BARBED WIRE PARADISE 2016

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“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.


The Space Between / The Noise Behind 2016

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Billed as ‘The Space Between / The Noise Behind’ the show is a curious mix of art and quackery, or as Grobler puts it — ‘pseudo-science’. What both Grobler and O’Flynn recognise is that art is always provisional, intangible, that at best all it can do is piggy-back reason with feeling. – Ashraf Jamal, art writer

Grobler constructed a series of fifteen oil and mixed media works. These works in hues of deep blue with bursts of colour slots together to form one long line that wrap around the gallery space and exude a rich pink glow. Each abstract unit, has an embedded phrase of Morse code that could be deciphered, but the messages are cryptic and reminiscent of Fairy Tales: ‘Light years apart’, ‘Far, far away’, ‘Wisp of Matter’, ‘No such thing’.

An intimate video installation records a private conversation between Grobler and O’Flynn and provides an insight into their making, meaning and inner space.

If you go down to the woods today 2015

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Liza Grobler at Everard Read Gallery Cape Town

“Perhaps, what one wants to say,” she wrote in her notebook, in firm and elegant cursive, “is formed in childhood, and the rest of one’s life is spent trying to say it.” – Barbara Hepworth (British sculptor)*

Trying to make sense of Life – an ongoing experience that is at the best of times only half understood – is futile. As an artist, or maker of things, one can merely hope to go on treasure hunts and perhaps share some aspects of these explorations of Reality. (But is all of it a smokescreen?) in the hope that one can invoke a momentarily heightened shared experience. Step inside the dark matter. Suspend your disbelief.

The title of this show, is derived from the popular children’s song, Teddy Bears’ Picnic. The melody was composed in 1907 by American composer John Walter Bratton and in 1932 lyrics were added by Irish songwriter Jimmy Kennedy.**

If you go down to the woods today, You’re sure of a big surprise.
If you go down to the woods today, You’d better go in disguise.

This exhibition is a sort of mini retrospective. Many stories, from different shows meet here in the woods.
The installation explores the use of the colour black: the colour that swallowed the rainbow. I hope to invoke something of the wonder that we all had as children. Not by creating something pretty, but by constructing a simulation, a physical apparition that might be simultaneously awe inspiring and deeply unsettling. The experience of this exhibition is firstly a physical dialogue between the viewer, the space
and the fabrications that is occupying it.

This is an open invitation to all of you. Come along. Walk with me. Who knows what we may find?

Playlist 2015

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Playlist is a playful interpretation of a musical playlist. A colour experiment where music is the driving force behind the mark making and line direction. The playlist, “The best kicks against the pricks!”, was compiled by a friend and consists of a selection of rock and pop songs. It was listened to on repeat for the production of all five paintings. The premise was that a specific ground colour (white, blue, yellow, pink or green) would set a different tone in each instance.

The scale and format of the work was inspired by a recent visit to the Orangerie in Paris, where Monet’s Water Lilies are on permanent display. What becomes clear upon a visit to the Orangerie, is that the structure of the space forms an integral part of the experience. My aim was to create large non-referential colour fields that suggests a journey and also acknowledge the physical three-dimensional space and the viewer-object relationship. The viewer can loose themselves as they become enveloped by the colour and mark making. Yet, the paintings also become a type of second ‘skin’ that is experienced physically.

The large sculptural drop in the middle of the space, Suspension of Disbelief, is a place holder for the viewer. It is the life-force that connects inner and outer landscape and echoes the marks in the paintings.

Decor-Z 2015

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This collaborative exhibition offers an off-beat take on home decoration. Liza Grobler selected the work of five artists to create a space that is reminiscent of home, yet is somehow distorted, as if in a dream. Grobler weaves it all together with multiple connections: her fence-like constructions span the exterior and spill into the exhibition space, with the interior cocooned by her mural drawing.

The five other participants are Mark Rautenbach, Marlise Keith, Barbara Wildenboer, Jeanne Hoffman and Daniella Mooney. Selected for their use of specific materials, and elements of craft and repetition in their work, their pieces create fresh conversations with Grobler’s own work, as well as with the space they inhabit.

Decor-Z is presented by Spier in association with Yellowwoods Art, and housed in Spier’s newly restored Old Kitchen adjoining the historical Werf. 

Photographer: Frans Smit

Blindfolded Line, Dancing Through Time 2014

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The moment a point is set in motion, a line is created. This line multiplied, creates a web or a network that constructs images or connects objects, people and places.

Line is a basic element of traditional image making. When multiplied on a flat surface, it creates shape and once freed from the picture plane, it can construct 3 dimensional form.  In the medical profession it results in graphs that demonstrate invisible occurrences such as internal body rhythms –  thereby signaling the presence or absence of life. In science, line represents trajectories and progressions, thus suggesting cause and effect over time. Line therefore maps routes and connects things across space and time.

Blindfolded line, dancing through time is a site-specific mixed media installation and a playful investigation of the dichotomy that exist between inner and outer landscape. The “blindfolded line” suggests the creative process as an ongoing journey: a continuous exploration driven by free association, inadvertent connections, interdisciplinary collaboration and repetitive actions. Whereas this exhibition is on the one hand an attempt to visually manifest the above points, it is more importantly an exploration of the creative process itself; a search, in the manner of many an explorer: With blind faith and vague direction.

The line strives to dance, but mostly stumbles ahead into unknown territories. As with most explorations the outcome is often a surprise.

Many of the works manifested through collaboration and interaction with other artists and designers. Collaborators include: Qubeka Bead Studio, Norman O’flynn, Barbara Wildenboer, Jacques Du Plessis, Richard De Jager, Beate Frommelt, Julián Fuks, Teemu Mäki, Alicia Marván, Caoimhghin O’Fraithile, Ulric Roldanus, Lieven Segers, Mithu Sen, Kirsty Tinklerand Ella Ziegler.

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In commemoration of Liza Grobler’s 11th solo exhibition, Spier published the accompanying limited edition catalogue Blindfolded Line, Dancing Through Time.

Kloofstreet World Design Capital 2014

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ACCIDENTAL ART has been included as an official project in the World Design Capital Cape Town programme 2014. The second Accidental Art installation is a Half Square ceramic relief artwork by Liza Grobler, and marks the biggest Half Square piece to date, as well as the first exterior application of the ceramic art product.

Nando’s Kloof Street was the lucky recipient of this marvellous mural, which spans 20sqm and comprises over 6000 Half Square tiles, 100 colours (16 different blues make up the sky), and even a handful of gold coloured tiles realised in gold lustre.

Grobler’s design is based on a rich Fynbos landscape and echoes the silhouette of Signal Hill, which is located directly behind the Nando’s restaurant. This creates a play between the fore- and background, and urban and natural environments, also referencing a kind of oasis in the bustling city. The sense of Fynbos texture is conveyed through the multi-hued palette and nuanced gradations of Half Square units, as well as their dynamic triangular format. This solution demonstrates the full potential of the Half Square aesthetic – it is somehow simultaneously fixed and organic; with the triangles adding diagonal movement and allowing a wide range of tonal variation to an otherwise static grid.

This public art intervention is a departure of sorts from Grobler’s usual public pieces, which are normally temporary. Because of this piece’s permanence, she opted for a more open-ended design, to encourage discussion and public engagement rather than impose a specific point of view. In promoting this objective, fold-down benches by Pedersen + Lennard and an umbrella were installed at the site – complementing the artwork with Grobler’s signature sense of quirkiness and playfulness, and amplifying the idea of an urban oasis.

The striking mural was launched last week to a crowd of Nando’s executives, artists and media, with a delicious spread provided by Nando’s – the sponsors of Accidental Art.

Honey Drops 2014

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This temporary installation was conceived for the Winter Sculpture Show 2014 at the Nirox Foundation at the Cradle of Humankind. The work is titled Honey Drops and is constructed from 10 000 pipe cleaners. The form reference birds nest, organic structures and the colours of the surrounding landscape ins summer.

Diary of a Nanosatellite 2013

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Did you know that South Africa has a space programme? Africa’s first nanosatellite was launched on 21 November 2013 from a small town in Russia. A nanosatellite is a very small satellite, only 10 x 10 x 10 cm, and this one was developed
by the electrical engineering department at CPUT. ZACUBE-1 will orbit the earth 15 times a day, from pole to pole and measure space weather. Very few people will witness the actual launch.

To commemorate this historic event and to celebrate the power of innovative thinking, Liza Grobler conceptualised
an artwork which united artists, engineers and scientists and brought the CPUT space programme to the attention
of local youth.

On Saturday 30 November 2013 artists and engineers partook in a honorary procession. The participants – dressed in white lab suits with red weather balloons hovering overhead, carried a 3-d replica of the satellite to a large open field in Khayelitsha. The event symbolises the integral role satellites play in daily life on earth in the 21st century: Space and earth is connected.

Participants included: Robert van Zyl (director of the CPUT Space programme), Liza Grobler, Kilmany-Jo Liversage, Sonya Rademeyer, Swain Hoogervorst, Martin Lund, Marna Hattingh, Mandisa Masina, Vanessa Berlein, Stephan Berlein, Pierre Fouché, Werner Ungerer, Lynette Bester, Nolubabalu Khanku, Zukiswa Matanya, Sibongile Skiet, Nolufefe Kanti, Namhla Mbasa, Miranda Vinjwa, Seth Harper, Adrienne Van Eeden-Wharton, Katherine Bull and Stephen Cupido.

‘The South African National Space Agency (SANSA) is proud to be a part of this august scientific journey of discovery and look forward in anticipation for the results borne forth from the passion, dedication and expertise of our local scientists, researchers, engineers and students. This may be a small step for South Africa, but it is certain to inspire a large transformation of our space technologies and education.’ – Dr Sandile Malinga, CEO of the South African National Space Agency. This message will be carried into space by ZACUBE-1.