The word Speculum
refers to 'a medical instrument for
opening of a body cavity in order to examine the interior.' Serving
as a common thread between the many facets of the works, it implies a
process of invasion, scrutiny, inspection and introspection.
Botha's installations - which incorporate sculptures, paintings and
prints - reflect on the individual's absorption into the encompassing
hierarchical structures of statehood and society. By visually
interfering with venerated forms of art, artefact and decoration, he
offers comment on the distorted and ephemeral nature of grandeur and
tradition. In several of his installations this subversion of
symbolic imagery alludes to the slow but inevitable decay that
edifices to authority and self-importance are bound to undergo.
Upon viewing Wim Botha's art, one is drawn into an environment of
seductive yet ambiguous signals where art historical references and
types create a sombre tension. The viewer's share in this experience
is one of almost involuntary association whereby the various elements
displayed acquire a personal meaning. If all of this sounds too
serious, it needs to be mentioned that the work - both in terms of
medium and imagery - is not void of humour or irony. These are in
fact consciously considered adjuncts that often provide immediate
access for uncovering rich seems of meaning.
Click here for the catalogue essay Ceremonial bodies inside-out | looking with Wim
Botha's speculum by Frederick Eksteen.
Since graduating from the University of Pretoria in 1996, Botha's
work has been widely acclaimed and garnered numerous awards (two of
which were for Best Artwork (2001) and being selected as Festival
Artist (2003) at the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival in
Oudshoorn). Major sculptural works by the artist have been included
in the Johannesburg Art Gallery, BHP Billiton, SASOL, ABSA and
numerous university collections.
For more information contact +27 (0)21 421 2575 or fax +27 (0)21 421
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