L’Atelier artists confess SA’s ‘search engine secrets’.
10 July – 4 August 2017 | at Absa Gallery
If you took a snapshot of the most-searched-for topics according to Google’s statistics for South Africa. What would it look like? The answer is in browsing The Confessional, a group exhibition curated by 2014 L’Atelier Art Competition winner, Liberty Battson.
The exhibition completed its inaugural run at the KKNK festival in April. Created for the KKNK, it was originally conceptually aligned to the festival’s theme for visual arts – ‘Greed gone mad and fear got bought’.
The premise of Absa’s The Confessional is built around the core idea of top L’Atelier artists (previous entrants and finalists in the competition) ‘confessing’ SA’s most-searched-for topics according to Google, and expressing these within the context of each artist’s own greed and fear.
This is Battson’s first curatorial venture. Usually, the painter is known for using statistics as her subject matter (particularly figures from digital and new media channels). In preparation for this exhibition, Battson tracked and recorded Google searches for over a year. Most-searched topics included: social media, substance abuse, peer pressure, xenophobia, pollution, depression, The Bible, fear, love, South Africa, human rights violation, poverty, abortion, friendship, water pollution, quitting smoking and immigration.
Participating artists were then asked to pick a topic from this list with the proviso that the topic be true to them and their usual subject of choice.
Battson added, “The artists were also required to produce an audio clip of their confession – either a truthful confession or a revelation of the chosen topic. In listening to some of the confessions, the success of these clips lies in the truth and vulnerability of each artist speaking or voicing what they represent.”
The show got personal when Kevin Irungu confessed to lying and cheating on his ‘baby mama’; Peter Mammes confessed his personal experience of abortion; and Luyanda Zindela confessed his struggle with depression and the daily pressure he faces being an artist and his family’s breadwinner.
These confessions will be made available to viewers as they stand before each correlating artwork, so that they may be immerse themselves in the artist’s personal perspective.