8 November - 15 December 2012

Conrad Botes

Zombie Babylon

STEVENSON is pleased to present a solo show of new work by Conrad Botes.

For this exhibition Botes continues his recent series of paintings on canvas while also showing his distinctive reverse-glass paintings, sculptures and drawings. The paintings on this show have evolved from the religious imagery he presented at his last exhibition at the gallery in Cape Town. He has continued to explore repetition, the effect of which is to make sacred images, especially, more overtly consumable. Over the past few months he has also been fascinated by the optical effects of colour, and has created paintings that pulsate with a psychedelic intensity. The result is an unlikely and unexpected presentation of iconic images. Another series of paintings features horrifying imagery, yet rendered in beautiful and optical colours that simultaneously seduce and repulse, reminding us of how our perceptions are influenced by colour.

The title of the exhibition is inspired by the song Hobo Babylon (2002) by Deadbolt, who describe themselves as 'The Scariest Band in the World' because of their dramatic displays using power tools in their concerts and their violent and provocative lyrics. For Botes, the pairing of the words 'Zombie' and 'Babylon' acutely conveys the impoverished dream-like reality of modern life, in which most people's daily experience resembles a blurring of soap opera and horror movie. The consumer in contemporary society is already a zombie, the walking dead, living in the shadows and chasing illusions of happiness through insatiable and mindless consumption, inevitably remaining discontent. Botes' imagery in the paintings on this exhibition serves as allegories of how some dark force has seemingly taken over our minds and left us lost, wandering in malls and trawling the internet for distraction from our intense dissatisfaction with life.

Botes, born in 1969, lives in Cape Town. He has previously held solo exhibitions at Stevenson Cape Town in 2007, 2009 and 2011, and at Stevenson Johannesburg in 2009. His work has recently been included in Victims and Martyrs at the Gothenburg Kunsthalle in Sweden (2011); Impressions from South Africa, 1965 to Now, an exhibition of prints at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2011); Glanzlichter: Reverse glass paintings in contemporary art at Museum Villa Rot, Burgrieden-Rot, Germany (2010); and the 17th Biennale of Sydney (2010).

The exhibition opens Thursday 8 November 2012 from 6 to 8pm.

The gallery is open from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, and Saturday 10am to 1pm.