Open Studio with Artist-in-Residence Stian Deetlefs

Stian Deetlefs at the David Krut Workshop in Arts on Main

From Monday 7th of September 2020, David Krut Workshop at Arts on Main will host open studio days over a two week period to invite the public to meet with Stian Deetlefs. Works on view will be those evolving from this second residency, an extended period of time in Joburg. Visitors will be able to question and converse with the artist in an unrestricted manner.              Watch Deetlefs paint, sculpt, burn and break during 9am-5pm.

Currently, Stian Deetlefs is working at David Krut Workshop’s Arts on Main gallery. Deetlefs work was first presented at the 2019 Johannesburg Fringe Fair and subsequently shown at THE BLUE HOUSE when Covid-19 cancelled the opportunity for an exhibition at the David Krut Gallery in Parkwood. Lockdown measures also restricted an initial residency in March. In effect his first solo exhibition, Fragments of our Identity was created online in April 2020 on the Artsy, the global art web platform.

Deetlefs’ humble beginnings in the industrial city of Richards Bay along the KwaZulu Natal (KZN) coast have forged a hyper-awareness of the struggles faced by the working class. Deetlefs speaks openly about his past, rehashing accounts of leading his blind father through the lush green mountain trails of KZN every morning as a way to escape his menial job at the factory in which he once worked. The bond between father and son, the complexity of misfortune and the determination of a young artist are themes which resonate with viewers from all walks of life.

 By using everyday materials and vibrant hues, usually those which signal danger in some way, he is able to recreate this poignancy and resilience.

Deetlefs’ work explores the effects of industrialisation and automation in small, parochial communities, whilst subtly guiding our attention to the stark consequences on the natural environment. The artist’s outward refusal to depict nature only speaks to his reverence for it. Discarded synthetic materials carry the memories of their dereliction, as he combines them into abstractions that have a survivalist and Jackson Pollock-esque feel. 

Bricks, glass shards, garbage bags and duct tape all form a part of Deetlefs’ ever-expanding medium. Although painting has made up the majority of his body of work to date, the artist also creates jagged sculptures sourced from found detritus in the inner city, crafted into a mish-mash of urban landscapes, self-portraits and figurative work on the female form.

Through collaboration with the David Krut workshop, Deetlefs created a series of watercolour monotypes with our printers that strongly relate to his paintings in which a physically flat image is in fact visually layered.

We encourage you to drop by, share your thoughts, ask questions and become a part of the artist’s creative process.

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