Natasja De Wet Izmir Biennale 2011 | | Art in South Africa
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Izmir Biennale, Turkey - 2011


This body of work is an extension of Excavating Solid Courage exhibited at the Florence Biennale in 2009. The point of departure for these works was a desire to seek greater depth of understanding, an excavation of inner resources.

De Wet undertook this investigation through a process comprised of four stages:

1. Writing a poem and choreographing a dance in response to it;
2. Performing the dance wrapped in gauze on the canvas on which the artwork would be made;
3. Photographing the performance; and
4. Integrating the photographs into the final mixed-media artwork comprised of ink, pencils, oils, gauze and cotton on paper and canvas.

The poem that served as the starting point of this process reads as follows:

I am excavating solid courage,
Ambivalent spiralling,
Pushing in the direction of clarity.
I am contemplating,
Unfolding the balance,
Containing nurturing love,
Shaping me.

Translating this poem into dance provided a tool by which to explore concepts of moving and unfolding, concealing and revealing. The use of gauze in both the performance of the dance and the final artworks speaks of vulnerability, healing, protection, and the extraction of courage from within. Similarly, the act of weaving that was involved in the construction of some works is evocative of that which is containing, nurturing, and unifying.

Through this process-based, mixed media approach to art making, De Wet encourages an excavation and contemplation of the inner workings of the self.

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