Notes on Shopping

Joanne discusses her work for the exhibition ‘Category Error 2’ which explores the Jewish migration from Lithuania at the turn of the last century, her grandfather’s shop and shopping generally.

‘From a needle to an anchor ‘ and ‘Oupa’s Treasures 1 and 2’ take as their starting point my grandfather’s general dealership, Blochs of Koffiefontein.

The installation presents one possible version of a general dealers shop, made entirely from collected toy and mini versions of the range of products likely to be sold in such a shop, with a few anachronistic liberties thrown in for good measure, and a nod to my granny’s toyshop in Germiston via Verna’ Jooste’s retro toy collection. On another level, the work speaks to questions raised by consumerist culture: What do we consider as valuable?

What is generally thought of as trashy and throwaway? Is there a way of subverting these categories and turning rubbish into treasure?

Four other works, namely ‘After Meyerowitz: Old Moses’ and ‘Forgotten Story 1, 2 and 3’, speak more generally of the Jewish migration from Lithuania to the perceived land of opportunities, South Africa, at around the turn of the last century.

In these works I speculate on issues relating to luck both good and bad – the dream of material plenty pursued by the smouses and shopkeepers of my grandfather’s generation versus the impending Holocaust and the brutal murder of the family members they left behind.

Read more about Oupa’s Shop and other related shopping stories.