In the end, we're all to blame
19 February - 26 March 2015
Commune.1 presents ‘In the end, we're all to blame’, an exhibition of new paintings by Elize Vossgatter and a collaboration with Berlin-based performance artist Hilla Steinert.
Following an ongoing interrogation of the notions of the self and its relation to body politics, Vossgatter turns to examine different instances of collectives, groups, gatherings or crowds, through the metaphors of the stage and the staged. These include theatre performances, family snap-shots, school ceremonial photographs and other kinds of gatherings, sourced from social media and from the artist's personal archive. Where her previously exhibited work considered the individual's unnatural relationship to the natural environment due to the superficial accumulations of persona, there is now a consideration of the psychology of the collective and of the pressures it places on the idea of individuality or selfhood. These observations are contextualized by the world that portraits exist in today: proliferating in impersonal digital spaces, easily accessed and obsessively ‘profile’ managed.
With these as starting points, the artist begins to undermine the authority of the stage and the idea of a cohesive performance. This is done by subverting the static audience-actor / photographer-subject relationship, and instead turning the viewer into a participant who is no longer detached and passive. The characters intend to disarm, poised in an outward gaze, yet also appear slippery and ghostly much like the oil and neon they are painted in. Vossgatter’s restless and demanding relationship with her medium, the irreverent use of any fluid material at hand in combination with traditional oil paints, renders surfaces that thin, congeal or glitter. It is in the handling of the paint and its formalities that Vossgatter speaks powerfully to the crises of coping with day-to-day living. At times figures on the verge of becoming identities in themselves, seem to suddenly wither or float away. Spaces that are meant to contain groups are undermined by a flurry of pure painterly marks that corrode depth. As we meet the gaze of anonymous figures, looking out from obliterated surroundings, we are reminded of an inner conflict between our own voice and the voice of others.
Elize Vossgatter (b.1981, Johannesburg) is a Cape Town based artist and lecturer in painting at the Ruth Prowse School of Art. Vossgatter obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Michaelis Art School, University of Cape Town in 2002. She held her first solo show, ‘Sterntaler’, at the Association of Visual Arts (AVA) in Cape Town in 2012 and another in 2013 at the AVA titled ‘Once there was, and Once there was not’. Vossgatter has participated in numerous group exhibitions, including ‘Impressions and Responses’ at Galerie Miz in Istanbul (2011), ‘Our Fathers' at the AVA in 2012 in Cape Town and a two-part group exhibition at Heidi Erdman Contemporary (Cape Town) called ‘Conceptual Matters and Matters Conceptual’ in 2010.
Following a 2-month residency in Berlin in 2014, Vossgatter has turned her focus to collaborative processes and performance art as complements and extensions of her painted visions. ‘In the end, we’re all to blame’ at Commune.1 represents the first showing of this approach.