Medium: oil on canvas, Size: 30 x 40
Per the myth of Pysche’s Sorting the Seeds, ants came to her rescue before she became overwhelmed completely with the task. Ants have a zen quality about them, where they simply move in tune to get the job done however big or small. I have had the privilege of working with my mentors Rose Shakinovsky and Claire Gavronsky since 1994, two South African artists who practice as “RosenClaire”. Throughout the years they have been incredible teachers who combine not only art theory, art technique, and disciplines as far (and close) as physics, spirituality and the everyday into their teaching practice. I have studied them at different points in my life, in crisis mode and in creative flow and they have continually been my ants, showing through example that given the right perspective on the task at hand, anything can be accomplished.
They recently had a show last year at Goodman Gallery in Capetown, where in one piece they played with art history and quoted an Asger Jorn painting from 1962, called The Avant Garde Doesn’t Give Up. In his piece he had bought a painting at a flea market, painted over it, and scribbled the title as text in French on the painting. As a “Situationist” he was making a statement about reclaiming the object, and making a statement about object versus action. RosenClaire painted the painting of his flea market painting, and changed the words to read The Avant Garde Doesn’t Give Up, but in Italian (where they spend half their time). I saw the image, the layers of the image and couldn’t resist making the piece for this Pushdot exhibit, given the fact that pushdot is all about making a copy of an original. I’ve chosen to not have the words, and to place an actual jump rope in front of the piece. Taking Jorn’s original idea of reclaiming an object, and perhaps making it functional. Double dutch perhaps?
Lastly, I found the gender play in this image too interesting to pass over. Jorns simply drew a mustache on the bourgeois girl in her pretty dress, likely making a reference to Marcel Duchamp’s L.H.O.O.Q. from 1919 where Duchamp drew a mustache on a poster of the Mona Lisa. I actually think it’s a fascinating combination – young girl as man. Man as young girl. Etcetera.