A
 
Web www.artsmart.co.za
A R T S M A R T
arts news from kwazulu-natal

visual arts
www.artsmart.co.za
enquiries@artsmart.co.za
 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
 

NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

THE LOVE WE LEAVE BEHIND (article first published : 2007-01-23)

Durban artists Fran Saunders and Peter Machen have combined forces to host a joint exhibition at artSPACE durban in February. The exhibition, The Love We Leave Behind, comprises two bodies of work which, although separate, invoke a dialogue which continues long after one has left the exhibition space.

Fran Saunders is well known for her collages, which have been exhibited in South Africa, Germany, the Czech Republic, and the National Gallery in Bulawayo. Her latest exhibition reflects the continued delight she takes in crafting altered realities through the use of found images. Says Saunders: "We are often arrested by an image for the first time only when it is lifted out of its familiar context."

Saunders draws inspiration from Max Ernst and his refrain from applying simplistic categorisation to work. She works in the rich and multilayered tradition of collage art, which thrives on rearranging objective elements as a reaction against what is predictable in our consensus reality. For the surrealist Louis Aragon "a mundane miracle" forms the kernel of the aesthetic method. Saunders continues to find "mundane miracles" in the chance encounters set up by the juxtaposition of unfamiliar images.

Peter Machen is well known as an arts writer whose creative focus on the city of Durban does not exclude a broader internationalist approach. He has written for a wide number of publications and regularly provides coverage of visual arts in the Weekend Witness (and prior to that in the Independent on Saturday where he was Arts Editor). In recent years, Machen has moved into the gallery with his own work and is gradually establishing a reputation as a visual narrator.

His solo exhibition at the KZNSA entitled The Corduroy Man, was received with much critical and popular acclaim and now Machen moves forward with a series of unconventional portraits. The "subjects" of Machen's portraits are shopfront mannequins. But while contemporary photography has examined the plastic nature of these human placeholders at length, Machen takes a different approach. In this exhibition he re-humanises these commercial sculptures to unsettling effect.

As with his solo show at the KZNSA last year, Machen views these images as documentary images. This is perhaps plausible, but at the same time the works, with their layers of artifice and reality, create a series of visual interferences that move beyond any simple notion of objective reality.

The fact that these mannequins, with their perfect skin tone and potential for immortality, feel more human than the airbrushed images which fill our 21st century media, says much about the construction of self or avatar-self in an age of super-perfect reproduction.

The Love We Leave Behind reflects a view both artists hold: that our lives derive meaning from moments infused with love. Machen brings humanity to his plastic portraits precisely by bathing them in love. Saunders' unlikely but poetic juxtapositions create a new world, which although violent and caustic at times, nonetheless has love as at the centre of its orbit.

The Love We Leave Behind opens on February 5 at 18h00 and runs until February 24. artSPACE durban is at 3 Millar Road (off Umgeni Road). More information on 031 312 0793.




 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
a co-production by caroline smart services and .durbanet. site credits
copyright © subsists in this page. all rights reserved. [ edit ] copyright details  artsmart