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HOUSE & GARDEN - MAY 2006 - Julia Rowand


'I am able to fly in these works,' says Pretoria based artist Eric Duplan of his bird's-eye-view impressions of the land. His topographical paintings are testament to the freedom and overwhelming sense of space he associates with his two favorite places – the Cederberg and the Karoo. There is no doubt that the chosen terrain is mapped out in a way that is both soulful and intriguingly exact.

These works are like stylized maps or technical design plans and are vehicles for the artist to fulfill his passion for architecture. Exhibeted alongside Rebecca Tetley's ceramics this month in Pretoria at the Tina Skukan Gallery, Duplan's works are mysterious puzzles to be solved. There is another venture on the agenda for the artist.

Contemporary art collector and hotel owner Harrie Siertsema invited a varied and talented group of artists to decorate the rooms of the Graskop Hotel on the Mpumalanga escarpment near Pilgrim's Rest. 'Room 22,' Duplan says, 'is a transcendental place of calm and nature, where man can connect to the heavens.' As well as photographer Phyllis Green's black-and-white tree images and cabinet maker Schalk van Niekerk's furniture, the room features Duplan's impression of the Bourke's Luck Potholes at the confluence of the Blyde and Treur Rivers. While realistically depicting contours, shadows and vast skyscapes, Duplan challenges his viewers by leaving the wok incomplete, using symbols to suspend reality and express his inner journey. There's also the appeal of an understated colour sensibility, which reflects the muted hues he grew accustomed to, living on the West Coast farm for 13 years. Eric Duplan is taking the long view of all that most typifies our lonely places.


The latest work from artist Eric Duplan will be on show from Saturday at Harrie Pancakes, Eastwood Village, Arcadia. Duplan was born in Bayonne, France in 1962. He spent his childhood in the democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda. He later moved with his parents to South Africa, where he studied at the School of Performing Arts in Johannesburg. He also studied interior design and stained glass-making.

Duplan started painting in 1988 on a west coast farm, where he worked for 13 years. His works consist of large realistic landscapes and seascapes, topographical and architectural works which he re-interprets into figures and symbols. He is represented in innumerable corporate, private, local and international collections and now lives in Pretoria.

In his work he deals with various issues relating to man's journey on Earth. According to quantum physics everything on this planet is connected and interconnected, so that a person can make the assumption that one cannot harm the planet without harming ourselves.

The artist is concerned with memory - recording man's journey through life. A central theme of his work is how mankind leaves its mark on this planet. And that is what his work tries to capture.

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