Patricia Schonstein X Olivié Keck – Poetry Reading and Walkabout


“Selfie Deceit”, 2016, watercolor monotype, 75 x 57cm, 1/1.


On Saturday 19 November 2016, Patricia Schonstein, our poet in residence delivered a poetry reading to accompany Olivié Keck’s walkabout at her current exhibition, Selfie Fulfilling Prophecy.

Schonstein chose 16 poems to accompany Keck’s exhibition.

From “Africa! My Africa! An anthology of poems”:

‘Song of the Troubador’ by Edith Södergran, ‘If you stayed’ by Leslie Howard, ‘Maraschino cherries and strawberries’ by Consuelo Roland, ‘Sometimes I have wondered’ by Ian Tromp, ‘For Tatu’ by Hugh Hodge.

From “Africa! My Africa! Poems of love, loss and longing”:

‘A love song’ by C.J ‘Jonty’ Driver, ‘The last light of evening’ by Elisa Galgut, ‘Still Life’ by Joan Hambidge, ‘Heart Break’ by Michael King, ‘The Path’ by Don Maclennan, ‘Gift’ by Maria Dorothea Schratteholz.

From “Stanzas One”:

‘An ecumenical matter’ by Basil du Toit.

From “Stanzas Two”:

‘Bliss’ by Sibusiso Ernest Masilela.

From “Stanzas Three”:

‘If I should die before I wake’ by Raphael d’Abdon.

From “Stanzas Five”:

‘Detachment’ by Stuart Payen, ‘This morning’ by Shirley Marais.

When Schonstein first viewed the exhibition certain works of Edward Hopper, the American realist painter came to mind.

Olivié Keck went into thorough detail during the walkabout. In February 2016 she was accepted on a two month print residency at The Kala Art Institute in Berkeley, California, USA. She found it to be a transformative experience enabling her to mine for inspiration. For 4 days a week Keck worked at the institute with fellow artists from all over the world, discussing their projects and what they each intended on achieving.

She then expanded on the process of watercolor monotypes:

A monotype is different to most other forms of printmaking that will involve producing a number of artworks in an edition from a single plate. In this regard monotypes are more like paintings as they are singular 1/1’s. The perspex plate is cleaned and a thin film of gum Arabic is applied to the surface of the perspex plate. This allows the watercolours to adhere to the surface of the plate and not bead like droplets on a window. Once dry watercolours are painted on top and water is added to create various waxy effects. When the watercolours are dry, the plate is placed on the press bed and pushed through with wet paper face down on top of it. The wet paper activates the gum Arabic thus allowing for a smooth transfer. 

One would ask, ‘Why not just make a watercolour painting instead of going through this laborious process?’ Keck’s answer to this is that the drying of watercolours produces the mark making and the pressure transfer creates an embossed image that would be impossible to achieve in traditional painting methods. The surface appears waxy/viscous while the textures made on the plate pick up impeccably in the image. These watercolor monotypes are printed on Arches paper supplied from France.

Keck shared some interesting Facts & Features that she gathered whilst researching for this exhibition. The majority of figures within the show are female with one male portrait. This disproportionate demographic reflect the predominance of female ‘selfies’ generated on a number of digital platforms. Recent statistics show that 3.5% of the Internet is occupied by Selfies and of that percentage 77% are taken by women under the age of 40. Further to this, in 2016, 1 million ‘Selfies’ are taken globally each day (18 – 24 year-old age demographic) with Australia, the USA and Canada taking the most Selfies globally.

Keck’s exhibition is a highly relevant investigation and unpacking between the digital visual spaces and traditional visual situations that viewers find themselves mediating through.

Selfie Fulfilling Prophecy runs until the 3 December 2016 at David Krut Projects Cape Town.


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