Water Dixon: The Venus Effect

Doyle Wham, London, United Kingdom
15 Sep 2022 - 12 Nov 2022

Featured Image: Vibrant Matter II - Close-up Surface View (2021). Courtesy of Water Dixon and Doyle Wham

Featured Image: Vibrant Matter II - Close-up Surface View (2021). Courtesy of Water Dixon and Doyle Wham

Doyle Wham announces the launch of The Venus Effect, an exhibition of South African artist duo WATER DIXON. Water Dixon’s first solo show in Europe will feature new work that demonstrates the extent of their interdisciplinary artistic practice, from sculpture to photography. The exhibition runs from 15 September – 12 November and is an official partner of London Design Festival, also coinciding with Frieze and 1-54.

Water Dixon are simultaneously artists and alchemists. Through years of collaboration and experimentation with materials such as copper, glass and brass, they have developed unique metallurgical processes that accelerate the natural chemical reactions caused by time, oxygen and heat.

The title, The Venus Effect, refers to the art historical tradition seen in the paintings of Rubens, Titan and Velazquez of depicting the goddess Venus in the form of a mirror reflection. A symbol of pleasure and femininity, Venus has also come to represent the gap that exists between observation and reality. This idea of ambiguous reflection is central to Water Dixon’s work and is explicitly addressed in a new series debuting at Doyle Wham: Conceal / Reveal. In these wall-hung sculptures, naturally reflective materials are rendered dull and vice versa. In addition, some elements are sealed while others are left exposed to the elements, gradually evolving over time. The artists take modern alchemy further in the series Supernovas, where the viewer witnesses catalytic reactions that have taken place on the surface of the artwork through carefully timed exposure to chemical solutions, creating abstract designs that are both natural and unnatural.

Water Dixon play with the balance between design and nature in every aspect of their work, including through photography and film. This exhibition will feature the photographic series The Four Doors, which captures the presence of Water Dixon’s light sculptures, temporarily installed at Spier Wine Estate in Stellenbosch beside bodies of water, to create hauntingly beautiful reflections. These images explore the nature of impermanence and human interventions in natural landscapes.

Throughout the exhibition, the relationship between material, person and environment will be celebrated more intimately through a series of performances: dinner parties where food will be prepared directly on copper slabs using flame-based methods. The surface of these slabs will transform throughout the time-bound performance as a result of these interactions, until they are rendered complete artworks at the close of the event – capturing a special moment in time.




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