photography

“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

Bending Light
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.

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Air – A Solo Exhibition

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

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Air, The Aether That Sustains Us

Lothar Böttcher
Late 2015

“Air”

It’s the stuff in your lungs right now. It’s the tempest sinking ships. It lifts the rainbow and the smell of freshly fried onion. It makes you dance…

Air is the substance in which we all find ourselves. We sustain our journey in life through air.

Mere ramblings of semi-poetic cliches will be uttered should I continue this path of describing our little, thin layer of life. My observations are from a small spot in this whole wide world. Actually it is called a plot, and it is in South Africa, and compared to many other places in the world, we have an abundance of space.

What lies between spaces? What lies between cities? Mountains? Rivers?

Yes, and Air.
During this week I have been following the COP21 climate meeting in Paris from very far sidelines. What I have seen so far though, is a mess. Political rhetoric, corporate vitriol and hot air utterances filled with empty promises. There is always another “goal” to score, way way down the line. Status quo with new words.

The media repots on the big wig leaders. The guys and girls who have to make it sound great. Their masters preparing speeches to recite.

Cynical… Yes! All this fucking talk up there is not enabling the changes needed down here. Window dressing and cashing in on their bonuses does not cut it!

Soon the troughs will be barren. There are dynamics at play we do not understand, never mind even try to control. The North is seeing an influx of, almost engineered precision, refugees. When was this ball kicked into play? Maybe twelve years ago?

“The haves have not accrued…”

Our power went out when the wind picked up. There are bugs crawling all over the light of the screen. It is wonderful. It is truly beautiful to see life and living happening regardless. Regardless of sentiment, religion, race or anything else but surviving. (btw: If I should fall ten times my length I’ll be shattered… these crawlers not.)

Could one call that a vulnerability? Probably gives us more incentive to push the limits. We have the ability to enhance our talents. Cars, bikes and rockets accelerate us to planets. Shoes protect my feet over stones. Songs tell stories. Theatre makes you cry.

Human kind is unique. Uniquely stupid and uniquely creative. Not even on this planet do we have anything remotely as great and brutal as us. Our species is universally unique. There will not be anything nearly as beautiful as us anywhere else!

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Its that time of year again, you know? Its that crazy time of year again when everything is happening. The last curtain call and everyone is on stage, before the show ends and we enter 2016.

If there ever was a tumultuous year, this was the one. 2015 has seen much discontent culminating in the student marches to the (self-serving and disconnected) president at the Union Buildings, not even two weeks ago. At last, the voices of of the future of this beautiful country are being heard, not quite in harmony but at least not singing a defined political tune. Let the momentum of this bring us back to sensibility.

On a personal level there were lots of ups and downs. I don’t think I have ever been as productive as this year. Many exhibitions and sales to boot, keeping the home fires burning. Trips are planned to expand my creative reach (more to follow later). A grand show of Southern African glass will take place during Cool Capital at the Pretoria Art Association by the end of next year which Dr. Ingram Anderson and I are curating. In March a solo exhibition at Long Street Art Lovers is already stimulating my focus.
Like all journeys one has to traverse the dark valleys to get to the other side. Luckily the view from the next hillock inspires “Fortschritt”.

So, here we are. November 2015. I’ll turn 42 next week. Still feel 25 though…

One of my highlights this year was a Roger Ballen photographic workshop coordinated by the Alternative Print Workshop’s Dennis and Janus. We had a derelict building at One Fox Street, down town Johannesburg, to our disposal. “Bring props”, they said, and we did. I thoroughly enjoyed the environment of learning by doing. Roger made his rounds through the building and gave us 16 participating photographers tips, comments and compliments.
This interaction has been invaluable to my photographic “eye”. As I told Roger, we were busy taking pictures and he came around sprinkling a few grains of salt here and there, sharing his magic with us, making us look at the small things, the details.

Thank you Roger! God is indeed in the detail.

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Tswaing crater just North of Pretoria is one of the greatest day hikes in my neck of the woods. Even the drive up to the old “Soutpan” takes you through unfamiliar terrain, instilling a sense of adventure. Taking the Soutpan road you pass through parts of Soshanguve, an ever growing settlement established by the previous regime. The name Soshanguve is an amalgamation of the various tribes names that were settled in the area back then. Sotho, Shangaan, Nguni and Venda.

I haven’t been up this way for some time and couldn’t miss the new shacks and houses that have emerged from the barren ground. This is the real South Africa. This is where most of the population lives, in townships, far away from the gated communities and golf estates.

The concrete fence of the Tswaing reserve is in tatters. Maybe the beams have been salvaged as construction material for the surrounding housing developments? (Incidentally, the friendly and helpful lady at reception mentioned that they struggle with poachers in the reserve.) Entering the gate you notice that part of the large Tswaing visitor’s center has been gutted by a fire. A skeletal ruin which will be echoed later on in the journey when one passes through the ruins of the old salination plants.

The Tswaing experience has never been cold and this hike was no exception. Although it is the middle of our Winter the mercury must have been in the mid twenties. Luckily I took a hat and lots of water.

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