Spier Contemporary 2010


Kurt Pio’s entry to the 2010 Spier Contemporary art awards, exhibited at City Hall, Cape Town.

Artist’s Statement
The chair is generally the first utilitarian object to embody and reflect changes in design and can be seen as a record-keeper of the tastes and fashions of an era. The myriad cultural influences that came to bear on the colonial Cape meant that the chairs produced were very specific. The 18th century chairs used in my work exhibit Dutch, English, French and Far Eastern heritage. The strange amalgamation of influences points to a larger troubled history. Given their colonial provenance, what is their place and function today? The use of the silhouette in Representation l and ll (illustrated) suggests an uneasy relationship with our history. Here the ink was made from the soot of a burnt antique chair combined with Japanese ink. Thus a conversation is established between the antique object and the contemporary image, a reverberation through time as the old re-inscribes itself in the new. There is a similar conversation in Restoration I created for the exhibition. However, in creating this work, I removed layers of dirt, patina and generations of footprints in order to reveal the now restored timber floors. In the process of sanding, Restoration I goes backwards in time and the conversation between the antique floor and the contemporary artwork can again be seen as a reverberation through time.