WHATIFTHEWORLD present No Everything an exhibition of new work by Rowan Smith.
With this latest body of work, Smith employs complex mixed media sculpture and found objects in order to examine the tension between South Africa’s past and present in relation to shifting class identities, globalized economy, and the experience of the everyday. Opening within a month of South Africa’s national elections, the exhibition examines the complexities and contradictions of contemporary South Africa two decades after seemingly transitioning non-violently into post-apartheid. This is a condition defined early-on by an alternating sense of rapprochement and amnesia embedded in ideological nationalist constructs.
Through acts of appropriation, defacement, re-presentation, destruction and reparation, Smith examines and reveals the socio-political structures embedded in seemingly quotidian signifiers of contemporary South African existence. In this way, icons such as the logo for the Spur restaurant franchise, discarded potato chip packets, springbok horns, broken glass, chicken bones, rubble, drift wood, and the apparent omnipresence of Cecil John Rhodes become fragmented as remnants. It is through these remnants that Smith’s sculptures critique the deployment of capitalism associated with the development of South Africa and its reflection in class stratification and the effacement of Africa’s colonial history. The work reflects a state of transition between construction and demolition, where the subtractive labor of destruction gives rise to the cumulative labor of construction. This is an entropic cycle, caught in an ahistorical intermediate phase where everyday South African semiosis becomes forgotten amongst the rubble.
SATURDAY, JUNE 7th
11h00 – 14h00