David Krut Projects present Two Social Pacifiers ጡጦ is an exhibition of prints and paintings by Ethiopian artist Endale Desalegn, following the completion of his second residency at our Parkwood studio.
This new body of work is a profound meditation on the ways we perceive everyday objects in light of the social structures that dictate how we relate to the world. For Endale, who was born under the Derg – a Soviet influenced communist period in recent Ethiopian history – “it is striking that the hammer and sickle universally represent communism, yet there is no one recognizable symbol for capitalism”. He calls on metaphorical visual tropes, such as a baby’s milk bottle and a pacifier, to draw connections between natural and constructed systems of social dependence. Where the milk bottle stands for the adult’s relationship to an ATM, the pacifier evokes methods of compensation used to sooth unfulfilled desires.
Many of the works grapple with concepts of dissatisfaction and a painstaking state of waiting, explored through symbols such as a scale and tally marks, which also conjure consumerist modes of measurement and monotonous counting techniques which resonate across cultures.
By deploying familiar but abstracted social signifiers in this current body of work, this contemplative and compelling exhibition invites the viewer to construct one’s own narrative of free association within a contemporary context where consumerism has become inextricably bound up with notions of freedom and identity.
*ጡጦ – Amharic for a baby’s bottle and a pacifier, interchangeably. Pronounced “tu-to”.
Opening: Thursday 5 November at 142 Jan Smuts Avenue, Parkwood.