In the first exhibition of its kind in South Africa, the Absa Gallery is bringing together a number of past Absa L’Atelier art competition winners and finalists in a showcase of works produced exclusively using paints made from the blood, sweat and tears of three prominent local artists. The exhibition will take place at the Absa Art Gallery in Main Street, Johannesburg and runs from 08 June – 27 June 2014.
The Blood, Sweat and Tears curated exhibition forms part of the 2014 Absa L’Atelier campaign of the same name that is currently being used to promote the 29th edition of this prestigious art competition.
The core idea behind the campaign is that producing great art is not something that just happens. It is a process that sees the artist putting everything they have into their work – putting pieces of themselves into their work – through the intense effort, dedication and raw emotion that it takes to bring a concept to life.
Dr Paul Bayliss, Absa Art and Museum Curator, says: “We distilled this message into the three elements that every artist has metaphorically sacrificed so their creative ideas might see the light of day: their blood, their sweat and their tears. A strong visual reference was assigned to each of these features: red (blood), yellow (sweat) and blue (tears), the three primary colours that when mixed together make up any colour.”
Bringing this idea to life is a series of acrylic paints made from the actual blood, sweat and tears of artists Diane Victor, Bambo Sibiya and Willem Boshoff. Tissue samples were taken from the artists and processed and cleaned by Lancet Laboratories to ensure they were free of biohazardous material. The samples were then included in the corresponding colour in acrylic paint made by hand in Cape Town.
It is this paint that features in all the works on display as part of the Blood, Sweat and Tears curated exhibition. A total of 23 past Absa L’Atelier winners and finalists have created works for the exhibition.
Blood, Sweat and Tears is a powerful showcase of some of the most exciting artists working in South Africa today. This is compounded by the medium used – the physical manifestation of all that it takes to produce great art. Together these elements make for a fascinating exhibition,” adds Bayliss. “As Absa we believe in South African artists, and demonstrate this through our continual support of the visual arts.”
The participating artists include Conrad Botes, Marco Cianfanelli, Barend de Wet, Gordon Froud, Pauline Gutter, Elrie Joubert, Lunga Kama, Marlise Keith, Kim Lieberman, Philiswa Lila, Nyaniso Lindi, Jacki McInnis, Virginia MacKenny, Nomusa Makhubu, Isabel Mertz, Mongezi Ncaphayi, Ilse Pahl, Stephen Rosin, Bambo Sibiya, Dominic Thorburn, Ilka van Schalkwyk, Diane Victor and Judy Woodborne.