PHILIP WILL NOT BE PARTAKING DURING THE JUNE 2021 PRINCE ALBERT OPEN STUDIO EVENT
PAINTING IN THE KAROO DURING LOCKDOWN By Marijke Coornaert
Introspection and retreat are essential to the artist’s daily life. Visual artists are the lockdown-experts par excellence. But with stories of deaths around the world, it’s an extremely challenging time for everyone. It is a cliché that artists thrive in isolation and that they exist exempt from society. Much like everyone else, artists of all kinds are experiencing the uncertainties of our times deeply.
For Philip Willem Badenhorst, as for so many other artists, the question is how to reassemble the own psyche and how to channel lockdown experiences and the buzz of anxiety into evocative works. The only way is inward, away from chaotic stimuli by social media.
And where could there be a better place for that introspection than in his silent Karoo studio. For the online June Open Studios Philip Willem Badenhorst will be showing 12 small works made for an exhibition in Japan. Planned for September 2020 on Shikoku island in the bay of Osaka. It would have been the 7th exhibition in Japan. He invited J.P.Meyer, a famous former resident of Prince Albert, to show with him. The exhibition has been postponed to a later date.
The paintings are inspired by the Japanese ‘Boro’cloths, known as ‘the fabric of life’. Boro describes Japanese cotton pieced together and mended over time to create highly complex, heavily stitched patchworks. Derived from the term ‘boroboro’, meaning something tattered or repaired. What especially fascinates Badenhorst is the frugality where nothing gets thrown away. Boro demonstrates the value of time spent, not money, as well as a respect for everyday objects and available resources.
Since 2001, Badenhorst started to produce diptychs of portraits and plant matter, juxtapositions of humans and nature in magnified close-up. The new diptychs are multi- layered surfaces, becoming a palimpsest of different lives and narratives over generations.
The theme of “mending the broken” has been constant in his body of work and couldn’t be more appropriate in Corona times where the virus invades the body and betrays the person who in turn needs to be mended.
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