The Franschhoek Literary Festival

Two interrelated works combining text, sound and image were exhibited at Ebony under the auspices of IS Gallery, during the Franschhoek Literary Festival.

Conversations (2000) consists of digital reproductions of original documents: eighty pages of written notes form the basis of conversations held during the last two days of the artist’s mother’s life. She was in hospital, had been on a ventilator for thirty-nine days and could neither speak nor hear hence the dependency on the written word. The conversations are loaded with the knowledge of her impending death. Their ordinariness covers the gentle deceit about her imminent passing.

The melancholic mood is explored further in The Nurse of the Mad (2000 –2011). Sixteen black and white drawings work in conjunction with text alluding to states of melancholia, dementia and hysteria. The words act as stream of (sub)consciousness – a poem littered with references to demons, she-wolves, pomegranate trees and the eponymous nurse.

Together these works ‘…constitute a profound and deeply engaged meditation on speech, subjectivity and the body. [They] … allude to ruptures in speech, but nevertheless do so with what can only be described as a breathtaking eloquence.’ (Brenda Schmahmann, 2000)