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Terra's final installment suggests retrospective

by Marilyn de Freitas posted on June 28, 2012.

Diane Victor, No Man's Land (2012) (detail)

The Fried Contemporary art gallery in Pretoria opened its final installment of the Terra exhibition series on 23 June 2012. Elfriede Dreyer, curator of the exhibition, states that Terra Pericolosa explores the relationship of the self to place, land, soil or territory. The title refers to an Italian phrase for "dangerous land", used in cartography to denote regions that are believed to be likely to put the travellers in jeopardy. Such regions would probably not have been mapped or documented fully. Dreyer explains the works displayed engage with perceptions of spaces that are 'empty', a kind of metaphoric 'no-man's land' with potential danger when entering.

Tribute artist, Diane Victor, is no stranger to uncovering of buried histories. Her works expose narratives and memories of historical or political nature. Diane Victor is an internationally recognised South African artist. Dreyer states Victor is known for her meticulous, technical skill and inventive techniques but most famously for her razor-sharp political and social commentary often using images that shock her audience. In No-mans land (2012), Victor shows a desolate and fragmented landscape with buried memories in an almost apocalyptic scene.

Keith Dietrich's work maps out three major river courses in South Africa which have a strong colonial war history but is a source of sustaining society that is under threat due to overusage. Dietrich's cartography is both a depiction of the physical impact of the human race on the environment and the underlying pain and suffering brought by the conflicts at these points of departure that has changed our South African history.

Johannesburg based artist and researcher, Karin Preller's canvases suggest narrative with underlying tones of imminent danger and psychological unease rendered by the selective use of colour, darkness and light. Her film still depictions offer its viewers a look into private spaces and dangerous moments.

The mixed media work by Carolyn Parton, a Cape Town based artist, shows the environmental issues society faces through landfills and human urbanisation. Her recycled paint canvases fall to pieces onto the gallery floor below enticing disgust in the audience at its waste or admiration for something new.

Diek Grobler depicts hand-drawn maps and diary entries of a 2nd Lieutenant in the Artillery in the Angolan war in 1975. Grobler's images, whose works are often humorous with an underlining serious message, show the naive fearlessness of a young soldier for the unknown enemy in a 'secret war' and its battlefields. Grobler juxtaposes the memoirs with dark maps of imaginary battlefields.

Other artists and works include Georgia Papageorge's installation Inferno and video work entitled Kilimanjaro/ColdFire; Unisa Visual Arts lecturer, Gwenneth Miller's scientific look at pollution; academic and artist, Paul Cooper's dangerous spaces; and the well-known Pretoria based sculptor, Sybrand Wiechers, explores the use of natural materials and our dependance on them.

Terra pericolosa offers an exploration of the land we inhabit and how we interact with the land and essentially destroy it though our consumption and waste turning our present landscape into dangerous spaces. The exhibition runs until 28 July 2012.

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