Posted: January 14, 2008
Following the success of the Johannesburg exhibition of In Camera last year, the installation comes to the Goodman Gallery Cape Town. Martin Sims of Blue Cow designed and installed the technology behind the installation.
The exhibition runs from Saturday 12 January until Saturday 2 February
2008 at the Goodman Gallery Cape, 3rd Floor Fairweather House, 176 Sir
Lowry Road, Woodstock
Artist, author, editor, curator, collaborator extraordinaire and currently
senior lecturer in the Department of Art at Stellenbosch University, Kathryn
Smith has established a reputation as an artist with a fascination for forensic
investigation and an interest in crimes of passion and the rhetoric of evil.
In June 2007 Smith was amongst 6 international artists and a critic
invited to participate in the residency program, exhibition and presentation at
the iCommons Summit in Dubrovnik, Croatia, for which they produced and
workshoped both physical and virtual work engaging with fair use, copyright,
re-mixing, piracy and/or collaboration.
In camera ('in private' or 'in
secret') refers to legal testimony heard in private chambers instead of in open
court, usually when reliving the experience of a violent and traumatic event
through verbal narration would be aggravated by having to do this in public.
For her first solo exhibition in Cape Town since 'Euphemism', the
Standard Bank Young Artist Award exhibition at Iziko South African National
Gallery in 2005, Smith sets up a controlled, immersive environment of light,
sound, drawing and photography. Material for the drawings was sourced from a
range of print and online media and processed so as to blur the distinction
between the handmade and the mass-produced. The portrait subjects are the
victims and perpetrators of violent acts, the circumstances of which remain
almost incomprehensible in their extremity, even if the facts informing tabloid
revelations of these cruel private desires are known. There is a particular
focus on violence done to, and by, children.
Smith states: "I am
particularly interested in how, through repetitive media circulation, certain
photographic images get detached from their subjects and the representation of a
person becomes emblematic of 'victimhood', 'the missing', 'monstrosity' or
'evil'. This kind of rhetoric functions as a means to situate perpetrators of
violence outside the realm of human behaviour and does not allow us to dwell on
the particular human and social circumstances of each violent interaction."
The drawings are done with brush, paper, acrylic and
ultraviolet-sensitive inks invisible to the naked eye. The lighting design, set
to a computerized timing schedule creating apparently random intermittent phases
of blacklight exposure, complete darkness and ambient light, inverts the
camera's function of an open shutter where a light-sensitive surface is exposed,
and a dark state where nothing is captured nor visible.
In setting up a
relationship between the spectrum and the spectral, disruption, revelation and
obfuscation, In Camera is a project about ghosts and mental afterimages, an
attempt to reclaim that which eludes cognitive and emotional capture and
For more information or exhibition documentation contact Goodman Gallery Cape on
+27 21 462.7573 or firstname.lastname@example.org.