Deon Liebenberg


Deon Liebenberg completed a BA in Fine Arts at UCT and a MTech in Architectural Technology at CPUT. He taught for many years in the Design Department at CPUT, and did a number of spells as visiting lecturer at the Fine Arts Department of Stellenbosch University. He has published articles in the fields of architecture, history of art, art theory, cultural history, folkloristics, mythology, and anthropology. He is also a painter who has had a number of solo exhibitions. 


Ek is tans besig met navorsing oor die gewyde werk in glas van die kunstenaar Leo Theron wat werke vir ʼn menigte kerke in Suid Afrika gedoen het. Alhoewel hy vir die Katolieke en Anglikaanse Kerke ook gewerk het, konsentreer ek op sy werk vir die NG Kerk, en veral op sy gebruik van abstraksie en simboliek om ʼn spesifiek Afrikaans Gereformeerde geestelikheid uit te druk in sy kuns. Hierdie gebruik van abstraksie en simboliek word dan ook binne die konteks van Afrikaner identiteitsvorming gedurende die dekades van Afrikaner Nasionalisme asook die voorafgaande dekades behandel. Die verhouding tussen Protestantisme, moderniteit en modernisme word ook in dié verband behandel om Theron se gebruik van modernistiese abstraksie in die konteks van modernistiese Afrikaans Gereformeerde kerkbou te verklaar. 

Academic Publications  
  • 2014  “Modernism and Anti-Modernism in the Afrikaans Protestant Churches during the Twentieth Century”   South African Journal of Cultural History 28 (2), 75-92. 
  • 2016 “The Rainbow-Snake and the Birds’ Plumage: an Exploration of the Theme of the Continuous and the Discrete in Claude Levi-Strauss’s Mythologiques,”  The Journal of Folklore Research 53 (3), 167-203. 
  • 2016 “The Bird-Nester, the Jaguar and the Fire-Theft: A New Approach to the Culture-Nature Dimension in Amazonian Myth,” Tipití: Journal of the Society for the Anthropology of Lowland South America: Vol. 14: Iss. 1, Article 2, 15-29. 
  • 2016  “Birdsong and the Loss of Immortality” Cosmos: Journal of the Traditional Cosmology Society 31 (Fall), 7-27. 
  • 2017 “Modernist abstraction in Afrikaans Protestant churches of the twentieth century,” South African Journal of Art History 31 (1), 126-147 
  • 2017 “Music, Dance, Synchrony, and Conformity: Dealing with Non-Cooperation in Early Hominin Culture,” Evolution, Mind and Behaviour 15 (1), 1-11 
  • 2017 “Cosmology Performed, the World Transformed: Mimesis and the Logical Operations of Nature and Culture in Myth in Amazonia and Beyond,”Tipití: Journal of the Society for the Anthropology of Lowland South America: Vol. 15: Iss. 2, Article 5, 173-205. 
  • 2018 “The Threat of Modernity: The ‘Anti-Modernist’ Foundations Of Modernism,” South African Journal of Art History 33 (2), 115-136 
  • 2020 “Incest, Eclipse, and the Origin of the Moon’s Spots: Nature as Darkness and Chaos in Amerindian Myth.” Journal of Folklore Research 57 (3) 2020, 27–62.  
  • 2020 “From Order to Chaos: Structure and Emotion in Baroque Ceiling Painting” South African Journal of Art History 35 (1), 117-144. 
  • 2020 “Menstruation, Moon and the Hunt: A Response to Camilla Power’s Reconstruction of a Source Cosmology for African Hunter-Gatherers,” Hunter Gatherer Research 6 (3-4), 217-246. 
  • 2021 “Die Debat om Primitivisme: ’n Wyer Perspektief” LitNet Akademies Jaargang 18 (2). 
  • 2021 “Plan as Generator: Modernism and the Protestant Liturgy in the Kuilsrivier De Eike Dutch Reformed Church” South African Journal of Cultural History 35 (1): 45-62. 
  • 2021 “Primordial Androgyny and Gender Politics,” Hunter Gatherer Research 7 (1-2), 75-105. 
  • 2022 “Ambivalence, Contradiction, and the Differentiation of Primordial Wholeness in Amazonian Cosmological ThoughtFolklore (UK) Volume 133, 2022 - Issue 2. 
  • 2022 “Functionalism versus Spirituality in Two Modernist Afrikaans Protestant Churches in the Western Cape,” South African Journal of Cultural History 36 (1), 133-159. 
  • 2022 “Chaos en teenstruktuur in Europese groteske ornamente van die 16de en 17de eeue,” Litnet Akademies 19 (1), 280-306. 
  • 2022 “The Power of Mimetic Performance: Cognitive Evolution and Supernatural Agency,” Preternature 11 (2), 322-349. 
  • 2023 “Painting beyond Language: The Art and Aesthetics of Vivian van der Merwe.” Alternation:  Interdisciplinary Journal for the Study of the Arts and Humanities in Southern Africa, Special Edition 41, 309 – 343. 
  • 2023 “The Novalis-Ubuntu Institute (1994): Brian Johnson and the Concepts of Anthroposophical Architecture,” South African Journal of Cultural History 37 (2), 154-183. 
  • 2023 “The Trickster as Personification of Primordial Chaos,” Anthropos 118 (1), 187-196.