The seventh edition of the FNB Joburg Art Fair kicked off this week with exciting exhibitions that brought together leading artists, galleries, collectors, curators, thinkers and art lovers under one roof. I was showcasing a body of work with Johans Borman Fine Art in an exhibition titled 'Th Politics of Life' alongside fascinating portraits by Kyle Weeks and old South African Masters. I conducted a walk about of this exhibition at the fair and below is what l presented:
"Good day everyone. I want to thank you all for coming and welcome you to this walkabout. I want to firstly introduce myself. My name is Richard Mudariki, the only son of Mr and Mrs Mudariki, born some 29 years ago in Seke, Zimbabwe. I received my education and lived in Zimbabwe until 2008 when l decided to move to South Africa. For my art education, l did not go to the conventional formal art school, but was mentored but two extraordinary artists – Greg Shaw and Hellen Lerios at Gallery Delta in Harare for over 7 years. Greg and Hellen gave the most unique art education that l shall value in my life.
Secondly l would like to introduce you to my work, which is shown here. This exhibition is titled ‘The Politics of life’ and continues with my ideas of exploring my experiences and interest in the life we live on this continent, where social, cultural and political issues are so intertwined. In these works l try to showcase and question various societal issues, observing change and provoking thought. In addition, l also see it as a contribution in recording the life that we live in today, more in the fashion of a Khoisan painter, whom, centuries ago, stood with a brush in his hand recording his life and environment he lived in on the walls of their cave homes, or the impressionists or expressionist masters who noted the situations of their times in their paintings. I endeavour to do the same in our current environment.
If you will allow me, l would like to share with you my creative process and some thoughts on painting. I must be honest and say that painting is a very stressful process, especially at the beginning as l have to enter into a state of intense concentration and process all the ideas and experiences. When one paints, one is trying to be part of a tradition that spans many decades. Jed Perl, a notable writer, observes that ever since the Renaissance, painting has been the grandest intellectual adventure in the visual arts, an enormous effort to encompass the glorious instability and unevenness of experiences within the stability of a sharply bordered 2 dimensional flat space.
However, in this state, it seems l become more in touch with my inside world or the creativity side of myself. I guess one can say in that state you get into your own zone, and cross over to the other side, a transition between two worlds, slipping back and forth between what is inside and that which is outside, then bringing all that into the lines, brushstrokes, colours and forms that make up a painting.
The result, a painting, provides an opportunity for others to experience and share these sensations. Thus when one looks at a painting, two contradictory experiences are offered to them. On one hand it offers a flat 2 dimensional effect, with a surface that is filled with colour, and on the other, offers the possibility of a 3 dimensional experience, an illusion into space. It is fact and imagination, reality and fiction.
Painting coexist in two opposite experiences, but all interwoven into a single object. As a result, some scholars have noted that this twin nature of painting as both 2 dimensional reality and 3 dimensional experience, closely relates to our nature as human beings in that we a constantly splitting into two. We are body and soul (or mind). Therefore the 2 dimensional surface of a painting functions as our body whilst the 3 dimensional experience performs as our soul.
I conclude by saying that painting is not only about beauty or aesthetics (the art for art’s sake notion). It is more than that. It is about consciousness. It is about seeing ourselves. It is not like any other luxury commodity that is lacks any real use and value in our society beyond decoration, investment or cultural coolness. In today’s world where we are inundated with images at every corner, the importance of painting still holds in that it carries an inbuilt power as a hand-made object, revealing one person’s being (the artist) to another (the viewer). "