Capturing moments of malfunction

Corné Eksteen’s Wilhelm Scream I, an oil on canvas measuring 80cm x 80cm x 5cm.


DURBAN artist Corné Eksteen is presenting Anomaly, an exhibition of portraits, at Durban’s Artspace gallery, until December 22.

The exhibition, which opened on December 2, is the final one of the year at the gallery at 3 Millar Road, off Umgeni Road. It will feature a walkabout with the artist at 11am on Saturday, December 9. He will discuss themes, concepts and techniques used in the artworks.

“As much as contemporary art is about commentary on art itself, some of its fundamental intent remains: art is about reflecting (in some cases even defining) our times, values and culture,” says Eksteen.

“When one looks back at the legacy of art and the timeline in human history it represents, you become aware of our ever-growing, ever-expanding visual language: our ability to continuously develop new modes of expression and our capacity for and vigour in constantly creating new visual metaphors, incorporating imagery from an ever-changing world in new and innovative reflections of that world.

“Today more than ever, a good level of visual literacy is as important as a higher education in navigating a culture that is visually driven in every aspect.”

It is this highly developed visual language of the 21st century, with “dialects” of symbolism, iconography and branding, that serve as primary reference for this body of work, adds Eksteen.

“Our visual culture is largely driven by technology.  Much of our everyday experience of the world is now filtered through a screen of some kind. Our technology is not flawless and often presents us with ‘glitches’ or visual malfunctions.

“As a starting point I am ‘capturing’ and incorporating these moments of malfunction, both accidental and intentional, in the creation of a new series of portraits. Using these imperfections as a vehicle for social commentary and commentary on art itself.”

Works in the series explore the polarities between the controlled and unpredictable, he says, adding that the exhibition “focuses on the repurposing of intentionally corrupted imagery and questions what it means if we reclaim the ‘errors’ in our technology and use them as tools in representing and defining ourselves”.

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