I skelter around between the human traffic and GP unleaded fumes, 4 blocks up and 3 across in Braamies, accompanied by afternoon traffic. By foot, the journey to Number 17 Wolmarans Street's a pleasure, an adventure to the 10th floor where I find the weird world of Diptych.
Put together by Assemblage
, yet another of these new creative studio spaces popping up in Jozi (this one in Newtown), Diptych is supposed to be about conversation. Artists bring their works together in a sort of chit-chat between different ideas.
Inside the exhibition, cold steel and red string lead to the centre of the room, where a golden boy sits gleaming beneath a spotlight.
I continue through a maze of intrusive turbines, blades frozen like time's stopped, cement dust at my feet. There's a TV screen on one side, a salt maze magnetized to a giant orange switchboard on the other. That last part's actually a permanent part of the space but it may as well have been part of the show to me.
I mosey on over past the golden boy and make an eerie discovery: the golden boy breathes. I freeze like the turbine blades to watch. Someone's hands clap and the performance piece kicks off. The golden boy removes his headpiece and exits, still attached to all that red string.
There are photographs and giant portraits. There are crumbling bricks beneath a bath filled with creepy undulating water plants and goldfish.
The artwork on the walls looks good in the odd raw exhibition venue. The beautifully rendered naked bodies made the machinery more memorable. The average viewer isn't looking for the conversation between the pieces but it looks like it's happening whether we like it or not.
I walked out like waking up, remembering just the turbines, the golden boy and all that red string. They should've called it LSDiptych.
Diptych is open to the public on Saturday 28 September from 10:00 to 14:00, at The Liberty Building (17 Wolmarans, corner of Wolmarans and Biccard Streets, Braamfontein). Special viewings may be organised before and after the opening.
by Frances Frylinck