@ERG - JOHAN STEGMANN: 'N GOEIE DAG VIR 'N SLAG (A BLOODRIVER / NCOME MONUMENT)

PRESS RELEASE

@ERG - JOHAN STEGMANN: 'N GOEIE DAG VIR 'N SLAG (A BLOODRIVER / NCOME MONUMENT)
Oct 10 – Nov 3, 2018

JOHAN STEGMANN

‘n Goeie Dag vir ‘n Slag (a Bloodriver / Ncome Monument)

EVERARD READ GALLERY

11 OCTOBER – 4 NOVEMBER 2018

Collaborators: Adam Heyns, Layziehound Coka, Nico van Loggerenberg, Simone Nortmann, Judy Woodborne and Michele Rolstone

I am intrigued by duality - especially in history, morality, and the apparent schism between logic and intuition. I interrogate the Eurocentric nature of contemporary South African (and global) culture by playfully retelling history through images 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's a risk of merely perpetuating the supposed authority of said tradition rather than questioning it.

However, 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 stripped of it's 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.

The Battle of Bloodriver (Die Slag van Bloedrivier / iMpi yaseNcome) was a hugely significant battle in the history of South Africa. It epitomised the dichotomic nature of history, where the same set of 'facts' (assuming they are accepted as true) holds a completely different meaning depending on which side of the Ncome river you look at them from. The title 'n Goeie Dag vir 'n Slag is an Afrikaans term that means both “A good day at last” and “A good day for a slaughter”.

The impactful nature of this event drove me to try and purposefully juxtapose the stories of Bloodriver with experiences in contemporary South Africa, as well as to juxtapose it against the fascinating story of the late Ds. Johan Heyns.

I aim to create images where irreconcilable ideas co-exist in a way that allows new thoughts or feelings to emerge – hopefully transcending the binary. It is my hope that an earnest engagement with the dualities of history can contribute to fruitful discussions and build social cohesion.

Part of my objective with this body of work is to question the notion that a neutral “History” exists, nor that a "neutral" or "correct" voice is a prerequisite to a meaningful dialogue. As such, I represented the aforementioned 'Eurocentric' voice by means of channelling my own Afrikaans heritage.

For more information and/or images, please contact gallery@everard.co.za 011 788 4805 or Musa Nxumalo at musa@everard.co.za