As much as contemporary art is about commentary on art itself, some of its fundamental intent remains: Art is about reflecting (in some cases even defining) our times, values and culture.
When one looks back at the legacy of art and the timeline in human history it represents, you become aware of our ever growing, ever expanding visual language: our ability to continuously develop new modes of expression and our capacity for and vigour in constantly creating new visual metaphors, incorporating imagery from an ever-changing world in new and innovative reflections of that world. Today more than ever, a good level of visual literacy is as important as a higher education in navigating a culture that is visually driven in every aspect.
It is this highly developed visual language of the 21st century, with "dialects" of symbolism, iconography and branding that serves as primary reference for this body of work. Our visual culture is largely driven by technology. Much of our everyday experience of the world is now filtered through a screen of some kind. Our technology is not flawless and often presents us with "glitches" or visual malfunctions.
As a starting point I am ‘capturing’ and incorporating these moments of malfunction, both accidental and intentional in the creation of a new series of portraits. Using these imperfections as a vehicle for social commentary and commentary on art itself.
Works in the series explore the polarities between the controlled and unpredictable. It focuses on the repurposing of intentionally corrupted imagery and questions what it means if we reclaim the “errors” in our technology and use them as tools in representing and defining ourselves.
The interplay or relationships between gender and identity, gender and sexuality and the contradictions between the physical and emotional world, has been some of his major fields of exploration.
His work is visually confrontational, but most often serves as a simple “question” posed to the viewer. He has presented images of castrated men (La Mort, 1998), confronting notions and understanding about gender by beckoning the viewer to confess “who they are without their genitals” He has combined the faces of male and female sitters into a single androgynous portraits (xx=xy, 2015) asking the viewer to identify the gender of the image and in so doing to expose their own gender bias understanding of the visual world.
Eksteen, is currently living and working in Durban, South Africa.
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