Cave Paintings & Light Boxes
Frederik Eksteen and Berco Wilsenach
A duo exhibition
Walkabout 7th November at 11h00 – Please RSVP to email@example.com
24th October – 14th November 2020
The exhibition will run from the 24th of October to the 14th of November 2020
The gallery will be open on Wednesday – Friday 10h00 – 17h00; Saturday from 10h00 – 14h00; Tuesday by appointment only
Please contact us firstname.lastname@example.org for any further information.
This exhibition is a showcase of two bodies of work created by two established artists: Frederik Eksteen (Cave Paintings) and Berco Wilsenach (Light Boxes). Although conceived as independent projects with divergent subject matter and material emphases, they also share formal and conceptual concerns that create an unexpected and unique conversation.
Frederik Eksteen completed his Master’s degree at the University of Pretoria in 2000. In addition to exhibiting both locally and internationally, he has won several awards including the Judges’ Prize in the Sasol New Signatures competition. Inspired by the interface between digital technology and traditional oil painting, Eksteen’s art is visually complex and conceptually layered, often referencing art historical traditions, while simultaneously harnessing new technology. His work is represented in several collections, including that of the Pretoria Art Museum, University of Pretoria, UNISA, Sasol, ABSA and MTN. Eksteen is also a part-time guest lecturer in the University of Pretoria’s Department of Visual Arts.
Berco Wilsenach (1974-) completed a BA(Fine Arts) (1996) and a MA(Fine Arts) (2002) from the University of Pretoria. He also furthered his studies at the Accademia di Belli Arte in Genova, Italy (2004) and the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf in Germany (2005-2006), with governmental bursaries from the respective countries. He has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions both in South Africa and abroad in prominent galleries and museums such as the Pretoria Art Museum, Palazzo Ducale in Genoa, Villa Croce Museo d’Arte Contemporanea di Genova, Museum für Angewandte Kunst in Vienna, the Smithsonian Institute’s Museum for African Art in Washington D.C and the Newark Museum, NY. He was awarded a four year grant from the Spier Arts Trust Patronage Program (South Africa) to complete his large scale Project for the Blind Astronomer (2009-2013) which was exhibited at the Museum of African Design, Johannesburg, and the Stegman Gallery in Bloemfontein. Apart from various merit awards, Wilsenach won the PPC Young Sculptor’s Award (1997) and the ABSA L’Atelier (2005). Wilsenach is to date teaching as part time lecturer at the University of Pretoria and presents workshops on a regular basis at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf.
Frederik Eksteen – Cave Paintings
Although the title may seem to suggest otherwise, the body of work that comprise Cave Paintings does not look very much like Palaeolithic art. This irony is meant to cast the works in a particular light. As is now typical of Eksteen’s work, they were created with equal helpings of computer imaging and hands-on labour. This interdisciplinary approach produces unique composites that are very much part of our current reality. What the artworks do have in common with prehistoric art, however, is a fascination with a certain mythical understanding of images.
However distant, our perception of art and representation is coloured by superstition. We would forget about it if it wasn’t for iconoclastic events that now and then shake our image-ridden complacency. Think Charlie Hebdo’s Muhammad cartoons or Brett Murray’s The Spear. If the detractors of these images are to be believed, they harbour an innate evil that can only be remedied by their (and even their authors’) destruction.
This body of work tries to think about this ambiguity, where the image exists somewhere between the natural and supernatural. Pictures have always been oddly powerful stand-ins for things that exist elsewhere, or eerily, don’t even exist at all. This substitution of a thing – whether real or imagined – for its image, is perhaps nowhere as potent as in Palaeolithic portrayals of animals. To paint an animal was both an act of possession and control. The image was a fetish of sorts which brought the animal closer, yet its ultimate existence also speaks of a desperate, even insurmountable distance between animal and human worlds. It is a construct that is possibly as marvellous as what it depicts. This tension between what images can and cannot do is an enigma that we still can’t let go of, even in our supposedly indifferent and cynical present.
Berco Wilsenach – Light Boxes
Wilsenach is known for his exploration of the meanings inherent in a diverse range of alternative materials. His recent use of glass has placed the qualities of fragility, transparency and light at the core of his work.
Wilsenach mostly works with glass sheets, either stacked together to form a solid shape or layered to create dimensionality through successive drawings. His work testifies to the ethereality and temporality of natural phenomena.
In an ever more urgent state of climate emergency, the unthinking exploitation of resources and the disappearance of a myriad of species worldwide, it will only be collected specimens and data that will remain as documentation of the world as we know it.
For this exhibition, clouds, stars and flowers are presented as if in a state of frozen permanence. By referencing the age of discovery and the multitude of specimens that were transported to Europe for investigation and exposition, Wilsenach tries to capture fleeting natural instances in wooden crates, an irony that underpins humans’ attempts at taking ownership of the unattainable.