In Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 movie of the same name pulp fiction is defined as:

a magazine or book containing lurid subject matter and being characteristically printed on rough, unfinished paper.

Tarantino quite literally provides the audience with the definition in the beginning of his film. This locates its genre and reflects the intertextuality of the work. By intertextuality I mean the relationship between texts and images (as symbols). Tarantino’s film references the classic hard-boiled novels of the pulp fiction genre as well as classic film noir. The images and tableaus he creates consciously reference other literature and films.

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For the first half of the 20th century, the pulp fiction which Tarantino references was one of the world’s most popular forms of entertainment. The typical pulp magazine consisted of a slick, glossy, vibrantly coloured cover and within, pages of fiction and advertising printed on poor quality “pulp” paper. Crime, romance, westerns, horror and fantasy were all staples for the pulps. Illustrators, painters and artists created original works to adorn the covers and attract the readers. They were usually sensational and lurid depictions of the short stories and articles inside.


In South Africa we had our own version of pulp fiction, the photo magazine story. They were extremely popular in South Africa in the 60s, 70s and 80s. Various titles such as Tessa, Grensvegter and Kid Colt were produced by Republican Press.


The art SPACE durban Gallery has an exciting exhibition coming up paying its own homage to this genre and I am busy creating a work for it. This is the artist brief:

You may pay homage to, or critique this art form or the Tarantino movie, Pulp Fiction. There are no restrictions other than including pulp paper in the work submitted.

Key words to inspire are:

bright, femme fatale, lurid, violent, pop, slick and vibrant

So think gaudy, irreverent, inappropriate and politically incorrect! We need more of these “less stuffy”, inclusive exhibitions! It promises to be an awesome exhibition and something very different! Best you all take part!!!