Stephen Hobbs has been collaborating with David Krut Projects and David Krut Workshop since 2009. Hobbs’ relationship with David Krut Projects has broadened his artistic repertoire through print making, book making and publishing. In addition, David Krut Projects New York has produced a variety of Hobbs’ talks, presentations and workshops in numerous universities and institutions throughout the USA.
Fools Gold (2010), DKP Johannesburg
Be Careful in the Working Radius (2013), DKP Johannesburg
This exhibition was accompanied by an extensive exhibition catalogue. The artist’s first pop-up book, made in collaboration with DKW, also debuted on this exhibition.
Permanent Culture (2015), DKP Cape Town
This exhibition was the result of a three-year long research project centred on the city’s urban design and planning. The show was accompanied by an installation-based pop-up exhibition at Spin Street Studios in Cape Town, titled SAS Somerset and Other War Stories. Later that year, the exhibition travelled to DKP Johannesburg in a special iteration of the show, Permanent Culture at 1800 Metres.
No Fusion (2017), DKP Johannesburg
This exhibition was heavily informed by Hobbs’ lecturing visits to the USA, which included print residencies at Salt & Cedar, Eastern Market, Detroit, in 2015; and in 2016 at the Centre for Contemporary Printmaking in New Haven, Connecticut. His fascination with optical interplay and visual disruptions was explored through layering techniques that aimed to challenge a singular reading.
Body Parts (2019), DKP Johannesburg
This exhibition marked a breakthrough for Hobbs, being the first in which he incorporated overt references to his personal history. He had dealt with complex medical issues in the years before and integrated those experiences into work that uses the human body – his own, specifically – to examine the intersection of body, building, theatre and war.
Hobbs has also been part of various group exhibitions and his work has been displayed at numerous art fairs. The collaborative relationship has also extended beyond publications and exhibitions to include other happenings, such as mural projects, curatorial collaborations and site-specific performances.
Stephen Hobbs was born in Johannesburg in 1972. Since 1994, Johannesburg has served as a critical reference point for Hobbs’ artistic and curatorial insights into the apartheid-city-turned-African-city, with a particular interest in the impact of defensive urban planning and architecture on the behavioral aspects of city and society. Hobbs functions not only as a practicing studio artist and dedicated printmaker, but also as a public arts curator and advocate.
Hobbs’ printmaking practice is informed by the complex, often obfuscating, visual language and urban defensive planning used to construct cities. He works predominantly in etching, linocut and monotype, and his prints serve as a distillation of his practice – public and studio-based.
Dazzle camouflage has been a key trope in Hobbs’ practice for many years – 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. During Hobbs’ recent stay in the Republic of Ireland 2019-2021, he began to activate a new making trajectory influenced by a three-year-long research project resulting in his Permanent Culture exhibition in Cape Town and Johannesburg in 2015. Consequently Hobbs has embarked on a new body of work and thinking informed by living in rural Ireland.
Hobbs graduated from Wits University with a BAFA, in 1994. He was the curator of the Market Theatre Galleries (Johannesburg) from 1994 to 2000, and Co-Director of the purpose-built Gallery Premises (2004-2008) at the Joburg Theatre. Since 2001 he has co-directed the artist collaborative and public art consultancy, The Trinity Session, and since 2004 has co-produced a range of multi-medium urban and network-focused projects with Marcus Neustetter, under the collaborative name Hobbs/Neustetter. From 2017-2019, Hobbs joined the Graduate School of Architecture at the University of Johannesburg, as Unit Leader and resident critic. Since 2002 The Trinity Session has provided consultative and turnkey services for the conceptual development, coordination and curation of various scales of public art, in several major metropolitan areas in South Africa.
Stephen Hobbs is based between Johannesburg and London.
Related blog posts
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
For related books CLICK HERE