FERREIRA PROJECTS in association with WHATIFTHEWORLD / GALLERY are proud to present Hypocrite's Lament & The Drain Of Progress, a collaborative exhibition by highly acclaimed emerging South African Artists, Zander Blom and Julia Rosa Clark. The exhibition consists of Zander Blom's celebrated body of work, The Drain Of Progress, which was recently recognized by Frieze Magazine as one of the most internationally significant solo exhibitions of 2007, and Julia Rosa Clark's Hypocrites Lament, SA Critics Choice Award winner for 2007.
Remnants are a significant theme in the work of both Zander Blom and Julia Rosa Clark, although they approach the concept in ways that are as varied as they are similar. It is the remnants of art, of modernism, of culture and of objects that provide the spine of these artists' work. It is an important concept too, in the life of a young South African artist where remnants (political, economic and social) from a dismal, brutal and segregated past are their daily bread.
These remnants have been reconfigured as installations by both artists to create new bodies of work, The Drain of Progress in Zander Blom's case and Hypocrite's Lament in Julia Rosa Clark's instance. Blom's large-scale photographs and publication document a house he lived in for four years, and the installation that evolved there over that time. Taking both a fascination and distrust of Modernism and its art as a starting point, and a nihilist and ironic bearing, he began making abstract monochrome ink drawings. As he tried to empty his art of representation, an act which acknowledges the goal of Modernist abstraction as well as the impossibility of achieving it, the drawings began to slide off the paper, and onto the walls. Old drawings were cut up and reassembled, taped into jagged landscapes on the ceiling. Formalist constructions were made out of vinyl tape, and parodies of Mondrian and Schwitters crept up the corners. Areas were worked and reworked, in a progression emulating the development of Modernism, each movement eating the one before. He meticulously documented the evolution of the installation process with photographs that eventually form the work itself. Appropriately, these make a portal for an audience to enter the work, similar to the way that South Africans and Blom himself (outside of the major centres of Western art) accessed Modernist art.
Julia Rosa Clark's installation Hypocrite's Lament is on the surface far more comfortable with objects and representation. It is a panoply of images, colours, textures and things. Old thrift store paintings weep neon string, images from children's text books tangled up in them. A miniature Christmas tree spawns a line of presents, growing exponentially into the grotesque. A pillar composed of porcelain trinkets casts a dreadful and dark shadow, while the walls are lined with hundreds of food images, whirling into a hurricane. A collection of newspaper clippings forewarn of earth's imminent doom. Underneath this bright display is a terrible fear, of images and of objects, and what their profusion signifies in a world always on the brink of disaster. This, of course, makes her the hypocrite of the title, for she clearly loves objects, and indeed is actively as an artist involved in creating more.
Dilemmas, torn loyalties and nihilism continually face off against the positive act of creation for both these artists. This tension, whether a suspicion of the past or a fear of the future, situates Julia Rosa Clark and Zander Blom thoroughly in the present moment.
WHATIFTHEWORLD / GALLERY was selected by Contemporary Magazine as one of the top 50 emerging galleries from around the world in 2007.