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White Field VI
To Continue our support for emerging artists and our partnership with The Other Art Fair we are interviewing some of the artists showing at the Spring 2013 edition of The Other Art Fair:
Clinton de Menezes
1.Is this your first TOAF ? if so why are you exhibiting? If not why are you coming back? This will be my second TOAF fair. I participated in the inaugural fair at the Bargehouse, OXO Tower on the Southbank.
Although not making any sales through the fair there was a lot of interest in my work and a few opportunities presented themselves that came off the back of the fair.
The reason I am returning again is to present new bodies of work. The fair offers the opportunity to show new work without having to secure premises for a dedicated exhibition.
2. Can you tell us more about your work and what are the main ideas you like to express? I have had a long fascination with the politics and poetics of landscape. Growing up in the industrialised and mined landscapes of South Africa much of my work was informed by the aesthetic, the history and the changing socio-political attitudes towards the South African landscape and its visual representation. Since my relocation to the United Kingdom in 2007 I have expanded my visual and conceptual terrain to include research in the contemporary sublime and in the notions of displacement, migration, ecology, identity and mortality. Material and working process are key to my practice. The collision between organic and industrial, dry and wet and water based and oil based materials create dense topographies that are born out of physically demanding and time consuming processes. These working processes I have come to view as processes of sedimentation and excavation that allude to cycles of the natural world and to the compounded history of culture on the environment.
3. How do you start the process of making work?
I often work in multiples and ongoing projects that conceptually feed into one another. Research is key before beginning new work as is experimentation in the studio.
4. Do you consider the viewer, when making your work?
I try not pander to the audience but make work that is grounded within my current practice. I do consider the formal properties of the work and the way the work ‘reads’ which is essentially what the viewer sees.
5. What work will you be showing at TOAF ?
I see exhibiting at TOAF as way to present a solid body of work exploring the processes of degeneration, transition and regeneration.,
Degeneration is explored through the Passage Series in which isolated figures and objects are embedded in dense surfaces that seem to have endured turbulent histories. Transition is evident in the White field Series, a continuum of my installation held in the Metropolitan Museum of Art on long term loan between 2010 – 2012. In this series swarms of figures migrate across densely painted white surfaces, each work representing a different country of the world.
The combined processes of degeneration, transition and regeneration continue in Erasure Series. The work consists of landscape photographs I have documented over the last 20 years. Through the process of gradual erasing with steel wool and turpentine the image is erased or partially erased, creating new landscapes that are reminiscent of the Northern Romantic and Sublime landscape painting traditions.
6. What was the most intelligent thing that someone said or wrote about your work?
From the catalogue of a show I was curated into at SCAD, Georgia, USA titled: Topographies of History and Place.
Virginia Mackenny wrote:
“Clinton de Menezes’s Procession renders this broad trek of history in numerous small
figures that implacably track across the ash-covered walls of the gallery. The work’s
rniniaturisation of form reminds one that the “pageant” of history enacts itself in both
grand events and quotidian moments”.
This for me is a beautiful, concise and playful use of words in describing the installation on show.
7. Which artists would you most like to rip off, sorry, I mean appropriate as a critique of originality and authorship?
Stay true to yourself and your practice, recycling others ideas does not work for me.
8. What does you art cost ?
Anything between £100.00 to £100,000.00.
9. Which art work are you most proud to have created ?
I am proud of all the work I make but not all work is as realised as other work.
10. Final question if you had $75,000 to buy some art with , what would you buy ?
That can’t buy too much in the current climate, I would buy local and emerging, whatever that word might mean. Gordon Cheung, Alan Rankle, the list is endless.