southafrica

… a proud moment to represent #SouthAfrica but also #Africa on an international platform. I hope to see more voices participating and challenge global trends with our own flavor of #glass.

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Blow Your Sculpture will open officially at the Pretoria Art Museum on the 12th of November 2016.

Please join us for refreshments, great sculptural lighting and to meet the artists.

Saturday, 12 November 2016 10:30 for 11:00 at the Pretoria Art Museum.

bys-invite-1-bParticipating Artists:
Dr. Ingram Anderson
Lothar Böttcher
Guy du Toit
Peter du Toit
Mike Hyam
Martli Jansen van Rensburg
Mignon Mayhew
Maxi Pretorius
Liesl Roos
Retief van Wyk

and special guest Emil Kováč

The exhibition will run till the end of 2016.

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Look around you. Grids are everywhere. Even in nature grids appear. The structural lines of the veins on your hand, the folds and lines on your palm, they are everywhere like intersecting pathways.

A grid gives structure to space. Consisting of lines it separates planes into blocks. Lines are fundamental to the existence of a grid, but they must cross another. Some lines are longer others broader but it is this crossing of the lines that constitutes a grid.

Some grids are structured, mathematically and perpendicular. Take a map of the city or place you live in, look at these forever connecting lines which make up the roads, streets and borders of your environment.

Others seem random and organic such as the neurones and synapses in our brains or the ebb and flow in a mangrove swamp.

Ultimately these lines, wherever they find themselves, are connected.

An ongoing theme in my work has been the large optical crystal Grid Sculptures. A grid pattern is cut into the base of these large and heavy blocks, adding a rigid, formal, almost quantifiable structure into the narrative. 
Thereafter the flat sided cube is carved up, often with impulsively determined facets or, quite recently, with an underlying geometric structure. I allow these variants to manifest themselves.

The grid already determines rigidity and mathematical quantifiable value. These straight lines conform to an imposed intervention, something that is not quite from nature.

Then the carving starts. First with lines drawn onto the cube then with a saw to remove larger chunks. A rough diamond cup-disk is used thereafter to shape and hew the sculpture into desired curves and facets. It is with my hands, eyes and tools that the sculpture takes shape.

During the process which takes several days of meticulous and repetitive labour, scouring the surface with ever finer gritts, the interior emerges.

It is this magic of the hard transparent material I am after. The initial matt and rough cuts don’t tell me much of what light will do but it is towards the end of the process when, after an almost meditative sojourn the spirit of my endeavour emerges.

I am attempting to impose an organic distortion on the rigid structural set of rules, this predetermined grid we deal and often conform with. I am trying to find another way of seeing things.

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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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The meaning of making art – a personal opinion, July 2015

Life is a journey and not a destination. The German version of this saying tolls: Der Weg ist das Ziel, which translates “the road is the destination”. Isn’t it ironical to consider myself African from a German decent…      (…does it leave a backdoor open? Why do i want to stay?…)

Making things and visualizing ideas is a journey. Often you end up in some bewildered place with no words or language to describe your creation and sometimes you discover a hidden valley of light and beauty. Such is the path of the creative.

At some stage you realize these truths. Failure is but a detour, an essential part of the journey, and success, an oasis to heal your parched lips. Then you set off on your next creative adventure. Your compass is the rising sun and often the itinerary changes as you go along. One thing is certain; you are constantly moving in a direction of accomplishment. When you should be standing still the possibility of progress and change is reduced, close to zero. So, best to keep on moving, keep on making and grow your abilities.

Learn through your process. Don’t be stupid. Although at first you will make many silly mistakes (which are an essential part of the process of learning and a sign that you are not standing still) your failures strengthen the determination of your focus.

You only have one life. There is only one moment to get the shit done. This fleeting moment must be used to its fullest potential. Make many mistakes. Don’t repeat them though. Most important, see your concept through. Finish what you started, even if it looks like a kak idea half way through. Finish it (and compensate). Remember, all you do is part of a journey. Make the most of it. There are destinations but the ultimate one is the journey itself. See your ideas through. Be determined in your travels, otherwise you’ll go around in circles.

Learn a craft. (Music, writing, drawing,…) Especially something challenging. Something that is not easy! Spend at least three years learning it from a master. Ask questions. Ask intelligent questions because you are intelligent. Sweep the floor and clean the tools. (I still do that every day.) Respect yourself and respect your work. Don’t chase a salary because that little monster will eat you alive… Love what you do and learn; you only learn when you are challenging yourself; you experience new adventures when life is a journey, so, its like holiday all the time… (…all above is based on perfect conditions and most of all a positive attitude …)    ….)a DreamScape narrative ecology…(…few actual holidays and lots of experiences…)
Q: Why do you do the shit you do?

(…global economy…? …are there alternatives?…)
I am not a religious person but do believe in spirituality. My Mother always said that god is in you. This gives me strength. God is in everyone!

It honestly is no clear-cut concept determining what one does for a life. Many factors play a roll. Should you take any random person on this planet and ask them why they are what they are they’ll …
Never mind that thought. Make up your own mind.

Why do I do the shit I do? I love the material I work with. I love the fact that so few people know how to work glass by hand. We all use it on a daily basis but have no idea of how it is made or where it comes from.
Mental Exercise: Remove glass from the world you live in… What do you see?

I feel special.

I am one of very few people on this planet that can do what I do. Within the makers of stuff this subcategory of: coldworkers, we all have our specialities. I use the materials at hand and apply the techniques which are known to me and enhance them. (Thank you to my Masters! Watching you and learning to be fearless is dawning on me.)

My sculptures refer to the above statements. They are part of my journey. I love what I do and every challenge gives me inspiration to complete and see the result of my labours; grow my knowledge of the process and material. Is it craft? Yes, ,maybe. Is it art, yes definitely. My work is a personal diary of the journey I am on through this fleeting moment called life.

When I am dead the journey ends.

My work is a personal map of my journey.

 

 

Images to follow.

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