Museum Saturday THE JOHANNESBURG STATION PANELS – A revisit by artist and photographer Monique Pelser
Monique Pelser is a South African photographic artist and performative researcher. She traveled the country to search for the landscapes depicted in the Johannesburg Station Panels.
In the early 1930’s J.H Pierneef – the most influential and prominent historical South African landscape painter – was commissioned by the railway services to travel South Africa and paint select sites reached by the capillary railways. Famously known as the Johannesburg Station Panels, these paintings depict scenes of mining, industry, seaside villages and sprawling uninhibited landscapes. The panels, which were exhibited in the concourse of the Johannesburg Railway Station until the abolishment of the apartheid government in the 1990’s, were intended to create the effect that the station was the gateway to a glorious and unknown landscape.
Pierneef spent days in the various sites making watercolour sketches and gathering visual data. He would then go back into his studio and construct an ideally composed painting. These photographic studies form part of a larger process of tracing, pinpointing the perspectives and photographing the iconic landscapes.
In addition to the photographic prints there are digital screens documenting studies of how the camera responds to the shifting light. These works are new photographic studies made in response to the process Pierneef went through making observational sketches of the site and the surrounding environment.
Subscribe to our Youtube Channel to watch Monique Pelser give a live demonstration of her cloud making technique in response to J.H Pierneefs infamous clouds, she will then discuss her journey and experience of searching for the Johannesburg Station Panels and her creative response to this.