Randolph Hartzenberg is a Cape Town-based artist who works with painting, printmaking, installation, video and performance.

Through his paintings, installations and performances, Hartzenberg produces works that are as emphatic in their physicality as they are cerebral in content.

Hartzenberg was originally trained as an art teacher, with a Certificate Art Teaching from Hewat Training College in 1966 and a Higher Diploma Drama in Education from the University of Cape Town in 1989, educating has been a huge part of his professional life. He taught art at Alexander Sinton High School in Athlone and later lectured in design at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology for several years.

In 1989 he completed a Bachelors of Fine Arts, and in 1994 a Masters in Fine Art, both at the University of Cape Town.

According to Mario Pissarra he describes Hartzenberg’s earlier work, the Domestic Baggage series, the demonstration of his interest in commonplace, everyday objects, which are often imbued with hints of their metaphorical potential. Pissarra further explains that the function of a box as a place to store things of value comes into play, the container that elucidates the nature of power as defined by access to and control of resources. This is not only with objects but to the human and who in the society is able to ‘get these things.’ Who has the resources to access the capitalist society? The box is also an association or analogy for being put into one as a human, a category, race or class. We are put in boxes. In this light there is a critique of ‘dominant taxonomies’, which are seemingly all powerful and imbedded with a sense of secuirty for those who embrace them, however in reality and especially in the context of South Africa, most people are excluded.

Hartzenberg has exhibited nationally and internationally since 1968, as well being published in numerous catalogues and books More recently in 2012 he produced the site-specific performance ‘Three Days’ for the Making Way exhibition at Fort Selwyn in Grahamstown. He discussed this work in a public lecture at the Arts Lounge organized by the ViPAA team as part of the National Arts Festival. In the 2013 version of Making Way at the Standard Bank Gallery in Johannesburg, his photographic and video work was featured alongside other notable contemporary South African artists.

Randolph Hartzenberg takes each project, regardless of the medium with a new point of departure and carefully considers the possibilities of the concept and the materiality and the form the work should take.  Often the solution is quite demanding, however he aims at satisfying himself and the viewer on many levels.

I hope that the work acts as a catalyst for questioning by the viewer, and for further engagement with the material, with the object, with the reasons for the object existing, with the processes that initiated the concept and also those involved in the making of the pieces. - Randolph Hartzenberg

Randolph Hartzenberg, "Three Days" Performance, National Arts Festival, 2012 from Ruth Simbao on Vimeo.


2003: Breadline/Waterline, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
2000: Breadline/Waterline, Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa.
1995: Commissioned participation in Malcolm Payne’s installation for the Venice Biennale, Italy.


South African National Gallery, Cape Town; The Centre for African Studies, University of Cape Town; The University of the Witswatersrand, Johannesburg; Vodacom, Cape Town; The Block Gallery, Northwestern University, Chicago, USA; and Norad, Oslo, Norway.

Solo Exhibitions
2008: Prints, Association for Visual Arts, Cape Town.
1996: Map of the Neighbourhood, Metropolitan Life Gallery, Cape Town.
1994: Domestic Baggage, Centre for African Studies, University of Cape Town, Cape Town.

Group shows
2013:  Making Way, Curated by Ruth Simbao, Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg
2012:  Making Way, Curated by Ruth Simbao, Grahamstown Art Festival
2009: Dada South, IZIKO South African National Gallery, Cape Town.
2007: africa south, Curated by Mario Pissarra, Association for Visual Arts, Cape Town.
2007: ReCenter, Curated by Mario Pissarra, Look-out Hill, Khayelitsha, Cape Town.
2006: Facing the Past: Seeking the Future — Reflections on a Decade of Truth and Reconciliations Commission, Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town.
2006: Amajita in Conversation, Curated by Thembinkosi Goniwe, Association for Visual Arts, Cape Town.
2005: Botaki 3, Curated by Mario Pissarra, Old Mutual Asset Managers, Pinelands, Cape Town.
2004: Botaki, Curated by Mario Pissarra, Old Mutual Asset Managers, Pinelands, Cape Town
2003: Kwere Kwere: Journeys into Strangeness, Arti et Amicitiae, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
2002: Outdoor Sculpture Biennial, Spier, Stellenbosch.
2001: Telling Tales, 3rd I Gallery, Cape Town.
2001: Homeport, V & A Waterfront, Cape Town.
2000: Kwere Kwere: Journeys into Strangeness, Curated by Rory Bester, Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town.
1999: Staking Claims, Curated by Emma Bedford, The Granary, Cape Town
1999: Dialogue, Arhus, Denmark.
1998: !Xoe Site Specific, Nieu Bethesda.
1998: 30 Minutes, Robben Island Prison Complex, Robben Island.
1997: Hong Kong, etc., Curated by Hou Hanru, Johannesburg Biennale, Johannesburg.
1997: District Six Sculpture Project, Cape Town.
1997: Cyst: Works in Paint, Curated by Claire Menck, Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town and Sandton Civic Gallery, Johannesburg.
1996: Hardground Printmakers in collaboration with Stellenbosch University Gallery curated by Jonathan Comerford
1996: Faultlines, Curated by Jane Taylor, Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town.
1995: Transitions, Bath Festival, UK and Belfast, Northern Ireland.
1995: Siyawela: Love, Loss and Liberation in South African Art, Curated by Colin Richards, Birmingham City Museum and Art Gallery, UK.
1995: Venice Biennale (participant in work by Malcolm Payne), Venice, Italy.
1994: Displacements, Curated by Jane Taylor and David Bunn, Northwestern University, Chicago, USA.
1978-1979: Response To The Detentions, Curated by Dimitri Nicholas-Fanourakis, Space Theatre Gallery Bloem Street, Cape Town
1968: Artcom, Argus Gallery, St Georges Street, Cape Town

Collections in the Archives