Installation views: RMB Latitudes 2023. RESERVOIR. Photographer: Anthea Pokroy
For RMB Latitudes 2023, RESERVOIR is pleased to share a dual presentation by two contemporary artists from South Africa: Bella Knemeyer (b.1991) and Justin Brett (b.1976).
Working across multiple disciplines, artist Bella Knemeyer (b. 1991) bridges research and practice with work pivoting around politics of placemaking, everyday urbanism and material flows. Her landscape works mulch, plaster and rake paper. Chosen for its malleability and lighter footprint, the medium takes days to dry which is well-suited to ambling indecision. Lately she has been exploring obsolete paper sources; national surveys and audits, manuals, apology letters, sheet music, stolen books, newspaper sheets left unclipped by museum archives, someone’s tax return, a year’s cash-up of Marvel Bar, betting stubs. Of interest is how these subjects play out spatially, as most return to questions of place - how spaces are made, pulled apart, repaired and metabolised. In 2017 she coupled a BAFA, majoring in sculpture from the University of Cape Town, with a Masters in Landscape Architecture from the University of Edinburgh. Recent group exhibitions include: RESERVOIR at Investec Cape Town Art Fair in 2023; Open Plot, a group exhibition curated by RESERVOIR at THK Gallery in Cape Town; Ex Libris, a group exhibition curated by Barbara Wildenboer at Everard Read in Franschoek; A pebble in the mouth, a group presentation curated by Maja Marx for the 2022 Turbine Art Fair; Vessel at Boschendal Manor House Gallery with Norval Foundation in Franschhoek; Up Close at a Distance, a duo-exhibition at OPEN24HRS in Cape Town all in 2022; and Bad Paper Kiosk, at Whatiftheworld Gallery in Cape Town in 2020. Justin Brett’s latest body of work in ceramic, Pluto’s Font, employs an archeology of classical architectural forms and ancient mythology to imagine pools and geysers, springs and wells dislocated from under- and other-worldly geological landscapes. As substrates for ground mineral pigments that are mined from deep earth and sprayed onto their clay surfaces, these objects emerge from the extremes of heat in the kiln as new material artefacts with which to excavate alternative cosmologies of human relationship to landscape and environment. Brett completed his Masters degree in Fine Art at the Michaelis School of Fine Art at the University of Cape Town, where he taught for more than a decade in both the painting and sculpture departments. He had his first solo exhibition in 2009 at the AVA Gallery in Cape Town and has since participated in a number of notable group exhibitions such as Home Truths at the South African National Gallery (SANG) in 2016 curated by Michael Godby, and US curated by Simon Njami and Bettina Malcomess at the Johannesburg Art Gallery (JAG) in 2009 and SANG in 2010, respectively.