ARTIST ROOM

BEN ORKIN

b.1998

TBC

MAIN TITLE

Words by Sophie Cope

Photographs by Charl Dettmer

The words are important, and the concept is important. But the language of the body — the language of fire and mud — is not a vocabulary that can be learned or listed. Perhaps it was always there, and can only be returned to. South African artist Belinda Blignaut describes her more recent use of ‘wild clay’ not as an omniscient ‘making from scratch,’ but as a returning or a relinquishing — ‘a conscious decision to give in to mud’.

‘… the language of fire and mud — is not a vocabulary that can be learned or listed. Perhaps it was always there, and can only be returned to.’

Since the early 90s, the artist has used writing — a verbally communicable conceptual frame — as a point of departure. But more recently, since finding and working with wild, hand-dug clay, Blignaut has been inspired by dreams and textures. Things have shifted, as they do. It would appear that the artist’s current work with earth and fire has taken a radical turn from the years she spent exploring the material and metaphorical implications of bubblegum (among other things). And yet, at ‘the core of it,’ there is an undeniable continuous thread.

BEN ORKIN

BIOGRAPHY

b.1998

South African ceramic artist Katherine Glenday lives and works in Kalk Bay, and exhibits all around the world. She has worked with porcelain and its various material, imaginary and interpersonal resonances since the early 80s. Glenday’s virtuosic control of the medium gives rise to a paradoxical relinquishing – her vessels drop out of an ongoing exchange between the hands and the clay and the fire of the kiln. Formally and conceptually emphasizing the porousness of borders and skins, the artist’s vessels defy categorization. 

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