions invite is interesting to me, the surface of the human body acting as a recording device of the history/s of its owner. Flesh as document of desires and weaknesses.”

Victor’s work uses the figure, often her own self-portrait, to create complex narratives relating to contemporary South Africa and to the more global crisis of war, corruption and violence in both the public, political and in private life. According to Virginia Mackenny, Victor’s work challenges the viewer “to scour her heavily packed images, densely rich in individual detail, to discover their levels of irony and action. Singularly devoid of any classicising hope of order, these images recall Breugal or Bosch in their pessimistic view of the world and the heaping of one folly on top of another”. Victor depicts reality fraught with injustice, revealing the complexity of contemporary existence. Her “ability to present her themes and subjects in a manner that all but forces our identification with them ejects us out of our complacent stupors, whether we wish it or not.”

In her portfolio of prints, Birth of a Nation (2009), published by David Krut Projects, Victor explores the history of colonial engagement in Africa in the context of contemporary corruption and imperialism. She uses historical and mythological references as a platform to insert South African narratives, fusing a recognisable storyline with new characters and South African subjects.

In Disasters of Peace, Victor directly references Francisco de Goya’s Disasters of War. In this series, Victor evokes Goya’s criticism of the atrocities of war while demonstrating the continuation of violence after war, and in the case of South Africa, after the end of apartheid. Highlighting overlooked and everyday violence, this series draws attention to this contemporary desensitised gaze or tolerance of violence. To Victor: “The images I am working with are taken from our daily media coverage of recent and almost commonplace happenings in newspapers, on TV and on radio of social and criminal acts of violence and ongoing unnecessary deaths – occurrences so frequent that they no longer raise an outcry from our public, yet they still constitute disaster in peacetime.”


Smoke drawings
Victor’s smoke portraits explore subjects often overlooked, for example South African prisoners awaiting trial and missing children. These portraits capture individuals caught in a vulnerable moment, an idea reinforced through the impermanent nature of the medium used. Victor uses drawing media to capture both the subject’s portrait and vulnerable condition that is somehow in-between presence and absence. Victor is attracted to the direct correlation between the fragility of human life and the susceptibility of the physical image. For Victor, “the portraits are made with the deposits of carbon from candle smoke on white paper. They are exceedingly fragile and can be easily damaged, disintegrating with physical contact as the carbon soot is dislodged from the paper. I was interested in the extremely fragile nature of these human lives and of all human life, attempting to translate this fragility into portraits made from a medium as impermanent as smoke itself.

From 1990 to the present, Victor has lectured part-time, teaching drawing and printmaking at various South African institutions including the University of Pretoria, Wits Technikon, Pretoria Technikon, Open Window Academy, Vaal Triangle Technikon, the University of the Witwatersrand, Rhodes University and the University of Johannesburg.

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