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Verneem (Learned), 2008

Paper, acrylic, oils and neon on board. 1900 x 1200 x 100mm. Collection: Development Bank of Southern Africa


This work forms part of a series of works dealing with trees where the living tree as well as its demise in the form of paper and charcoal form part of the concept. I use the life cycle of the tree as symbol to set up narratives on time, human lifetime, technology and the making of worlds.This work specifically comments on our engagement with the tree and the book as its recycled form as sources of knowledge. The books – donations from friends and family – refer to acquired knowledge and its residues in memory, which entail processes of gain, storage and empowerment. Yet, the shredded character of the books evokes associations with assimilation and absorption, as well as loss of knowledge. Information on South African colonial history, religions, botany and education can be found in the books, but it is inaccessible. The use of green refers to knowledge as utopian construction in terms of visions of accomplishment, the ‘good’ ending, progress and advancement, whereas brown refers to loss, decay and dystopian ruin.

Exhibited at UP Centenary Exhibition, 2008

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