28.02.19 – 26.04.19
SMAC Gallery is pleased to present Working From The Inside, a solo exhibition by Belinda Blignaut.
Emerging in the early 1990s, Belinda Blignaut (b.1968) was one of the group of young conceptual and experimental artists whose work served as a commentary on the social and political uncertainty of South Africa, often in challenging or, at the very least, critical terms. Belinda Blignaut’s work suggests an urgency for protest and change.
Through varied series over decades, she has been processing issues around transformation, with the body at the centre of all. Through an engagement with everyday materials she hopes to translate the ways we adapt and communicate, a quiet visceral investigation into life and the creative process.
Her recent work takes her interest in materiality as a metaphor for psychological transformation into series of sculptural clay vessels. In looking to create from a deeper source, Blignaut began digging her own wild clay, allowing for chance, unknowns and the natural reactions. She translates psychologies of people and place in each piece, seeking complex surfaces and celebrating imperfection through transformations in this honest and raw terrain.
Taking her interest in the relationship we form with clay out into the lives of others, she began facilitating expression for all through classes from her studio. She has registered a non profit organisation and works with people who have special needs, facilitating expression and documenting research with her team of psychologists and care givers.
From these processes arose a series of vessels titled “Working From The Inside”. The artist works from the inside of her large scale vessels to build them, making a second skin around herself, shaping the clay as it shapes her, both pushed and pulled to limits. This experience is somewhere been wrestling and allowing the object to find its own personality.
Raw clay is malleable and working with it requires listening. Part of the creation of the series is done performatively. Blignaut, in collaboration with musician hashtag_blacknoise, has recorded the sounds of the making process from inside the earth, where she digs her own clay, right through to the making of the work with a microphone on the inside. When performing in front of an audience, the audio is created live, an earthy heartbeat with noise.
For the viewer, this translates even further the final transformations of a material filled with memory and a history of millions of years, in a constant state of flux until the final stages where mud is changed to stone through intense heat. This isn’t art alone, it is a philosophy. The fight to surrender, to be transformed every single time, working from the inside and outside simultaneously. A lot like dancing, a lot like life.