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Indepth Arts News:

"Keith Dietrich: Horizons of Babel"
2004-06-08 until 2004-06-29
US Art Gallery
Stellenbosch, ML, ZA South Africa

Keith Dietrich will exhibit his “Horizons of Babel” from the 8th of June 2004 at the US Art Gallery, cor. Dorp & Bird Street, Stellenbosch. The exhibition comprises 64 double-page spread maps stretching from Cape Columbine to Cape Agulhas and 7 panorama aquarelle paintings. The project is framed against the background of a fascination with the topography of the country that dominated the interests of both amateur and professional artists from the colonial period to the present. Horizons of Babel is to a large degree informed by the concept of the disembodied panorama, and the particular relationship between the panorama and panopticon.

The site of the project is located on a semicircle between Cape Columbine on the West Coast of the Cape, and Cape Agulhas, with the centre falling on the hill Babelonstoring in the vicinity of Paarl / Franschhoek / Stellenbosch. Seven co-ordinates were identified on this semicircle at 30o intervals, and each co-ordinate was systematically documented. The outcome of the project is a book object and a semicircular panorama installation of aquarelle paintings roughly six metres in diameter, broken into seven sections (Cape Columbine, Verlorenvlei, Hottentotsberg, Roosterberg, Anysberg, Napkei and Agulhas) corresponding to the above-mentioned co-ordinates.

The project explores how images construct knowledge and investigates the relationship between the centre and periphery. In this respect the association between the centre (Babelonstoring or Tower of Babel) and the place names along the periphery (such as Hoedklip, Uitkomst, Duyker Eiland, Langfontein, Wittedrift, Matroozefontein, etc.), as well as the cultural, geographic, botanical and zoological diversity of the region acquire metaphorical significance.


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