Twenty First Century Family Portrait (2014)

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“Of late, when noticing electrical installations or looking up at pylons, such thoughts of influence had grown, and just recently he had past by a substation and known, known, that everything he had ever said or done was still vibrating in the air around him. He wasn’t absolutely sure of this any more, but the idea that objects and places emitted force fields was harder to dismiss.” – Gilbert du Toit in The Long Wave by Tom Dreyer



“Paradise, is exactly where you are right now, only much, much…better” – Language is a Virus (Laurie Anderson)

Barbed wire paradise was an immersive drawing constructed in studio over a period of three months from over 40 000 pipe cleaners, a few pot plants, a handful of coins, a single musician and two swings. It was open to the public for two days to explore and interact with. As in a dream, it lives on in the traces that was left behind in the memories of visitors and in the digital proof that it existed at a certain point in time.

Ladders of Aquatic Vertebrae

Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisioned by the enemy, don’t we consider it his duty to escape?. . .If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we’re partisans of liberty, then it’s our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!
– J.R.R. Tolkien

Ladders of Aquatic Vertabrae was conceptualised for a group show at Blank Projects. The exhibition – titled The Menippean uprising – was curated by Pierre Fouché and Hentie van der Merwe and offered an alternative to the sosio-political work which still dominate South African galleries.

“This exhibition explores the idea of the imaginary, the unreal, the fantastical, in work by a number of contemporary South African artists. The focus is thus on artworks that are of an escapist nature; works that suggest a leaving behind of a definite socio-political context and, instead, intuitively venturing towards the irrational, the grotesque, the pleasurable.

Both curators are also practicing artists, and are currently interested in such ideas in their own work. Part of the aim of this exhibition is thus also, by means of a curated exhibition, to situate their own current interests as artists within a broader tendency in contemporary SA art: tentative, yet visible moves away from overt political statements to flights of the imagination  and the increasing use of escapist forms and traditions to allegorise contemporary society.”

Participants included: Michael Taylor, Mendi Pantsi, Niklas Wittenberg, Pierre Fouché and Hentie van der Merwe.