UJ Art Gallery hosts exhibition by Majak Bredell


The Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture at the University of Johannesburg is hosting an exhibition of work by Majak Bredell titled CODEX MAGDALENE, which runs until September 7.

Mary Magdalene attracted many and varied interpretations, ecclesiastic projections and pronouncements on women, the female body, sin, repentance and redemption.

Bredell strips her figure of the layers of meaning that have been attached to her through the course of two millennia, while simultaneously replacing some layers or adding other meanings to create a quilt of many diverse and even contradictory patches.

“I view Mary Magdalene as a hybrid figure who belongs to both Christianity and to the deeper layers of the pagan past. My interest in, and research into, the marginalised – represented by the goddess, the witch, and the female body – are all brought to bear on my exploration and re-interpretations of this enigmatic woman. As I separate out the many layers of thought that have shrouded Mary Magdalene, I find that she cannot be pinned down and that her figure remains ever-changing,” says the artist.


Christened Maria Magdalena, Bredell would only be reminded of her name when submitting a passport application or tax return, yet she always had a particular fascination and fondness for her namesake, “this much maligned character from religion, legend, and art,” as she calls her.

After reading Susan Haskin’s Mary Magdalene: Myth and metaphor in 1996, she began keeping notebooks on all things Magdalene. Included in this exhibition is the transcription of many of these notes and ideas, comprising over a hundred single folios, entitled CODEX MAGDALENE.

A further section named MONUMENTS MAGDALENE comprises larger works, both older and new. Incorporated in these are several artist’s books, both symbolic and autobiographical.

Exhibition catalogues will be available and two walkabouts will be hosted by the artist, on Saturday, August 13 at 10.30 am and Wednesday, September 7 at 1 pm. Please book with titusr@uj.ac.za

The gallery, which is on the APK Campus, corner of Kingsway and University Roads, Auckland Park, is open from 9 am to 4 pm Monday to Friday. Inquiries: 011 559 2099 or email aedempsey@uj.ac.za




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