@CIRCA - JOHAN STEGMANN: HISTORY: A WASTE OF TIME. A COLLECTION OF PAST AND PRESENT WORKS
Feb 8 – Mar 3, 2018
HISTORY: A WASTE OF TIME. A COLLECTION OF PAST AND PRESENT WORKS
8 FEBRUARY – 3 MARCH 2018
I am interested in historical and moral duality, as well as the apparent schism between logic and intuition. I interrogate the Eurocentric nature of contemporary South African (and global) culture by playfully retelling history and expressing dissatisfaction with the presumptuous nature of analytical thought.
‘History: a waste of Time’ focuses on my growing body of etchings and charcoal drawings that draw on the beauty and perceived canonical authority of classical Western artworks while subverting the very assumptions that underpin this kind of imagery.
When working in the Western tradition and drawing on its historical imagery, there is a risk of merely perpetuating the supposed authority of said tradition rather than questioning it.
I prefer a counter-intuitive approach to the above-mentioned problem: by surrendering to my infatuation with Euro-centric imagery and exaggerating its self-assured narrative to the point of absurdity, the Eurocentric voice can be caused to shed its veneer of absolute authority. Thus, the fallibility of a world-view can become exemplified in the fallibility of its imagery. Rather than prescribing a particular 'alternative' narrative, I hope to inspire viewers of my work to re-evaluate the meaning of “history” for themselves.
My interest in questioning the Eurocentric South African worldview was originally triggered some years ago when I moved to the mythical city centre of Johannesburg. I found it baffling, furious and obscene. The more time I spent in Jozi, the more I became aware of a jarring disconnect between my pro-Western bubble and the realities of a city unlike anything I had known before.
Although most of my work naturally contains autobiographical elements, my greater aim is to question certain collective assumptions of Western society's privileged class. I try to challenge the viewer by first challenging myself.