Can you bend history the way you bend light?
Artist Wim Botha explores the transformation of light, manipulating canonical artworks and symbols of Afrikaans identity
Contemporary artist Wim Botha is about to present visitors to Norval Foundation in Tokai with a new exhibition that explores the transformation of light. It launches on September 29 and will run until January 22 2019
The theme that unites all work in Botha’s exhibition is refraction, understood in optics as the transformation of light by splitting into a visible rainbow spectrum or distortion through material such as glass or a prism.
This principle is used by Botha both literally, by applying dichroic filters to glass surfaces, and metaphorically, for the transformation and manipulation of canonical artworks and symbols of Afrikaans identity.
Botha transforms familiar symbols and icons, suggestive of the artist's ambivalence towards European and Afrikaans culture, in which he is at once deeply invested and critical in terms of SA’s colonial and apartheid histories.
Within this ambivalence, Botha continues to search for a visual language that articulates the contradictory, complex nature of being human.
A keen pupil of the history of European art, Botha has wrestled with the legacy of seminal art objects from antiquity, the Italian Renaissance and the Baroque throughout his career, searching for their relevance within a contemporary South African context. Simultaneously, he has taken symbols associated with his Afrikaans identity and shifted their meanings in subtle ways.
Join the artist on September 29 at 4pm for a panel discussion with art critic Liese van der Watt, writer Ashraf Jamal and curator Owen Martin.