Book mark: Breyten Breytenbach, A Monologue in Two Voices by Sandra Saayman

BB_coverThe poet and painter Breyten Breytenbach was imprisoned in the 70s for high treason. In this exquisitely produced book, Saayman explores a new approach to this multifaceted artist’s work which was defined by his prison experience. Illustrated by quotes as well as the disquieting drawings and paintings from this period, Saayman’s analysis focuses on the key iconographic signs of Breytenbach’s oeuvre: bird, angel, strings and ropes. She remedies its fragmented reception by attempting to “find a way to look and read at the same time”, and invites us to study the web of meanings the visual and the textual mediations on execution, captivity, and fear of death create in context. They take the “reader and spectator beyond the threshold of easy contemplation” as they confront the horrors of imprisonment and the survival strategies of the artist.

"Steve Biko" and "Autoportrait devant le miroir" (both 1990) in Breyten Breytenbach, A Monologue in Two Voices (Fourthwall Books)

“Steve Biko” and “Autoportrait devant le miroir” (both 1990) in Breyten Breytenbach, A Monologue in Two Voices (Fourthwall Books)


An edited version of this book mark was published in the Cape Times on 4 July 2014, p. 12.

Breyten Breytenbach, A Monologue in Two Voices
by Sandra Saayman
Fourthwall Books, 2014

Interested in acquiring a copy of this book? Please take part in my BOOK GIVEAWAY this month and stand a chance of having a copy of Breyten Breytenbach, A Monologue in Two Voices (among others) sent to you. Good luck!

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