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Exploring the Johannesburg landscape - An interview with Lynette van Tonder Article Image

Exploring the Johannesburg landscape - An interview with Lynette van Tonder

Posted on 17 July 2015

Lynette van Tonder told us about her online exhibition, Urbanism which explores the relationship between a Euro-African woman and her mother-city, Johannesburg.

Architecture, flesh, masculine and feminine states, relationships and isolation, bravery and fear inform this body of work.

[ART.CO.ZA]: Your exhibition explores the relationship between a Euro-African woman and Johannesburg. What are your personal experiences of the urban city?

[LYNETTE VAN TONDER]: With various inner city renewal projects, Johannesburg is fast becoming more approachable to the euro-african, single female. Inspired by its cosmopolitain character and brave inhabitants, I am frustrated by a shameful sense of exclusion due to political and safety issues. Joburg can be a harsh environment to survive in, but that's exactly what I love. It breeds tenacity, boldness and fresh ideas. Excess comfort can be deadly to creativity and invention.

[A]: The exhibition has particular references to architecture. Tell us about your use of structures and buildings in your works?

[L]: There is potency in the presence of an architectural structure affecting everyone either positively or negatively, even if they are not aware of it. Architects have a huge responsibility to society, to present and future generations. My works call architects and government to attention. The buildings portrayed are governmental, financial, cultural and structural images representing obvious issues of control and manipulation, in certain cases subsequent loss of that control.

Due to safety and security issues these buildings can mostly only be admired from a distance, which leaves a void of longing and frustration akin to a love affair gone sour. Even if a touch might be granted it would be stone cold and unyielding. The works portray the constant flux in the relationship of power and powerlessness.

[A]: Your works are layered with various mediums. How do you use the mediums to capture elements of discomfort?

[L]: Images are forbidden to rest on the substrate long enough to become comfortable. Before long they are interrogated and often obliterated completely with a new image forming in its place. Various mediums layered create a tenuous hierarchy of textures, colours and lines, each new layer assaulting the previous layer, a never ending war for prominence and control ensues. Some works become in danger of disappearing completely, like Vanish.

View the exhibition [here].

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