Current events shaping the future of creative glass practice in South Africa.
BYS aims to build a bridge between glass as an expressive medium and sculptors, fostering collaboration and exposing new ideas and approaches to the flexibility of the material.
Out of the Fire, Into the Light opened on the 23rd of September at the Association of Arts Pretoria and will be running till the 12th of October. Several events are taking place during the exhibition with talks and walkabouts.
The show is curated by Dr. Ingram Anderson and Lothar Böttcher.
Herewith a short video. Please join our Facebook page for more info.
How quick the mood and energy changes when the weather turns from jerseys and jeans to t-shirts and shorts. It might also be due to the certainty after elections. Who knows…? One thing is for certain, the world keeps on turning, irrespectively.
After many meetings, planning and discussions ideas are congealing into substance. Several shows are already done and dusted with several more lined up. Next week sees the opening of our collectively curated glass exhibition with Dr. Ingram Anderson and myself at the Pretoria Art Association.
We have been building this jigsaw puzzle since early last year and the final picture will emerge next Friday. The exhibition is titled “Out of the Fire, Into the Light” showcasing a wide range of current art made in glass throughout South Africa. Our specific aim is to bring the artistry of glass into the light, departing from purely functional glass work.
Twelve years ago we made similar waves, establishing the South African Glass Art Society. Unfortunately this was a venture ahead of its time and had to be shelved. Maybe, just maybe this new collective show will kindle conversation for future endeavours and collaboration to grow our small yet vibrant glass art community. (Nudge, nudge! Wink, wink!)
With almost 35 artists participating “Out of the Fire, Into the Light” promises to be a window on current trends here, the Southern tip of Africa. Established masters will exhibit along young flames guaranteeing a diverse oeuvre of inspiration, creativity, imagination and artistry.
We might not have the grandest furnaces, glass museums and history of glass but have passion, ingenuity and vision to open up a future for the material in new and unpredictable ways.
Here we come, ready or not!
Out of the Fire, Into the Light will open on the 23rd of September 2016. Please visit our FB page for more info and program of events.
Out of the Fire, Into the Light forms part of the Cool Capital 2016 Biennial.
“It seems obvious that something connects between the eyes and the thing being viewed. That something must be light. But does the light come from the eyes, or from the object under scrutiny, or from someplace else?”
The Story of Light, Ben Bova, 2001 – Light and Vision, p.125
an Exhibition Exploring Photons with Kleonicki Vanos and Lothar Böttcher
NWU Art Gallery, Botanical Gardens
01 -22 September 2016
Consciousness is not sharply defined, but fades into sub-consciousness . We are not uniformly sensitive to the illusions of light yet context matters and our perception of it affects our mind, body, and soul. We process life as we perceive it and our perceptions can change, which is reason enough to celebrate who we are.
By Bending Light, both artists invite the viewer to explore variations on perception, invoking a moment of immediacy.
Kleonicki uses light as a metaphorical brush, literally painting with light in her photographic images.
Lothar sculpturally transforms glass into objects and portals, enticing the spectator to come closer and “observe” the world through his sculptures.
Mutually collaborating on the subject of transforming the familiar arrangement of photons into new narratives these vibrant artists intend to illuminate our view of the world and our place in it.
The Silverstone Caricatures are new sculptures currently on show in my solo exhibition, “Air” at Art Lovers 1932.
I have been combining rocks, steel and glass for some time now, consciously giving each element a roll in the theatre of sculptural narrative.
The rock is solid, strong and ancient. It is a part of this silica crust we dwell on with a history exceeding even life, as we know it, by far. In this sense it is telling a story, informing the spectator of the randomness, nae, chaos the cosmos contains.
Lifting the stone and appropriating it for my intended use as an element in a larger story I contextualise the seemingly arbitrary thing that was lying around. I personally feel that the simplicity of this act reveals the power we as humans have, to terraform our environment to suit our desires. This thought echoes throughout human history, from primitive stone tools to modern architecture.
In my latest series of exploits, the “Silverstone Caricatures”, I take this concept even further. Completely covering the stones with silver spray paint I change their ancient history, scars, surface with immediate effect. It almost feels like sacrilege when I spray them… but then again large amounts of earth are torn up and pulverised every minute all over the world. Ironic?
Drilling holes has been part of my larger rock projects which I am continuing with these smaller sculptures. Inserting and bending steel rods I use structural logic to attach my lenses.
Metaphorically the lenses play the roll of sight, of seeing or observing. But, who is observing? Is it the painted rock looking at us or are we scrutinising the rock?
These individual lenses are the pivot point on which my concept hinges. They create the portal between both parties, initiating the narrative and conversation between both observers.
I intentionally use the phenomenon of pareidolia, eliciting a reaction of animating the inanimate, giving it “life” through interaction by the spectator.
It all sounds so serious but as a matter of fact I am having fun. I hope to instil the same emotion of quirkiness and childhood discovery through my sculptures for the spectator that I experience.
Air opened last Friday. After many weeks, days and hours everything in my head congealed into physicality. I am happy.
The exhibition was opened by Samuel Isaacs, with wise and positive incantations.
Now there seems to be a hiatus, a break in the process. And it is exactly this process which has become important to me. The process has been a personal journey to fulfil my desire of making, of creating that idea from merely a chemo-electrical impulse lingering inside the cranium into a tangible thing.
All spectators at the opening night were pleasantly engaged within the space. Several patrons said that they loved the interaction, being drawn in and experiencing the within and beyond offered by the contained landscapes and immediacy I created.
Apart from the photographs (which are intended as reference and focal points for the Portals to the subject, “Air”) the spectators themselves played with the Portals lenses, peering and giggling at each other. Another intended spinoff was photography, people taking shots with their digital phones of each other and themselves. Even the chosen format of the photographs and the Portals themselves echo the square shots on Instagram and other social media channels.
The difference though is a sense of immediacy and not the quick consumption of second hand experiences.
Before entering the room an eye peers into the show and sets the scene, to look and experience. A fan moves air which in turn starts moving all the elements inside the exhibition space – photos fluttering and sculptures swaying.
The theme is serious. Air is invisible. It is life sustaining. We forget about it.
Air influences our weather, our quality of life, we all breath it in and exhale, irrespective of our social standing, race, health or age. We even share its molecules with other species and without air nothing living would survive on this planet.
Then why? Why do we neglect to look after it?
My inspiration came during a trip to Dubai last year. I noticed the inside spaces within buildings having a cooler, more comfortable air than outside. My attention was drawn to feeling, experiencing the invisible. I started taking a very conscious interest in ducts and fans. Also the movement of air, inside artificial spaces, and when exiting, outside. I still do.
For those that can, please make a turn past Art Lovers 1932 in Pretoria#AirExhibition will run till 24 Marc 2016
The Aether is a “classical” element. It is that unattainable stuff that our planet floats in and in which light used to propagate throughout the cosmos.
Aether is also the air of gods, the clear, fresh sky as in Greek mythology. It is the inexplicable Zeug between you and I which we can feel as a breeze caressing our cheeks, but yet cannot see, taste or physically grasp.
Aether has an air of ancient spirituality to it. The age of modern science and analytical experimental research has changed all that. Its etherial meaning has been quantified into joules, knots and wavelengths.
The Aether has been given quantifiable Substance.
This is a pretext in which I have been delving for the past several years, that cusp between science and art, between history and presence, the real and the surreal.
My work explores these aspects of the here and there, consciously wanting the spectator to partake in a first-hand experience through the optical media of glass, juxtaposing our contemporary trend of consuming second-hand information through the battery operated lenses in our hands. (…and maybe even offering an alternative window to the spiritual…)
There also is a trend in my work which refers directly to my personal environment. Living next to an informal settlement with ca. 3000 people housing in tin shacks I am influenced by the immediacy of making due with what one has. I am using parts in my sculptures found around my studio such as rocks, wire, steel and even off-cut shards of glass.
These seemingly worthless objects and materials are reappropriated, given new life. Intervening in each part of the sculpture; by polishing facets or cutting patterns in the glass; straightening steel wires; drilling holes into rocks; I am adding value to the banality of the object. Combining these individual elements I instil a narrative which conforms to my initial concept – the immediacy of experience within our everyday lives.
Each sculpture is an individual step in this visual journey I am on. They are small interventions to rekindle that Aha! moment we all so desperately hunt for, but rarely experience in this thicket of visual overload.
“Kuruvinda” is the title of my latest optical sculpture. The title of a work of art is always a very personal interpretation. It gives the new born creation a name to enter this world, to communicate it’s character or an abstract message from the maker.
“Kuruvinda” is the Sanskrit name for ruby which is the colour of the laminated sheet of hand made Murano sheet glass at its base. Why Sanskrit? No particular reason other than Kuruvinda being an unusual and exotic sounding name with cryptic references to my trade, its history and tools. Corundum, another name for ruby and a naturally found mineral is extremely hard, 9 on the Mohs scale of hardness whereas diamond is ten. It is used as an abrasive as it can scratch almost any other softer mineral. I use corundum wheels to decoratively cut my glass… and it has been used as such for millennia.
But then the work also needs to speak for itself. The title is merely a facet of the whole. As an artist you need to instil your personality and confidence into the intended work. The artwork becomes an extension of you, one aspect of the journey you are on.
Once the sculpture is “on stage” for an audience to critically engage with the spectacle it embodies, the story takes form. I link my work to many references, like instruments and voices in a musical ensemble, combining glass, light, stone, steel and sometimes wood in harmony; and sometimes also in disharmony. There are hints to my intentions but I very much enjoy an ambiguous narrative. This allows the spectator to experience the work on their own terms and diversifies its existence through their interpretations.
The nuances are always so subtle that it is almost impossible for everyone to see or experience my optical anomalies exactly the same way.
My sculptures could be likened to music for the eyes.
You are invited to attend the opening and exhibition of contemporary South African Glass Art titled:
Thresholds (in)between Glass curated by Thabang Monoa at Art It Is.
Opening: 04 February 2016 18:00 by Dr. Ingram Anderson.
Participating artists: Martli Jansen van Rensburg, Retief van Wyk, Mike Hyam, Liesl Roos, Iwan van Blerk, Ryan Manuel, Greg Miller, Lothar Böttcher, Thabang Monoa, Kgotso Pati, Pfunzo Sidogi, Rina Myburgh, Marileen van Wyk, Bongani Dlamini and Chonat Getz.
Art It Is – 011 447 9176 firstname.lastname@example.org