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Review of Sasol New Signatures 2019

This year’s Sasol New Signatures was filled with a lot of technically complicated artworks and quite a lot of portraits.

Thee seemed to be a subtle theme reflecting a search for oneself in young artists in South Africa and a highlighting on the technical ability of the artists.

I do wish the sculptures had perhaps been treated slightly differently they faded instead of being focal points in the space.

Artworks that really intrigued me included the work of Timothy Nicholas Dempers with his artworks ‘Bloom’ (image 1) made of stainless steel, lead, copper and automotive paint and ‘Not all Wounds bleed’ (image 2) Corten steel, lead, copper and automotive paint. It looks like he shot bullets of paint at the metal sheets. The residue of violence left behind evokes a feeling of the violence what art can achieve.

The second artist I really enjoy was Hannah Kempe’s ‘Story of a line’ (image 3) which was Linocut on black fabriano. The complexity of the mark making and the language of line in the work really spoke to me. It reminded me of Walter Battiss’s drawings and that it was a printmaking endeavor showcases skill.

The third artist that really caught my eye was Siphosethu Sicelo Knosi. His mixed media diptych ‘Conviction nokholo’ (image 4) reflects a dark world featuring a figure and a cat. His use of newspaper in the figure was beautiful in how he crumpled and used in to form shadows and lines. The use of news to create a figure makes me think of how we digest and absorb news.

The fourth artist’s work that I really enjoyed was Lourens Petrus Bester’s ‘Mindscape’ (image 5) which was a sculptural installation Wood off cuts. I love the materiality of wood and the layering of wood off cuts mixed with positive and negative space made for a very interesting visual experience of walking around the work.

The fifth artist Bianca Oosthuyse created a visual experience with her piece titled ‘ri: -pe’-zì-f-(e)n’ (image 6) that was made of tissue paper and black archival ink it held an air of solemnity. The delicate nature of the paper and how it overflowed and layered was beautiful. The pen left on the work made it seem like it was at a pause evoking feelings of an unfinished story.

The sixth artist I found made a very different work was Nico Ras with his Charcoal Diptych ‘Judas bok/ Pa, ek hoor hom fluister’ (image 7) the technical skills used on the drawing enhance the terror and it reflects an internal battle through the contrast of light and dark.

The artist Boikanyo Louisah Mashigo uses photography to capture a different kind of internal battle where the hair she covers the figure in acts as a shield and a strength in ‘Protected 1 & 2’ (image8) a photographic Diptych.

The final piece that really stuck with me was by Lerole Dalson Dikgale a Mixed Media Sculpture titled ‘Evidence’ (image 9). The drenched panties left on the washing line held by the wooden pegs draws me immediately to the problem of sexual violence in South Africa. Her contrast of using such a heavy, mailable material to describe often such an intangible and fragile thing as evidence in cases like this is masterful. It reflects the heaviness and weight the victims carry.

The Sasol New Signatures show is open at the Pretoria Art Museum till the 29th of September.


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