“The work was originally titled ‘Alternative Fictions: Azanian Civil War’, and it depicts a landscape divided into 3 panels. The intention for the triptych was to depict the movement between a certain war-like chaos and a peaceful landscape. The work refers to the complex sensation of the weightlessness of history to a ‘born free’, and responds to the current socio-political, post apartheid moment in South Africa.
The Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1–9), or The Library of Babel (Jorge Luis Borges) is symbolic of the confusion and overstimulation in daily life and media. The tower is also submerged on the coast of the landscape, a significant site for south Africas colonial history. The cosmogram is also depicted on a flag and as the sun, this is a symbolic reference to the cycle of death and rebirth and to the obscure use of religion in the colonial project.
The composition is based on traditional classical triptychs especially those of Hieronymus Bosch.
The title is taken from Charles Baudelaire’s most famous book of lyric poetry titled Les Fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil) – ‘I am the wound and the knife’, referring to an introspective meditation, which is similar to saying, “I am the perpetrator and the victim” or “I am the problem and the solution”.” – Text by Adrian Fortuin, 2022