Thicker Skin 2008 | Association for Visual Arts Cape Town
The image of a fragile rosebud was the catalyst for De Wet’s exploration that culminated in the body of work titled Thicker Skin. The painful processing of matters of the soul is explored through materials and processes that reference the form and resonance of the rosebud.
The form of the rosebud is translated in the work on show using various materials, including fabric, latex, gauze, bandages, rubber and paper. Each sculptural form is contained within a secure Perspex box, isolated and seemingly vulnerable despite its protective case.
The need to form a thicker skin is conveyed by the layering of the materials that form each piece, like a shield or the tightly packed petals of the rosebud. These layers are created from soft materials that, in both their materiality and form, reveal a tension between their physical fragility and their protective ‘stances’ evoked through the tight binding and layering of materials.
Protection is juxtaposed with sensitivity. The tightly folded rosebud speaks to the possibility of blossoming, the shedding of skin to make room for a new, stronger outer layer. Similarly, the works included in Thicker Skin evoke the complexities and contradictions involved in this very human journey of transformation: concealing, revealing, insecurity, sexuality and liberation.
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