Absa Atelier 2013

Fabricated I and II

The Absa L’Atelier is South Africa’s most prestigious art competition. It rewards young artists between the ages of 21 and 35 with the opportunity to develop their talents abroad. A look through the list of previous winners will testify to this.

The Absa L’Atelier art competition is run in conjunction with the South African National Association for the Visual Arts (SANAVA).

Statement about the work:

These two large pieces of 50% cotton paper hang side by side. With pin holes, each work represents the border line, contours and river systems of South Africa. The ‘view’ of the line is dependent on which side of the border ‘you’ are on. The deviations in the pattern of the border line refer to traditional Southern African estuary fishing traps.

For many theologians, traps exemplify the very thing that defines modern humans from our predecessors, the ability to imagine invisible goals and plan ahead in time. Setting a trap is acknowledged to be one of the first things modern humans used these skills for, a skill set that is very much in practice, on a much larger scale today, exemplified by borderlines today.

This topic is relevant due to current xenophobic violence our country is experiencing.

The tiny holes make reference to fabric. Holes like these occur the edge of fabric occur during manufacture. As it is often very difficult to tell the right from wrong side of fabric, these allow the user to determine which side of the fabric to use. The titles ‘Fabricated I’ and ‘Fabricated II’ point ironically to the concept that border lines are similarly, man-made construct.