Kim Gurney by Daleen Nel Hall

Kim Gurney

Next Generation Scholar

Dr Kim Gurney’s expertise spans fine art, urban studies, and journalism/ media discourse. She brings an interdisciplinary academic mix to her research projects, as well as a practice-led perspective as a writer and visual artist, favouring arts-based methods and multimodal narrative form. Kim’s research over the past few years has focused upon ‘offspaces’ as sites of counterfactual imagination and modes of instituting otherwise, from the shared working principles of independent art spaces on the continent to the second lives of a film set, from the invisible curatorial labour of back room archive to the unforeseen trajectories of art in public space. In addition to her work at CHR, Kim has for a decade (to 2022) collaborated as a Research Associate with ACC at the interface between contemporary art and urban dynamics.

Red List: Cape Flats Nature Reserve (2018)
Kim Gurney
95 tags, honeycomb panel, patternmakers putty, shellac
127 x 97 x 5cm (framed)
Collection: Corporate (Cape Town)

Kim has published three books that best represent her research curiosities, with a fourth in the works for 2023. Two are anchored to Johannesburg inner city and its transformations: The Art of Public Space: Curating and Re-imagining the Ephemeral City (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015); & August House is Dead, Long Live August House – The story of a Johannesburg Atelier (Fourthwall, 2017). The first follows a trilogy, New Imaginaries, exploring public space through walking, new media and performance art and posits ideas around common space. The second follows the trajectories of artworks in the making to explore the life of a studio building as a spatial indicator of larger transitions. Panya Routes: Independent art spaces in Africa (Motto, 2022), makes correlations between curatorial strategies and the urban everyday. Flipside – The Inadvertent Archive is currently in production with iwalewabooks (Jhb, Lagos & Bayreuth). It brings to life the previously unexplored institutional archive of one of Cape Town’s oldest arts associations and non-profit galleries.

Kim’s writing is inflected by a former life as a journalist and news editor, and she is widely published in different genres. Recently this range includes books, journals and conferences to an artist book, exhibition production, digital storymaps, a photobook, media articles, and more, as publishing segues into artistic practice. The latter spans studio & exhibitions, curation, and discourse. Her art largely concerns disappearances of different kinds, and makes restorative gestures. Kim also runs ad hoc a nomadic platform guerilla gallery (b.2012) that collaborates in unlikely spaces; in 2023, it inhabits The Shed – a tiny space for big ideas.

Red List: Cape Flats Nature Reserve (2018) Kim Gurney 95 tags, honeycomb panel, patternmakers putty, shellac 127 x 97 x 5cm (framed) Collection: Corporate (Cape Town)

Related News

Flipside: The inadvertent Archive, by Kim Gurney

Architectural plans of a former house inspire the narrative structure of a new book by Kim Gurney, called Flipside: The inadvertent Archive, which takes the reader on a thematic journey from room to room as it follows the trail of specific archival artefacts lodged in the building’s attic.

Publication announcement: Dr Kim Gurney, ‘Epistemic Disobedience’.

Institution-building as artistic practice is the topic of a paper published by the CHR’s Dr Kim Gurney, as part of artistic research conference proceedings. ‘Epistemic Disobedience’ posits Nafasi Art Space in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, as a paradigmatic example of independent art spaces in Africa and their key working principles.

New Publication: Into the Megatext

The CHR’s Dr Kim Gurney has contributed a chapter to a comprehensive book about the oeuvre of Bruce Arnott (1938-2018) – artist, academic and former director of The Michaelis School of Fine Art at UCT.

Flipside: The Inadvertent Archive

The South African Contemporary History and Humanities Seminar is pleased to announce that Kim Gurney will be presenting “Flipside: The Inadvertent Archive” on 22 June 2021 at 14:00.

List of Articles (2016-present)

Staff and Fellows of the Centre for Humanities Research regularly publish articles and reviews in local and international journals, applying the centre’s intellectual inquiries across a wide range of disciplines and interests.

Mayday – Decolonisation: power and the public space

CHR Next Generation Fellow Kim Gurney was interviewed for a podcast by Bozar Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels, on the topic of decolonisation and the public space.

Sets & Devices

Dr Kim Gurney, Next Generation scholar at the CHR, has created a limited edition photobook about life in the artisanal workshop of Sets & Devices in Salt River, Cape Town.

Green Screen

Green Screen, a newly launched work of creative nonfiction, follows the life of a film set created for a commercial by a team of artisans in Salt River, Cape Town, and how it morphs into a surprising series of second lives. The reader navigates this digital storymap online through a series of geolocations, visuals and text, authored by Kim Gurney and published by CHR.

Art, public space, and cities of the South

Cities in Development: Between Dystopia and Utopia

Seminar: Okechukwu Nwafor

Funeral Poster and Pre-Funeral Visual Economy in southeastern Nigeria

From platform to plotform: Artistic thinking in spaces of flux

This session shares work in progress on an African Centre for Cities (ACC) research project led by Kim Gurney called Platform/ Plotform to help forward future work and interdisciplinary outputs

Seminar: Willemien Froneman

Nico Carstens, Disavowal, and the Perverted Mind of Apartheid

Africa as Concept and Method: Emancipation, Decolonization, Freedom

The Consortium of Humanities Centres and Institutes (CHCI) Africa Workshop 2019 was hosted in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with scholars from the CHR attending.

Re-Imagining as Destruction and Creation

Next Generation Scholar Kim Gurney to speak at Norval Foundation Symposium

Public Art Agency Sweden

Next Generation Scholar Kim Gurney to give opening talk