Passage – A movement from one place to another. A process of passing from one condition or stage to another. A path, channel or duct through, over or along which something may pass.
Gallery 2 is proud to showcase Passage – exhibition by Karin Daymond, Jaco van Schalkwyk and Delene Human.
The exhibition will be opened on the 11th of June and run until the 23rd of July 2016.
Jaco van Schalkwyk
In his body of work for the Group exhibition Passage, Van Schalkwyk consciously adopts the role of witness, observing the processes of Nature and the activities of humankind from a position of relative detachment in order to provide testimony or evidence of their effects. Apart from documentation, there has always been an enduring trace of the allegorical narrative in Van Schalkwyk’s work, strongly related to his religious background.
Such is the case where the artist observed the unique funeral rites in the Trunyan village on the banks of lake Batur in Bali. As one of the oldest villages in Bali, the inhabitants have for centuries laid their dead underneath a Towering tree called ‘Taru Menyan’, meaning “Tree of fragrant incense”. This special tree has the ability to absorb any foul smell caused by the dead bodies. Van Schalkwyk uses metaphors and symbolism to ascribe moral significance to the growth and decomposition of natural objects. The idea of the Island as ‘Utopia’ or ‘Paradise’ is challenged with a somewhat melancholic outlook.
At the same time Van Schalkwyk uses this natural and cultural phenomenon to metaphorically investigate the relation between the Christian cross and the Paradisiacal Tree of Life. The cross symbolizes life, immortality, union of heaven and earth and union of spirit and matter. The cross takes much of the symbolic value of the tree. Both of them represent the meeting place for the divine and human, heaven and earth and affirm a renewal of spiritual life. The Tree of Life in the garden of Eden was provided to be a continuous reminder that immortality was a consequence of obedience and the crucifixion of Christ meant redemption and restoration of eternal life.
Working towards Passage has allowed Karin Daymon to further pursue the idea of the landscape and belonging. Daymon mentions feeling the tug and vocabulary of her previous exhibition called Welcome Stranger rather strongly.
Migration is pervasive. Out of necessity, it often happens quietly. In these works, the refugees leave silent traces of their journey through water, sand and mountains. I asked myself what I would take if I had to leave, and I saw that African women take fabric…with it around her, a woman can seem regal and even happy. She might even feel these things. These flashes of colour push back despair; they conceal and express at the same time.
The fabric is still strongly present in some of the new work. In other paintings there are subtle signs that people have passed through, leaving little more than a path worn into the landscape; a human presence without any visible figures. The recent work also has an exaggerated sense of perspective, an instinctive response to the immensity of the spaces that refugees must often cross, in both a physical and an emotional sense. On a human scale, distances and barriers that must be negotiated may look and feel insurmountable.
The notion of reaching a spiritual and transcendental state of Being is explored in Deléne Human’s sculptural works. Through the critical investigation of various pre- and early Christian metaphors and iconographies, as well as burial rituals, this body of work interprets the archetype of the resurrection myth, by questioning human mortality and the possibility of a resurrected life.
Organic materials were used as a point of departure in the creation of her work. Found bones were used with the intention to celebrate death and the concept of an eternal return or afterlife. The bones furthermore emphasise the bare essence of what all living creatures are. Her work not only explores the cyclical nature of life and timelessness, but also the linear expression of searching and reaching a transcendental state of Being.
Glass is one of the few natural substances that can be re-purposed indefinitely. The transparency and the strenuous process of high temperatures the glass has withstood (to be slumped, blown and annealed) evoke emotions of liberty and a lack of restriction. The inherent qualities of fragility, transparency, fluidity and coagulation to transience could metaphorically represent the fragile possibility of life everlasting, as well as the transparent and spiritual possibility of reaching freedom-towards-death.
These works exhibited in Passage do not only have significance for the contemporary art society, but also for the culture of our time, especially South Africa, where we deal with death on various levels on a daily basis. The inevitability of human death is something we all wish to ignore. On multiple levels however, this work aims to draw the attention back to the harsh reality of human mortality.