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I am interested in why places and spaces are what they are; and how they came to be. Natural, urban, personal and virtual worlds intrigue me, including simulations and illusions of place. I engage with the history and identity of the worlds, spaces and places. Far away places and spatial 'bubbles' are fascinating. I have a dedicated interest in the politics and philosophies of worldmaking, space and place, leading to creative constructions of utopia, dystopia and heterotopia. Nuances thereof are explored, such as good places; bad places; non-places; cocooning; forgotten places; identity spaces; and displacement. My use of media and materials is interdisciplinary, intermedial and transdisciplinary.

Artist statement

The Piano  click to view


My piano is a micro-world. It has been my companion for many decades. Simultaneously being object, process and experience, it forms the subject matter of this body of work.


When the Knysna Great Fire struck in 2017 reducing all my earthly goods to ash and clinker, my piano survived, simply because it was not there. This experience has deepened my bond with the instrument to an even more intimate and profounder level. My piano has become larger-than-life and represents my girlhood years as well as my performing-productive identity as mother and artist. In this sense its presence has been ontogenetic, reflecting my personal development to maturity.


The piano’s casket-body becomes a memorial vessel for loss through fire, but also for childhood memories of daily rituals of vigorous mechanical discipline of repetition, practising scales, arpeggios and other technicalities. A polyphony is created as layers of obsessive repetition, production and remembrance pile up.


As a musical instrument, the piano – with its black-and-white notes, inner mechanical structure, hammers and harp – conjures fantasies and imaginative journeys. In a lyrical play of ebony and ivory, it delivers the tonal sounds of the light and dark of cyclical life and death from its coffin-like, heterotopian body. The pregnant circumference of its wooden cabinet becomes a birthing locus of creative production and performance, bearing and reciting worlds of sound and music. It obediently performs according to existing notation, but simultaneously encourages improvisation and deviation. Performing and producing, it mimics the laboratory of the mothering female body that brings forth new life through biomorphic processes, yet also allows for genetic variation. Likewise, the artist’s arduous process of birthing new creations is evoked.


Central imagery in the work is also that of withered angel trumpet flowers, which for me talks about cycles of life and death. In the ritual they become flor de muertos dancers.


Conceptually my art has always been concerned with spaces, places and worlds, whether natural, artificial or invented. These rendered spaces, places and worlds are layered; constructed; tainted; and complex. Revealing the intricacies of human action and  invention, they recount utopia,[1] dystopia[2] and heterotopia.[3] I work in both physical and digital media, so that my work often becomes intermedial.



[1] Perceived as escape, paradise, ideologically ‘good’.

[2] Collapsing, polluted, nonfunctional, lost.

[3] Enclosed. A bubble.

Artist statement

Song of the philosopher  click to view 


We are spoken by language, written by it and, as Humpty Dumpty teaches us, we can never be considered masters of the process of meaning, no matter how hard we may long for it.” (Rosi Braidotti 2014:164). Recognising the power of language in constructing our world, I transmute some verbal musings of philosophers and writers to artworks. Their ideas indicate a search for truth, wisdom and insight about humans’ relationship to their surroundings and other beings, or as Braidotti says, an engagement with “our shared humanity”. The close relationship between word and image has been argued in antiquity already, as by Horace (19 BCE) in his Ars Poetica. But such interconnectivity cannot be reduced to total similarity (ut pictura poesis) or total difference (paragone). It shows complex relationships that complement each other and are connected through the idea. These interdisciplinary relationships create new meaning in their hybridity, through the imagination’s visualisation. Word-image relationships are formed by correspondence, association and emotion, but sound and music can also evoke imagery and even visual fantasy.

To Paul Ricoeur (1977:352) the act or experience of ‘seeing as’ may be viewed as the missing link in the chain of explanation: “‘Seeing as’ is the sensible aspect of poetic language. Half thought, half experience, ‘seeing as’ is the intuitive relationship that holds sense and image together” (Ricoeur 1977:252). Georges Didi-Huberman (2016) points out that since Plato, “images have been accused of bearing or producing error and illusion.” Therefore we can assume that an image is a vehicle of ‘non-knowledge’, which is something to be imagined, thought or written. To this philosopher (2016:112) non-knowledge is to knowledge “what the firefly is to the light … . The image is indeed like a firefly, a little glimmer, the lucciola of transient, sporadic events”.

My rhetorical methodology of applying metaphor departs from the word as the unit of reference and I search for resemblances; but in my process of transmutation my dance with the word and image knows no boundaries. The songs of philosophers turn into galloping images, following Didi-Huberman, which brings “forth a flood of representations, straddled ravines, ruptures, discontinuities, … unnatural leaps and … unnecessary entities.” Deconstruction happens by deviating from the original idea, due to the application of my own frame of reference. New figurative expressions grow out of the metaphors created by language, but when the translation image occurs the correspondences or metonymy turn into differentiated meaning or polysemy.


These works follow on my previous explorations of time and place in utopian worlds, but in these works they acquire an alchemical character of a melting of past and present, and become connected to a search for wisdom. I have chosen to follow an alchemical aesthetic since it echoes the latent mingling of ideas embedded in metaphor and their distillation into a flow of meaning between word and image. The alchemical underpinning in concept, media and processes refers to transmutation, fermentation, refinement and conjunction of ideas and materials. Physical media intermingle with digital media, and they supplement and erase each other. My colour scheme is related to the alchemical stadia in the transmutation of the prima materia to the philosopher’s stone of wisdom. These stadia are nigredo (melanosis) - black; albedo (leucosis)  – white;  citrinitas (xanthosis) – yellow/gold; and rubedo (iosis) – red. Nuances of alchemical grey and metal are used in reference to the seven planetary metals in alchemy – iron, lead, tin, silver, gold, mercury and copper – each of which refers to a planet as well as a human organ. Alchemical phosphorous green represents light and spirit, but in association it can also be read as representing utopian ideas of a good place. The use of ice blue relates to mercury, water and spirit. Where a nocturnal palette is used it refers to the darkness of primal chaos, but also to the dusk of the subconscious.

Each work is accompanied by text dealing with relevant philosophical ideas that range from 400 BCE to current formulations on the cyborg and the Anthropocene. Writings on human nature; people’s relationship with the world; genetics; memory; knowledge; and the impact of new technologies are visually interpreted. Through animal imagery and animalistic environments, I comment on ideas of genetic evolution and technological transmutation.

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