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HOBBY HEROES, SA (article first published : 2006-08-8)

KZNSA Gallery proudly presents Hobby Heroes, SA, an exhibition in the Main Gallery by Johannesburg-based artist Luan Nel. He graduated with a BA Fine Arts degree in 1993 from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. In 1998 and 1999, he participated in a residency at the prestigious Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam as well as in a research residency at the Dutch Institute in Rome.

The whole body of work stems from the diaramas, which play an important role in the exhibition. These resemble miniature worlds created by using model train set figurines so beloved by train set hobbyists.

“The choice of this material is deliberate. It speaks of control, escape, obsession and secrecy. All aspects that I try to explore in relation to the construction of male identity,” says Luan. “This is done largely through taking the figures out of their original context and exploring new narratives, often personal. Another experiment is to play with scale. This is a recent addition to the body of work. The inherent tension between the viewer and the miniatures gets turned upside down. Suddenly we are small. Power shifts.”

Luan will present this body of work for the first time in KwaZulu-Natal.

Hobby Heroes, SA runs at the KZNSA Gallery from August 15 at 18h00 to September 3.

More information from Nathi Gumede, Curator of the KZNSA Gallery on 031 202 3686 or 082 220 0368 or visit www.kznsagallery.co.za




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