Featuring work by Dr Johan Thom, Kyra Pape, Alison Shaw, Shenaz Mahomed, Dirk Bahmann, Niel Nieuwoudt, Wayne Matthews and more.
Genesis 2:7, vay’hi ha-adam l’nefesh chayah, "man became a living being," as "man became a speaking being" (Targum Yonatan 2:7).
In the beginning, there is that first word, first formed, spoken, spat out, that like a seed falls to the receptive abyss below. “And that in those [still] waters IT had formed a mild mound or two”, punctuating and articulating the infinite “and it recapitulated until all had come into being”.
Nearly all mythical cosmologies, with the exception of scientific materialism (the one and only Physical Cosmology), holds language, speech, writing, ‘the word’ central to creation. The story goes like this; “First there was the word…” and in the naming, there was differentiation and deference and so, relation and through relation, in turn, there is meaning. Even the physical cosmologist starts their story with the big ‘bang’, (the gods are forever banging) an audible, generative ‘clap’, where/when nothing became something.
The exhibition project 'Flesh Made Word' considers, on the one hand, this generative action, transfiguring thought to form; the word made flesh. On another hand, the project hopes to draw attention to a reciprocal force. Material seems resistant to clear and/or permanent inscription, it always holds meaning beyond the inscriptive and descriptive intentions directed at it. One could even say that the object vanishes (as fact) beneath this variability of the inscription itself. Marcel Duchamp obliquely pointed to this space of difference with his notion of the ‘art coefficient’; a relation “between the unexpressed but intended and the unintentionally expressed”. It is in this space of difference, beyond the supposed stability of artwork and message, that we believe the project will be most revelatory. As a space (lightly) marked by the infamous go-betweens, Eros, Jacob, the Crane, Mercury, Thoth, Hermaphrodite, the colon and the semi-colon we think that the project may stress the values of the artwork as auger and Oracle, where the unknown comes out to play.
It is as an open question mark and a challenge to the fixity of 'things', that this two-month exhibition project brings together the work of the initial group of artists, Johan Thom, Alison Shaw, Neil Nieuwoudt, DirkBahmann, Wayne Matthews, Kyra Pape, Shenaz Mahomed. Presenting their work in an ever-shifting dynamic where works are exchanged and rotated, confronting the static norm of the 'exhibition' with both carefully planned amendment and the wonders of aleatory play and so, hopefully exposing the fluid nature of the artwork as signifier.