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Wilden: Simon Gush

  • Wolf Kino 59 Weserstraße Berlin, Berlin, 12045 Germany (map)

Simon Gush is an artist and film maker who lives in Johannesburg, South Africa. His artworks and essay films explore images of labor, work ethic, work rhythms that have shaped Johannesburg. Wolf is very happy to welcome Simon, who will present a selection of his film works.


Iseeyou, references the telegraphic address of the first non-racial trade union in South Africa, ICU (Industrial and Commercial workers Union). The film is a meditation of the relationship of visibility and work. Exploring public monuments to work and workers in Johannesburg, it looks at how these have been celebrated in apartheid and post-apartheid South Africa through public art. The film suggests that this celebration is a way in which the conditions of work is linked to the the promotion of a work ethic.

Calvin and Holiday

The film Calvin and Holiday, documents a trip to Geneva in search of Jean Calvin. Calvin’s ideas about work have been some of the most influential in the western world. His teachings were brought to South Africa by various colonisers, in particular the French Huguenots, and became the basis of the religious backbone of Apartheid, the NG Kerk. Interpreted through the racialized lens of Afrikaner nationalism, Calvinism may be seen to be lurking behind the systemic abuse of labour by the regime, with organisation and distribution of labour being one the chief concerns of the government. The film is a search for the presence of Calvin in Geneva as a way of thinking about South Africa. This is done while the artist is on holiday; a time of non-work.

Without light

Without Light, explores the links between work and light, electric and natural. Shot from the window of Gush’s home after-hours, the video looks at the way in which work and labour linger with us even after our jobs have ended.


In 1998, South Africa invaded Lesotho in order to prop up a discredited government. At the time, the South African government spoke about the intervention but it seems that the real motivation for the invasion was the continued flow of water from the Lesotho Highlands to the Vaal dam. The film Invasion is a re-enactment of an eye witness account of South Africa’s invasion of Lesotho and the bombardment of the Katse Dam military base.

Simon Gush is an artist and filmmaker living in Johannesburg. His research looks at the relationship between work, work-ethic and subjectivity from the perspective of Southern Africa. Exploring the place of work within contemporary society as well as the histories of resistance, strikes and migration. Gush was the Tierney Fellow for Photography, University of the Witwatersrand (2016/7); a fellow at Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts, University of Cape Town (2011); and a laureate of Hoger Instituut van Schone Kunsten in Ghent, Belgium (2007/8). He completed an MA (Sociology) at the University of the Witwatersrand (2019).

Solo shows include Al final del trabajo, Ex Teresa Arte Actual, Mexico City (2018), After Work at Galerie Jette Rudolph in Berlin (2015); 9 o'clock at the National Arts Festival, Grahamstown (2015); Red at the Goethe-Institut, Johannesburg (2014) and at Anne Bryant Art Gallery in East London and ArtEC in Port Elizabeth (2015); 1st and 3rd at Galerie West, The Hague, and 4 for Four at S.M.A.K., Ghent (both 2010); in addition to six solo exhibitions at Stevenson, Cape Town and Johannesburg, between 2007 and 2019. He has exited extensively including the Biennale für aktuelle Fotografie, Kunstverein Ludwigshafen (2017); the biennales of Dakar (2016); Bamako (2015/17) and Montevideo (2014). Group shows include African Mētrópolis. An Imaginary city, Maxxi, Rome (2018), Meditations on Place: Four Perspectives; Four African Cities, Cleveland Museum of Art (2018), Recent Histories - New African Photography and Video Art, The Walther Collection, Neu-Ulm and Afriques Capitales, La Villette, Paris. His films have been shown at the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC (2018); Institute for Contemporary Arts, London (2017), Tate Modern, London (2015); Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2015) and in a number of film festivals locally and internationally.

Wilden is an open and accessible platform for new discoveries. A place where you can jump in despite any previous knowledge of experimental cinema in its many forms.