Anthropomorphic – group exhibition
7 February – 28 February 2021
ANTHROPOMORPHIC by Susan Bloemhof
Reasonable possibilities and answers are explored by a group of Artists to produce a daring vision of momentary illusion. There is a significant correlation between Art and Psychology.
Both disciplines aim to challenge the boundaries of human perception, or to be more precise, free it from its shackles. If our aim is to broaden our cognitive horizons, we perhaps need to reconsider what it means to be human . . . and to fully embrace the unknown, opening up a world of possibilities where we are free to dream and to explore, to bring our inner, secret worlds to the surface: a momentary “pseudo-identity”, if you like.
“I’m currently interested in visual images as narratives as
well as the impact of the psychological state of the viewer in
the interpretation of art works’.’
– Corlie de Kock, 16 January 2021
Anthropomorphism is defined as attributing human emotions or thoughts to non-human entities – objects, gods or animals. First attributed to people’s physical and mental features, by the mid-19th century it had acquired a broader meaning of a phenomenon occurring not only in religion but in all areas of human thought and action, including daily life and the arts. It is a deep-rooted part of most mythologies and religions, the divine often being depicted as deities with human forms and qualities. As another example, at one point or another in their lifetime everyone has talked to their pet as if it were a person; this is a quite natural phenomenon which usually manifests itself from a very early age. It is therefore no coincidence that children’s literature is fertile soil for anthropomorphism – just think of Winnie the Pooh, the Little Engine that Could or The Lion King character Simba, or almost any fairy tale that springs to mind. Perhaps the best-known modern example of satirical anthropomorphism is George Orwell’s 1945 book Animal Farm. In Yann Martel’s Life of Pi, Pi is stranded on a life boat with animals that are occasionally anthropomorphized.
Animals are described as ‘friendly’, ‘loving or even ‘depraved’.
“Embodying the warrior qualities within the female spirit and
the unique characteristics of ‘Betta splendens’ aka Siamese
fighting fish. Derived from ‘ikan betta’ or ‘fish warrior tribe’,
they possess a special labyrinth organ that gives them the
ability to breathe outside of water, ensuring survival in harsh
conditions”. – Jo Roets, 16 January 2021
And throughout history onlookers have reported seeing human features in landforms, clouds and trees. Artists everywhere have depicted natural phenomena such as the Sun and Moon as having faces and gender. It is therefore clear that it is a far more pervasive aspect of “everyday life” than is commonly assumed.
But why do we experience this irrepressible urge to anthropomorphize?
Sigmund Freud offers the view that it may be to make a hostile or indifferent world seem more familiar and therefore less threatening. This has merit, of course, but fails to explain why people often anthropomorphize in ways that frighten them, for instance when they hear a door slammed shut by the wind and assume it to be an intruder. Perhaps an anthropomorphic perspective is an integral part of the creative process, a way of trying to make sense of an increasingly confusing world, where ambiguity is the only certainty.
This ‘menagerie’ of Artists, if you’ll excuse the expression, will be showcasing their unique talents and perspectives, taking a bold leap into a world of endless possibilities relating to shapes, sounds, things or events manifesting as human forms or showcasing human attributes.
Reasonable answers, but can this exhibition tell us anything about ourselves?
RK Contemporary, 32 Main Street,
Riebeek Kasteel. For enquiries contact Astrid McLeod at 083 6533 697.
“My inspiration derives from the classical periods to the golden age of illustration”.
– Sebastiaan Theart, 16 January 2021
“My monotype ‘Nut’ puts a critical spotlight
on the ongoing plight of women, not only in
my country, South Africa, but also globally.”
– Christiaan Diedericks, 16 January 2021
“My inspiration is an ever-expanding plethora of ideas connected to mythology, fables, psychology essays (Freud, Skinner, C.G. Jung et al) and philosophical writings”.
– Ella Cronje, 16 January 2021