Southern Guild, in collaboration with Cavalli Estate, presents On Lines and Lineage, a group exhibition curated by Jana Terblanche.
On Lines and Lineage investigates line as a physical marker of presence, tracing connections between formal and familial ties. Excavations at Blombos Cave in Stilbaai on the Southern Cape coast uncovered the earliest known abstract rock drawing by Homo sapiens. The 73,000-year-old rock fragment inscribed with a cross-hatch pattern in red ochre crayon points to early man’s creative urge to mark and make real both our intimate and collective narratives. Through the simple intersplicing of lines, we reveal who we are and who we desire to be.
This exhibition trails the conscious and subconscious stories we expound through our ancient use of line. The energetic marks at play in Christine Jacobs’ charcoal drawings map sites of memory and retrace the constructed histories of her childhood landscape on her family’s sheep farm in the Free State. In her mind, the landscape is an “epidermis which collects data or traces of what is has hosted and engulfed”. Similarly, Adam Birch’s functional timber sculptures bear the direct biological traces of each tree’s twisting forms, heightening the unique character of each fork through his own intervention. He scoops out sections of wood and refines the profiles of the remaining limbs to create dynamic lines and reveal the timber’s grain.
Reverence for the natural world is a continuous thread throughout the work on show. Sculptor Otto du Plessis finds the articulated forms and arrangement of bones in an ostrich skeleton lend themselves to the creation of a cage-like light fixture. The Hok Chandelier is expertly naturalistic even as it distorts reality by deploying the bones in repeated formations. The peculiar landscape of the Northern Cape inspires the rugged fluidity of Martine Jackson’s earthenware sculpture, Detour, and the organic textures and shapes of Andile Dyalvane’s ceramic and forged copper work whose name, Ihobo-hobo, refers to the Cape weaver bird.
In Kamyar Bineshtarigh’s Factory Wall and Studio Wall series, walls serve as a breathing record of the passing of time. In these palimpsestic works, the Iranian-born artist responded to found marks on the walls of his workspace by layering his own intuitive language of marks echoing the Farsi calligraphy practised by his father and uncle. Galia Gluckman’s work, Evocation, also interlaces contemporary abstraction with personal history. Her methodically crafted work, made from thousands of pieces of cut paper, emanates from an intense engagement with making that stretches back to her maternal grandparents’ knitting factory in Czechoslovakia before the Second World War. Her use of disjointed lines to create raised, mountainous surfaces hints at her familial history of migration and fragmentation.
Dominque Zinkpè’s practice is directly influenced by Beninese folklore and East African totems. His sculptural forms, as evident in Living Spirit, are constructed from layering carved wooden Ibeji dolls that evoke the Yoruba concept of twinship. In Zimelegeqe (Standing on My Own), ceramic artist Madoda Fani enacts his unique, pattered mark-making technique inspired by exoskeletons. His visual language straddles the prehistoric and futuristic, thus interlinking past and future generations.
The conjured worlds of Terence Maluleke and Navel Seakamela reverberate with ancestral and familial ties. Maluleke’s series of large-scale paintings depicts his sister and by extension, he says, himself. The lily motif transforms into origami birds taking flight, an expression of his subject’s resilience and the artist’s aspiration for her dreams to be realised. The title of Seakamela’s motho ke motho ka botho series translates to “I am because you are” – a pertinent summation of the interconnection of personhood and bloodline.
On Lines and Lineage celebrates our ability to create shared histories through line-making – telling stories that speak volumes about our culture with the simple intersplicing of lines.
Wild olive timber
64 x 64 x 43 cm