Sunday Independent, 26 October 1997 (extract)
It's improved but the Biennale still beats an uneven path to the soul
By Julia Teale
By all accounts the 2nd Johannesburg Biennale has been a curious beast. Shaped by the curatorial acumen of Nigerian curator-at-large Okwui Enwezor, it has been smaller, stealthier and more sophisticated than its shambling predecessor.
The thematic logic of the show (Trade Routes: History and Geography) pushed the exhibition beyond the perimeters of Johannesburg into those two bastions of colonial history-in-crisis, the Castle of Good Hope and the South African National Gallery. The two exhibitions in these institutions, respectively curated by Colin Richards (South African) and Kellie Jones (American), are by turns exciting and dispiriting. ...
[Colin Richards elegantly frames] the show within the idea of "graft" (as metaphor for hybridisation of one kind or another, bodily labour and illicit activity), ostensibly presented as a lens through which to view "some of the ways in which [South African] artists are figuring cultural contact and exchange in this historical moment".
This idea is perhaps most compellingly activated in Alan Alborough's weirdly sublime, intricately calculated ensemble of elephant ears and melancholy, upturned feet. ...
The mystery and grandeur of a work such as Alborough's succeeds in eliciting curiosity, and has a profound sense that the eye has its own intelligence.