Stephen Hobbs had his debut show with David Krut Projects (DKP) in 2010, titled Fool’s Gold.
Two years later, in 2015, he had his first solo exhibition with DKP Cape Town, Permanent Culture. It was the result of a three-year long research of the city’s urban design and planning. Later that year, it travelled to DKP Johannesburg in a special iteration of the show, Permanent Culture at 1800 Metres.
He had his fifth solo exhibition at DKP Johannesburg in 2019, titled Body Parts. It was the first exhibition in which Hobbs included his personal history. He had dealt with complex medical issues in the years before and integrated those in this body of work.
Since starting collaboration with DKW in 2009, Hobbs has produced numerous series of prints, totalling over 50 editioned works and over 30 unique pieces.
He has also been part of various group exhibitions and his work has been prominently displayed at numerous art fairs.
Stephen Hobbs was born and bred in Johannesburg in 1972 where he lives and works today as a public artist (co-director of public art consultancy The Trinity Session) and dedicated printmaker.
Hobbs has a BAFA (Hons.) from The University of the Witwatersrand. After graduating in 1994, he worked as the curator of the Market Theatre Galleries. He has since worked on major public projects, including the recently completed Craftsmen’s Ship building in Maboneng, which Hobbs co-designed.
His practice is informed by the complex, often obfuscating, visual language used to construct cities in South Africa. The artist is keenly involved in Johannesburg’s evolving status as an apartheid-city-turned-African-city, working predominantly in etching, linocut and monotype to draw connections between World War I dazzle designs* and urban defensive planning used in cities today. Dazzle camouflage is a zebra-like pattern used on gunships in the early 1900s to fragment the visual field of enemy sites in combat situations. Although dazzle patterning became obsolete after World War I, Hobbs has mined the potential that such visual deception presents for aesthetic reflection on dystopian urban environments.
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The Mail and Guardian review Permanent Culture at David Krut Cape Town – “a tight and thoughtful show”
Hobbs at David Krut makes the top ten cultural highlights in “a well-conceived show that played with the notion of scale and practical constraints, particularly in the realm of architecture” – Mary Corrigall