Research Career

Boshoff’s A2 NRF Rating a First for South African Art

Internationally acclaimed conceptual artist, academic and educator, Willem Boshoff, was awarded an A2 rating by the National Research Council of South Africa earlier this year. This achievement marks the very first time that an A rating has been bestowed upon any South African artist. Boshoff’s A rating is welcomed by the South African visual arts fraternity.

Working in a constantly changing South Africa for the past four decades, Boshoff believes in the objectivity and the discipline of the artistic process. He has responded to a South African society in flux, including a multiplicity of voices protesting disempowerment in an equally multiplicity of languages.

The wide-ranging inter-disciplinary research processes characteristic of his major works, such as several ongoing sculptural installations, the compilation of several dictionaries of rare words and an ever-expanding personal digital archive (donated to University of the Free State) serves the academic community as continued investigation, questioning and inter-disciplinary knowledge making. Some of Boshoff’s dictionaries are published and others are designed as sculptural installations, making them accessible to audiences most often excluded from formal art galleries and academic discourse, such as the ongoing work, the Blind Alphabet a work in progress since 1990.

His research interests include lexicography, botany, medieval and early music, avant garde music, ethnic music and philosophy. His conceptual art engages with language systems, often subverting the traditional institution of the gallery to empower disenfranchised social groups, such as the blind or minority groups.

Over the past two decades Willem Boshoff has made a major contribution to tertiary Fine Arts education as evaluator of mostly MA and PhD degree candidates at the major Fine Arts faculties in South Africa. These have included Michaelis School of Fine Art at the University of Cape Town, the Fine Arts Departments of the Universities of Pretoria, Rhodes, the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, Stellenbosch and the Free State.

Hélène Smuts

Arts writer and curator

Watch the video below where Professor Kim Berman discusses WiIlem Boshoff's NRF rating