Nocturama Statement

This is the exhibition statement I wrote for my first solo exhibition in 2013, Nocturama. Even though years have passed since this show, I still find myself returning to many of the themes and moods I explored in this body of work


When I visit the zoo, the first place I go and usually end up staying for the duration of my visit, are those strange, penumbral rooms where the nocturnal creatures are housed in an ethereal blue haze behind a veil of glass (You call this part of the zoo a Nocturama). I am filled with a feeling of ineffable awe and mystery when walking through this topsy-turvy micro-universe where day and night does not exist, but time is frozen in perpetual dusk.  As the late great W.G Sebald (another Nocturama lover, like myself) remarked in his wonderful dream-memoir, Austerlitz: “…all I remember of the denizens of the Nocturama is that several of them had strikingly large eyes, and the fixed, inquiring gaze found in certain painters and philosophers who seek to penetrate the darkness which surrounds us purely by means of looking and thinking.”

This dusky world intuitively becomes an analogy of art for me or at least the type of art that I find an affinity with: In my opinion, art functions within a penumbral sphere of society:  A place with no absolutes and certainties.  It rather seeps in the gap between ‘illumination’ and ‘obscuration’, a shadow-play in a grey nebulous realm where truth and lies, belief and unbelief, order and anarchy, meaning and meaninglessness intermingle to form new constellations of ideas which sometime alter the way we perceive reality. It may seem arbitrary for me to construct a metaphor between art and a Nocturama, but in essence an intrinsic part of my thinking pattern is arbitrariness and whimsy.

 My art falls within this penumbral realm (Nocturama) for a myriad of reasons. These pictures may simply appear to be whimsical fantasy scenes, but in actuality the themes I attempt to visualize are often very serious and extremely personal:  My art walks the tightrope between playfulness and solemnity, whimsy and pensiveness.  Another way in which I situate myself in this Nocturama is with my use of children’s illustration as an idiom to express my ideas.  Illustration in itself is not seen by many as forming part of ‘Fine Arts’ family, but more as a bastard child, spawned in a scandalous union between word and image.  The pictures you will see in this exhibition are my own restless bastard children: They are not really at home in fine art galleries but also not comfortable to be safely encased between the covers of a book, like their creator they feel safest in the periphery, the threshold and the boundary.