Elfriede Dreyer, Dystopian playground, 2016. R6950.00
Elfriede Dreyer, Dystopian playground, 2016. Archival digital print, 800 x 600mm. AP. Edition of 3 + AP. Provenance: Obtained from the artist.
This work was inspired by the Giardini Gardens in Venice where domestic scenes play out of people and children gathering in the park. The green patch of the Gardens is where people gather and socialise, the park functioning as an original place or a green paradise. The people seem to be timelessly existing in a vacuum or a heterotopic capsule separate from the rest of the world. Next to them in the Venetian Mediterrean sea massive ocean liners pass on their way to holiday destinations moving around the island. There is dystopia in this 'Other' space seemingly functioning according to its own intricate rules and 'workings in isolation, a world within a world and mirroring what is outside.
MORE ON THE ARTIST
Elfriede Dreyer is an arts professor, curator, writer and artist. She has been affiliated with Unisa since 2015, after lecturing there full-time from 1990 to 2003. She also taught full-time at the University of Pretoria from 2003 to 2014.
Her recent work from 2017 onwards entails a series of event-based works relating to the traumatic experience of the loss of her entire home and personal belongings during the Great Fire of 7 June 2017. Her main conceptual preoccupation is an ongoing interest in worldmaking discourses and the ideologies of place and space. main concepts are utopia, dystopia and heterotopia as nuances of a family of constructions around place, such as a good place; a bad place; non-place; cocooning; displacement; and migrancy. Perceptions and projections of a good place as utopia are common, but exist mainly as fictions. Although many utopias have been conceived over the ages, few have worked out. Still they persist in appearing in a social and political sense; in addition, most people nurture personal ideas about a ‘good’ place. A non-place is a no-man’s land or space that belongs to no-one and everyone, such as, according to French anthropologist Marc Augé, a supermarket, airport or mall. Although a non-place then seems void of utopia, it is not, since these spaces have been conceived as ‘good’ places with good objective or teleology.
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