Although Albert Adams has had a number of posthumous retrospectives, the current one, entitled Albert Adams — An Invincible Spirit, may just be his most important, especially if timing — straddling Freedom Day, South Africa’s elections and the publishing of his biography — is factored in.
The exhibition, at the Wits Art Museum (WAM) until May 25, is curated by Marilyn Martin and celebrates 90 years of the exiled artist’s birth. It once again encapsulates an oeuvre spanning more than 50 years.
Comprising paintings, drawings and prints, including several key works such as South Africa 1959, from the Johannesburg Art Gallery’s collection, the works highlight the “universal” scope of Adams’s political outlook while speaking to the particular effect of apartheid on South African society.
A particularly pointed image in this regard, which viewers confront quite early on in the exhibition, has to be the charcoal and pastel on paper work, Red Figure (1999).