2012 - Venus At Home

The trajectory of my work shows a fascination with the everyday. In a very early student work I brushed my teeth for an hour trying to highlight and compress the daily routine of this act into one long event. Subsequent works have used household and ordinary objects like toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes, bus tickets, soap bars, kwiklocks (plastic clips that close bread packet), ear buds, stoep polish and safety pins. The everyday features also in video works where the practice of daily activities have been explored. Works have been made about daily travel to work and back, washing dishes, mowing the lawn and making roti.

The preoccupation with the everyday is perhaps a search for the value of what lies behind and beyond that which is ordinary. This was taken to its extreme in my last solo exhibition Mine over Matter where the investigation led to a consideration of the present moment; which is perhaps the ultimate “ordinary”.

Henry Lefebvre, in Clearing the Ground (1961) describes a housewife as being immersed in the everyday, needing an escape, and a mathematician being distant from and needing a return to the everyday. This phenomena of “escape from” and “return to” the everyday co-exist in my life as a house/home-keeper and artist. It is this dual relationship that I wish to explore in this new body of work.

As a home-maker/housewife/mother of two, and an artist, I seem to straddle between daily chores like washing the dishes or changing diapers to the seemingly glamorous act of making art. These two distinctly female roles in my own life have come together in this body of work using ordinary household objects like brooms, mops and irons.

The approach has been quite playful allowing the objects/material to inform its configuration. Each object is culturally loaded, gender specific and striped of its utilitarian function as it is transformed into art matter. Unavoidably, the material used has begun to surface issues related to class, gender, and context. Linked to this is an acute awareness of my own identity through location, history and culture; a sense of who I am in relation to notions of home and belonging.