original oil paintings by south african artist

L O S T at Fried Contemporary Art Gallery & Studio - Press Release

Jan van der Merwe

Jan van der Merwe uses contemporary events, such as war and energy crises as inspiration for his work. In the installation Power Failure silence is frozen. In addition, Power Failure suggests that all activity quietens and settles down, thereby becoming a metaphor for spiritual breakdown or the interruption of a pursuit. Van der Merwe therefore suggests that new technology must be developed to discover ancient truths and phenomena.

Killing time refers to power hungry players who plan wars from behind their desks. Furthermore it alludes to everyday disruptive and destructive behaviour, habits and repetitive patterns, frustrations and compulsive behaviour that result in meaningless personal wars. The mound of little “paper” aeroplanes is like small mountains of lost chances and lost moments.

Willem Boshoff 

Bread and pebble road map is a map whose cartographer has thoroughly lost the directions of the way to peace. Within the 40 shallow whitewashed boxes a trail of pebbles has been laid to show the way. It is however hardly possible to distinguish the stones from the bread placed between them. Boshoff has constructed, as many times before, a ‘map to get lost by’.   The roadmap links two well-known tales. In a story of bitter betrayal by a father of his children, Hansel and Gretel are led into the woods. Their father hopes that they might never find their way home. At the first attempt, Hansel is able to retrace his steps following the pebbles.  The second trail is lost because the birds have eaten the bread that marked it. When Ahraham sends Hagar with the infant Ishmael into the desert he gives her bread and water. When the water and bread are spent, Hagar places the child under a bush, not wanting to witness its death. God however has other plans for Ismael. He wants to make him the father of a great nation.  Like the river Jordan, Boshoff’s ‘roadmap’ winds its way through the desert.  The stones and the bread are marked with Arabic names and their meanings in an attempt to put the full register of Arabic names at risk. Each pebble may fill the fist that holds it, big enough to be a deadly weapon. 

Johan Conradie

Johan Conradie suspects that his work will always resolve around issues of loss, absence, ruin and silence. In these new works created for this show, he explores ‘eschatological space’ mainly through the photographic medium. Images of a ghostly dark counter-world, eerily silent and strangely empty, predominate. In these images, ranging from empty chairs to graveyard iconography, beauty, ruin and spirituality freely overlaps. The work oscillates between the photographic and the painterly, between the virtual space of representation and the material surface, between past and present, that which has been and that which is.  Light has been a crucial symbol in European religious art, early on as an emblem of God’s grace passing down to earth and later as a symbol of psychological awareness, connoting personal enlightenment. In Conradie’s work light is used, ambiguously moving between the spiritual, the psychological and the technological without resolution. 


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