Of shapes transformed to bodies strange I purpose to entreat.
(Arthur Goldings, Ovid’s Metamorphoses)
Lovingly blend into one - find the more excellent world.
(From The Metamorphosis of Plants, by Goethe, 1797)
The German sociologist Helmut Willke coined the phrase Atopia as a redefinition of a certain spatial territory; a placenessness or a non-place, a place without borders.
a = not
topia = root
His point of interest focused on the concept of globalization, the act of erasing the relevance of ‘nationhood’ and (more relevant to my own interest) the idea of an identity that is amorphous; other examples: European feng shui, Asianized McDonalds, Chinese Ikebana, Taiwanese hip hop.
In this new body of work I explore this paradoxical spatial condition transformed into physical objects. I refer to my sculptures as new hybrids, indicative of existing plants yet formally and physically new and otherworldly. Personally I draw from my own experience as an Afrikaner, caught in a schism of non-affiliation with the older generation and unpacking the meaning of ‘evolving identity’.
The starting point was an interest in Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arrangement according to strict rules and principles, evolved over a long history. In its purist form it is an absorbing study leading to deeper insight into the meaning of life, its contradictions, resolution in recognition and acceptance. It must be approached receptively and requires an intuitive response to the material, not unlike my approach to art-making.