"I have become increasingly interested in what Umberto Eco called the semiotic web, a notion that things are not defined in themselves, but by way of their relation to all other things" – Jeremy Wafer (2002): In Survey, Sasol Art Museum, University of Stellenbosch
This project – an exhibition and publication titled Structure: Avenues and Barriers of Power in the Work of Jeremy Wafer – traces the artist’s production over a period of 25 years. The project starts by assuming that geometry is underlined by something greater than numbers, measurements, angles, trigonometry and the immediate beauty that originates from these applications of mathematics. It tries to fathom, beyond the strictly austere and the exactingly severe, the variability of emotions that function beneath the form.
In order to achieve some linear coherence within the abstraction of open-endedness, the project traces, in Wafer’s work, the movement from the masculine to the feminine, from the line to the circle, from the rigid to the free form, from the exactitude of mathematics to the imprecision of chance.
The key theme though that emerges is Wafer’s insistence on the importance of the arbitrary, and in willing it to reveal its role in the bigger picture. It is in this working method where Wafer’s contribution to art history is at its most significant. The act of bestowing meaning and importance to the seemingly insignificant forces us to consider the fact that if one thing matter’s, perhaps everything matters. And within this, Wafer insists that the closed, modernist structures – the attribution of the singular, the defined, the absolute – may be subverted through the introduction of an open-endedness. Things may not be as simple or defined as we think.
The exhibition is curated by Brenton Maart.