21.9 – 21.10 2023
Kate Gottgens:A String of Signs
21.09 – 21.10.2023
Huxley-Parlour is pleased to present A String of Signs, the first UK exhibition by South African artist Kate Gottgens. With a focus on the suburban domestic, Gottgens explores nostalgia, entropy and the ephemeral. Her work is, in part, inspired by writings of Roland Barthes, for whom all images carry the possibility of multiple meanings: a ‘floating chain of signifieds.’
Comprising 12 new canvases, and a group of new monotypes, the exhibition consists of imagined scenes constructed from de-contexualised imagery drawn from an extensive archive of found, vernacular photographs. Gottgens interrupts an otherwise photographic sense of reality in her canvases with passages of indistinction, self-cancellation or abrasion, echoing the faded, degraded nature of the photographs that gave rise to them. In reappropriating historic imagery, Gottgens seeks to reduce time to a single moment, captured in a single frame of past, present and future. Using intense colour and washes or veils of paint she disturbs and effaces her scenes and figures, resisting the fixity or certainty of objecthood and subjecthood.
B. South Africa1965
Built from multiple de-contextualised, vernacular sources, Kate Gottgens’ compositions reject specification in time and location. Gottgens’ artistic practice exorcises the malaise that stems from the superficiality of suburban life, understanding ‘entropy and collapse’ to be central to the contemporary experience.
Gottgens was born in Durban, South Africa in 1965. She graduated from the Michaelis School of Fine Art at the University of Cape Town in 1987. She has exhibited her work internationally, in Europe, India, South Africa and the United States. Her work has been included in 100 Painters of Tomorrow (2014) and In the World : Essays on Contemporary South African Art (2017). In 2019 she won the Ampersand Fellowship Award. She lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa.