Artist Clifford Charles' exhibition '"Umwelt" is on at Arts on Main until 1 July.
Umwelt showcases the work Charles completed while resident at Nirox, in the Cradle of Humankind, earlier this year for six weeks.
He said staying at the Cradle of Humankind allowed him to complete his painting skins and continue exploring water drawings, which were first presented at the 50th Venice Biennale.
He exhibited at the 2003 Venice Biennale and his work is held in both public and private collections.
Charles graduated with a BA in Fine Arts from the University of Witwatersrand in apartheid South Africa. As one of the earliest members of the Afrika Cultural Centre, he also worked for 15 years as an artist-activist in unions, hospitals and other institutions.
Author and playwright Bheki Peterson was quoted saying, "Charles’ evocative ink drawings chart new visual and physical spaces in post-apartheid South Africa bearing witness to the slippage, multiple layers and forgetfulness in the lived experience of postcolonial Africa."
Charles’ work ranges from his early socially engaged art to his new-found contemplative work. He draws inspiration from various philosophical traditions and writings from German Materialism to Eastern poetry.
The concept Umwelt has its roots in biology and can be traced back more than 100 years to Jakob von Uexküll and is recently surfacing in philosophy and neurology studies.
Loosely translated, the word Umwelt means the environment and how we engage with it, and helps explain knowledge and the way we perceive the world. If anything it helps to challenge certainties and sow doubt – both key concepts in Charles’ artistic expression.
For more information visit www.artsonmain.co.za