Paradisus (Deperditum), a solo travelling exhibition by Christiaan Diedericks: The 30 Deadly Virtues

Oliewenhuis Art Museum presented a solo travelling exhibition by Christiaan Diedericks. This exhibition, Paradisus (Deperditum), is seen as Diedericks’ mid-career solo exhibition that not only showcased a new body of works, but also included a few older drawings and graphic works. According to A Latin Dictionary by Lewis & Short (1879), the English definition of the Latin word “paradisus” is “paradise or the garden of Eden” and in the online Oxford Latin Dictionary (1982 – OLD) the English definition of the Latin word “deperditum” is “that which is permanently lost”. The title chosen for this exhibition is thus derived from the alarming fact that our ecosystem is severely disrupted, the financial system increasingly uncontrollable and the geopolitical structure has recently begun to appear as unstable, as it has always been uneven. This triple crisis infuses doubt and inspires reflection about our basic assumptions, as much as inflaming cultural debates and provoking dogmatic entrenchments. History, it seems, is moving rapidly beyond its all too hastily proclaimed end. As a serious contemporary artist, Diedericks is continually, within himself and through his creative output, seeking answers for alarming issues. In light of the above, Paradisus focused on the resurgence of sincerity, healing, hope, romanticism, affect, and the potential for grand narratives and universal truths in the world. In its most basic essence this exhibition deals with healing as the artist is currently fascinated by concepts dealing with healing and modes of escape, both physical and mental. The Latin word “Injuriae” could be translated into English as “injury, injustice, wrong doing, offence, insult, abuse or sexual assault”. In his creative work Diedericks is therefore trying to both expose and find solutions for this alarming reality – elixirs to heal this injury to our planet as well as the human race in general. Diedericks is a South African artist, currently working and residing in Cape Town. This extremely talented artist received a Bachelors degree in Fine Arts (cum laude) from the North West University (NWU) in 1992, and a Masters degree in Fine Arts (cum laude) from the University of Pretoria during 2000. As a meticulous printmaker, Diedericks refers to himself as a professional artist, educator and creative process navigator. He has exhibited extensively throughout Southern Africa, as well as internationally. His work has been exhibited in the USA, Japan, Finland, Spain, Germany, Turkey, Poland, Belgium, England, Sweden and France, where he worked, as artist in residence, at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris on nine different occasions since 1994. Diedericks also worked in New York after receiving the prestigious Ampersand Foundation Fellowship in 2006, where his work was exhibited to critical acclaim at the Gallery 5+5 in Brooklyn in December 2007, receiving outstanding reviews in the New York Blade newspaper. An informal walkabout was conducted by Christiaan Diedericks on Friday, 17 February 2017 in the Main Building, Oliewenhuis Art Museum. Oliewenhuis Art Museum is a satellite of the National Museum, Bloemfontein, an agency of the Department of Arts and Culture.