3 December 2014 – 17 January 2015
Wednesday 3 December, 6pm
with a talk and performance by Derek Gripper
Derek Gripper, Mischa Fritsch, Michael Amery, Bronwen Findlay, Lars Fischedick, William Kentridge, Lorenzo Nassimbeni, Mongezi Ncaphayi, Sean Slemon, Diane Victor, Jeremy Wafer, Quinten Williams
“The best plan…is true non-action, it is no plan at all.”
p.123, Masanobu Fukuoka, Natural Farming.
David Krut Projects Cape Town is pleased to introduce Do Nothing, a group exhibition featuring works using diverse media, methodologies and apparatus, which come together in an emotive meditation on the principle of Nature as our most useful template for universal subsistence. The subtle curatorial framework of the exhibition finds a ‘common-ground’ in the selection of works, which all articulate an underlying critique of how and where our contemporary civilization has impinged on the inherent complexity of governing systems in the natural world. Most notably, this exhibition engages with a fundamental concern for the overwhelming commodification, manipulation and manufacturing of our natural environment in the modern landscape. The individual works draw parallels amongst one another, and encourage the viewer to reflect on the root definition of universal chaos, and how this principle has been negated, even undermined and subjugated to the detriment of mankind’s assimilation into the environment. Do Nothing hints at the importance of embracing natural chaos, not as a preconceived metaphor for dissonance, but rather as a necessary inevitability and a valuable facet within the cyclical event of creation and destruction. This exhibition challenges the viewer to re-evaluate our current conditions or activities, and acknowledge that unadulterated nature might be our most profound example of the potential rewards to be found in a poignant moment of resignation and ‘non-action.’
The binding work and significant point of entry into Do Nothing is Derek Gripper’s multi-layered sound installation, Cassette Locale, which is inspired largely by the ideologies of Masanobu Fukuoka, the world-renowned Japanese philosopher and naturalist farmer. Fukuoka’s central belief in the importance of initiating a departure from the widespread appropriation of artificial agricultural techniques and the manipulation of natural landscapes for mass consumption is a theme that resonates with many of the pieces on display. Cassette Locale is a poetic tribute to Fukuoka’s principles of intrinsic connectivity and dispersal in nature, which Gripper re-interprets in the format of a recorded sound performance for eight guitars heard through eight randomly dispersed speakers. In this subtle symphony of notes, Gripper describes a process that brings together scattered fragments of instrumental sound, seemingly unrelated and disjointed, to form a highly sophisticated harmony. This method of musical assemblage echoes Fukuoka’s philosophy on nature’s preordained inclination toward cycles of order and chaos; to converge briefly then fall apart again. However, this chaotic measure should not be denounced or prevented, but rather venerated as a necessary component in the algorithm of life. The encompassing action that follows this principle is hinged on acceptance and relinquishing strict control; a sense reiterated in aesthetic moments throughout the various artworks on show.
In this rich array of drawing, sound installation, site-specific mark-making, video, painting and printmaking, the understated Nature as Teacher manifesto becomes the formal thread that binds this collection of works. The group consciousness of the exhibition seems to whisper an appeal for returning to an organic rhythm, rather than attempting to colonise and demarcate imposed limitations onto the wilderness. This exhibition signifies a current movement towards re-examining our individual responsibility in a global landscape. In an effort to restore environmental equilibriums, perhaps civilisation could achieve a deeper intellectual synergy with the natural world, ultimately requiring us to Do Nothing to maintain sustainable growth and renewable vast terrains.
Text by Olivié Keck
Michael Amery, Trees by Man
India ink, charcoal and acrylic varnish on paper, 120 x 70 cm
William Kentridge, Universal Archive (Big Tree)
Linocut on 15 Sheets of non-archival paper from Encyclopedia Britannica, 90 x 82 cm, edition size of 30