Paul Stopforth : The Island

Paul Stopforth: The Island
September 28 – October 30, 2004

Paul Stopforth first visited Robben Island in 2003. He was overwhelmed by how deeply the past is embedded in “this low lying outcrop of rock and sand, guarding the entrance to Table Bay.”(op.cit.) A year later, he was granted permission by the trustees of the Robben Island Museum to live and work on site as an artist-in-residence for a period of two weeks.

David Krut Projects is proud to present Paul Stopforth’s first solo New York exhibition from September 29th through to October 30th. Opening reception Thursday 30th of September.

“While interpretations of the Island’s history have focused mainly on its role as political prison and on the well known prisoners held there such as Nelson Mandela, the Island has been put to many and varied uses over the last 500 years: as pantry, hospital, leper colony, mental asylum, military camp as well as prison. In spite of all these various roles there are continuities in its history. Above all, the Island has served mainly as repository for those considered to be dangerous to the South African social order. A history of the Island provides, therefore, an off-shore echo of the history of the mainland” (Deacon, Harriet, Ed.1996. The Island: A History of Robben Island, 1488–1990. Cape Town: David Philip).

His belief that literally everything on the Island has been refigured and transformed into something other, forms the ground for the works on this exhibition. Beaches, penguins, wild rabbits, African antelope, European deer, wattle, fynbos, eucalyptus, acacia, lime and slate quarries, abandoned military installations, churches, prison buildings and the tidal pool Bethesda have all changed utterly, since the first democratic elections of April 1994.

Stopforth’s concerns have always been rooted in the tangible, and through his focus on the specific these fragments of the Island contain a sense of the extraordinary presence and palpability of that place.

For more information, please email [email protected].

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