Cuss Group is a collective of artists based in Johannesburg. The group was founded by Ravi Govender, Jamal Nxedlana as well as Zamani Xolo and has over time extended its members to include Lex Trickett and Bogosi Sekhukhuni. The projects that the group undertakes are often collaborative, stretching across a range of disciplines. When CUSS was founded in 2011 the group’s collective intentions were a lot different to where they are now. A number of important shifts in creative direction move from creating a mere “lookbook” to working far more elaborately, in a sense-formalizing CUSS as an artist group. This shift included a move towards the creation of web television still however with a heavy focus on the cultural mapping of the country that was initially achieved through online publications.
Toward the end of 2011 CUSS Groups participation in the commercial gallery scene in South Africa started to take flight. Inclusion in a number of contemporary group shows through the Goodman Gallery as well as the Stevenson Gallery saw the group reach an audience outside of the one that their website gave them access too, this however came with its own set of drawbacks. The general lack of attention toward digital art within this new environment provided new challenges for the group and this resulted in the need to address these problems.
By 2013 the group created its own initiative to help grow and promote the culture of video art in South Africa, this ongoing project was simply titled “Video Party”. The Group took it upon themselves to see that the curatorial practice, one that they believed was not focused on enough in South Africa, was a further expression of the work on show. The simplicity of the event was something CUSS considered to be one of it strengths as well as the fact that it was a moving exhibition as one venue never played host to more than one intervention, thus making each installment different to the next.
By the end of 2013 the initiative had produced three interventions, resulted in a first solo show commissioned by the Goethe Institute South Africa, and the group where invited to partake in their first overseas show, that being in Paris, France at La Gaite Lyrique. In 2014 these modes further extended to a ProHelvetia funded intervention on the fringes of Harare Festival of Art as well as the inclusion in the highly acclaimed group show “Private Settings: Art After the Internet” which took place at the Modern Museum of Art, Warsaw.
The direction of CUSS Group is still in a constant state of development and perhaps the shared vision of wanting to broadcast issues from their perspective in context to their surroundings has and always will be a reason to produce.
Artwork: Coming Soon (Change Initiated)
Coming Soon (Change Initiated) is a cross section of a number of elements prevalent in new Johannesburg urban regeneration. Trends that have appeared within youth culture as well as inner city property developments. The vacuousness of language and the change that is being contrived.
Stock trend creates less room to breath within this world class African city, removing the chance of a unique voice being forged. Lifestyle, repackaged and sold back to people repeating the same colonial cycles mined previously. The city as a blank canvas, urban cliches, redundant renewal, all features of these flagship precincts.
We rented it once and we’ll soon be able to rent it again.