The David Krut Gallery in Joburg is currently exhibiting the unique, multi-media work of Stephen Hobbs. 'Be Careful in the Working Radius' is his new body of work comprising a series of editioned prints, made using combinations of woodblock and linocut techniques. The exhibition opened on 30 May and runs until 13 July – an exhibit not to be missed. Stephen’s work is innovative in the sense that it also consists of sculptural objects made by repurposing the woodblocks used for printing the editions, and a limited edition artist’s pop-up book. The artist’s subject matter – and his multidisciplinary approach – is indicative of and inspired by humanity’s relationship with the built environment. Focusing particularly on Johannesburg since 1994, Hobbs has created a dialogue with urban space through video, installation, curated projects, photography and sculpture. His concept uses the city as a tool for understanding the complexities, contradictions and potentialities inherent in the relationships between people and the city. HL chatted to Stephen about his work and influences...
'I work across most media and more recently have been looking at print making as a spatial medium through the manipulation of the printing plates themselves and the cutting up of prints.My biggest influences, especially for this work, is the City of Johannesburg, Rem Koolhaas' writings and Gordon Matta Clark,' he says. 'The main thrust of my work involves an investigation into the role art can play in defining urban situations and cities experiencing interesting shifts in their political or social character. This is most evident in Joburg.'
'Be Careful in the Working Radius' uses spatial urban concepts surrounding various cities in Africa to transform a conventional approach to printmaking; in a way forcing the physical properties of the ink, the paper and the printing blocks to become part of a visual language relating to ironic or contradictory urban conditions.'
HL were also eager to find out what his biggest challenge as an artist is, especially working in this environment and with mixed-media. 'Possibly getting people to understand the interrelationship between the public space practices of our artist's collective and the formal and conceptual concerns of my studio-based work,' Stephen shared. 'Artists in South Africa have an opportunity to present special insights into the unique cultural conditions that exist here, with a view to shifting unnecessary negative perceptions about particular places or people.' Visit the exhibition at David Krut Gallery, 142 Jan Smuts Avenue, Parkwood, Johannesburg, running until 13 July. For more information contact the gallery on firstname.lastname@example.org or 011-447-0627. Visit their website at davidkrut.com.
Text Lisa Wallace