Renowned South African contemporary artist Wim Botha is set to enthral visitors to Norval Foundation in Tokai with “Wim Botha: Heliostat”, a brand new exhibition exploring the transformation of light, launched on 29 September 2018 and running until 22 January 2019 in Galleries 2-8.
The theme that unites all work in Botha’s exhibition is refraction, understood in optics as the transformation of light by splitting into 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 throughout the exhibition, 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, but of which he is also critical in terms of South Africa’s colonial and Apartheid histories. Within this ambivalence, Botha’s 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 yet powerful ways.
Join Norval Foundation in celebrating the opening of the exhibition with a talk with the artist at 4 PM on Saturday, 29 September followed by a reception. The event is appropriate for all ages and no formal art education is required.
Heliostat: Wim Botha
29 September 2018 – 22 January 2019
Curated by Owen Martin