Following three months at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris as part of her 2015 Absa L’Atelier Gerard Sekoto Award, Natalie Moore will be exhibiting Sandman at the Absa Gallery in Johannesburg from 13 August to 1 September 2017.
Creative Feel: What did it mean to you to have won the Gerard Sekoto Award in the 2015 Absa L’Atelier?
Natalie Moore: It was my very first time entering the Absa L’Atelier and it was such a dream to walk away with the Gerard Sekoto Award. I am walking in a dream of mine. I would like to extend a sincere thank you to my sponsors IFAS, SANAVA and Absa. And specifically the following individuals who have played such important roles behind the scenes: Marion Claudel, Lerato Maku and the Absa Gallery team.
CF: Tell us about your three months at the Cité Internationale des Arts?
NM: I am an incurable daydreamer and clouds have always resembled everything but clouds to me. My time at [the Cité Internationale des Arts] was the stuff of dreams and had me on cloud nine. There is something about the nature of a cloud, the forever shifting form, yet unchanging essence, which reminds me of the desert dunes. As of late 2015, I have been exploring that of the desert. In the middle of the desert, rarely a cloud but to mock, one is submerged in perspective. To my mind, the landscape echoes the ‘dreamscape’. With the surreal nature of the desert, it was only fitting that I found myself before the late surrealist painter René Magritte at the Pompidou Centre. It was my obsession with the desert theme that carried my feet four hours south of Paris to Arcachon and saw my footprints in the beautiful hidden gem that is Dune du Pilat (the tallest sand dune in Europe). A picturesque anomaly straddled by forest and ocean. It was a poignant coincidence that one of my last places of exploration outside of Paris, before my departure home, was the land of the clock: Switzerland. It was in Zurich that I reflected deeply on my time spent in Paris. Time that was both suspended and on fast-forward. I reflected on the place I had come to see in my short time as another home; the culture of pleasure but not excess; of savouring the moment; of relationships and connections; a place of beauty, from the architecture, to the art and museums, to the language, the people, the artistry. It was often the least expected moments that were of the most inspiration and value to me. There are just too many nuanced, condensed experiences for me to even touch the surface of. Yet in my opinion that is the charm of Paris – her depth and mystery. I plan on visiting Paris again, but until then I will visit her in my daydreams.
CF: How do you think spending three months in Paris has benefited your career?
NM: Anything you achieve, you have to first achieve in the mind. You reach the destination psychically before you do physically. So shaping the mind is the core of it all. And what Paris gave me was another perspective and dimension of thought. Paris is the perfect setting to daydream in.
CF: Tell us about your upcoming exhibition in the Absa Gallery.
NM: My exhibition is entitled Sandman and is set in the dreamscape. The sheets are representative of the conscious mind, and the desert that of dreams and the subconscious. It is a narrative akin to one’s dreams, where the storyline may seem fragmented and unstructured to our conscious mind, but natural to the fabric of a dream and our subconscious. This lack of chronological order points to another notion explored through my imagery – that of Chronos versus Kairos time. Where conscious time is perceived in a constant, measurable, chronological fashion; time in a dream exists outside of this construct. When we dream we access Kairos time – all encompassing time. Kairos is also that time we experience to different degrees when we daydream or are in flow state or any heightened awareness of being. In this age, we are so dictated by linear time – never having ‘enough’ of it, always been ‘pressed’ for it, working ‘over’ it, being ‘charged by’ it and being ‘paid for’ it (and not productivity alone). Another aspect of the dream world is our inhibitions. Yes, nightmares are fuelled by fear but inversely, in a dream, we seem to act and love without fear. I believe this is truer to our nature than the masks we sometimes wear in real life. This begs the question of how we define what is more real when some aspects of dreams are more real than reality. What is oasis and what mirage? It is my hope that the fairytale aspect of it will provoke people to think as they did when they were a child – without scepticism, or as people with 2.5 children and 9 to 5 jobs would say, ‘being realistic’. I want the viewer to both have fun with it and to reach a deeper place of thought. My hope is to sprinkle sand in the eyes of the viewers and that their eyes of possibility and imagination would awaken. When you walk into my exhibition space, I want you to walk into a dream world and walk out with your dreams.