Chapman’s paintings re-imagine South Africa's economic capital through the detritus of postcards, street plans, decommissioned reports and personal memories. Using literature as a departure point, the paintings refer to works such as Mark Gevisser’s urban memoir on sexual identity (Lost and Found in Johannesburg
) and Bettina Malcolmess and Dorothee Kreutzfeldt’s interpretation of Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project
(Not No Place: Johannesburg. Fragments of Spaces and Times
GARAGE borrows its title from a discussion about the informal use of space in Kinshasa, the capital city of the Democratic Republic of Congo:
“What one needs… to operate a garage is not a building named ‘garage’ but rather the idea of a garage. The only material element needed to turn an open space into a garage is a used automobile tyre on which the owner has written the word quado (supposedly the name of a well-known Belgian garage owner in the colonial period).”
- Filip De Boeck and Marie-Françoise Plissart, Kinshasa and Its (Im)material Infrastructure
A garage operates as conduit between an ad hoc and formal establishment. It is an informal parking space, a place to store clutter and a home for unwanted items. A garage is also a space of transition: to disassemble, repair, and renew items that have lost their worth. But there can be many representations of a space without the space itself. Chapman's paintings stand as a part for the whole: the ongoing project to document the transitional, ephemeral nature of Joahnnesburg.