CURATING THE WAVES
In the words of the term’s inventor, Germano Celant, Arte povera expresses an approach to art-making which is anti-commercial, precarious, sometimes banal and anti-formal. The term can be applied to artists who interpret reality in ways that are ‘subtle, cerebral, elusive, private and intense’.
The work is a zinc-sided rowing boat. Eight oars have been fixed at an angle to the inside of the hull in such a way that the boat appears to be walking out of the water. The hull and transom are handmade, the ‘oars’ are in fact porridge stirrers – phini zamiso. The anchor is a festooned with enamel cups – metaphor for thirst in in the arid South African landscape. Four buoys fan out behind the assemblage, gilets du sauvetage.
Boats conjure up images of the River Styx, and the wretched rafts that used to float down the Rhone carrying corpses to the necropolis at Alyscamp (now the town of Arles in France) – a centuries old custom known as drue de mortillage.
Thus this boat is a container for shifting contents. It is now dry-docked, riveted and anchored in the stream of visitors to the Cradle of Humankind, an area that was once an ancient shallow sea.
Le mode opératoire est la voyage. Pèlerinage sur les zones dévastées (Forces Favourites, 1997), recuperation des sediments porteurs d’histoire, re-création, regeneration (Onduva, Sumbo). Il s’agit de rendre le monde à nouveau « habitable ». NATHALIE CODJIA-MILTAT
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