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Indepth Arts News:

"Uwe Pfaff 2003"
2003-04-24 until 2003-05-17
Studio 77
Cape Town, , ZA South Africa

Cape Town artist Uwe Pfaff is opening Studio 77 to the public for his second show in recent years in the city. ‘Uwe Pfaff 2003’ includes sculpture in ceramic, wood and steel as well as Pfaff’s signature cutout steel pictures. The latter have revealed themselves as respectable musical instruments, and these ‘sound sculptures’ will be featured in a performance by the Flying Cow Gratuitous Noise Ensemble at the opening.

A cast of many, their way illuminated by candles, parades endlessly around the formats constructed by Uwe Pfaff in his recent steel cut-out works. But while the characters - humans, angels, fish, serpents and various hybrid creatures - and the settings are provided by Pfaff, the plot still remains a secret. There are recurrent objects, like staffs, consoles, candles and chairs, which hint at some kind of ceremony or journy, but Pfaff is concerned more with creating the potential or capacity for myth than the details thereof. It would be innappropiate to call the spaces between the images "negative shapes" since these are the ground in which a narrative can take root. The quality of Pfaff's line is such that the turns and folds favour an image on either side, lending equal importance to both.

Although Pfaff is at pains to point out that he conceives of his silkscreens and metal cut-outs seperately, one can't avoid searching for a relationship btween the two. After all, the filigree left by his cutting torch is not unlike the stencils through which the ink is allowed to pass in the silkscrenning process. It is tempting to see the silkscreens as close-ups of the figures from the metal cut-outs, which appear annimated, on closer inspection, by an ambient and incessant wallpaper of tattoos, brands and graffiti. On the other hand, mabye the metal cut-outs are close-ups of this unceasing graphic agitation. It's impossible to say..

The glyphs and script which fill the forms in Pfaff's silkscreens have none of the threat of horror vacuii, but they do have the stamina of an incessant chatter and tireless internal monologue which is all to familiar. Sometimes this is the dream-world calling as a protagonist moves between sleep and wakefulness. Other times it is a sort of matrix, as much unconscious doodle as a age-old mitochondria, which inhabits Pfaff's forms. The simply and stably posed androgynous figures are rendered in satisfying tones and hues, lending them the balance they need beig both figure and ground as they are.


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