Willem Boshoff / Oh My Word! / 2014

About

Text,context, subtext and pretext are prime areas of concern in the new solo exhibition by Willem Boshoff titled Oh My Word!

As the title implies, taking ownership of one’s actions also involves possessing the power to describe. Beyond the exclamation though we have the simple truth of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s remark, ‘Words are Deeds’.

The exhibition in its entirety addresses the question of whether words give us an acceptable reason to take action, or whether words themselves constitute action.

Fracking, extreme militancy, exploitation of people and land — all relevant issues that give rise to discussion and fury — are pictured in stratified sculptural compositions that combine a simple word or statement with found objects bearing some relation to the themes.

The mammoth site specific land intervention Earth Signal is consciously placed between the remnants of bushman rock art and a site of fracking in the Karoo. Here, in an arid landscape, Boshoff spelled out the words ‘piss off’ in stacks of burning wood.

The work reflects a recurring response that Boshoff received to a question he asked many people: ‘what would the earth say if it could speak back?

According to Boshoff, the reply was, ‘piss off’…or worse.

Now presented on video, the 240 square-metre Earth Signal was filmed with a helicopter drone, with six propellers, hovering 50 metres in the sky. The work took a week to construct out of 160 large bags of wood and 60 bales of straw. The burning involved 110 litres of fire gel and a drum of fuel.

When asked about the motivation for his action Boshoff said, ‘It’s about farting against thunder. Everybody talks about “stop fracking” – I just keep quiet and I go and burn a big thing and I make some trouble, real trouble. And then nothing happens.’

Other topical themes include war in the Middle East. In the collage Human Shield the word is spelled out in shards of broken crockery. Over the word, on a layer of clear Perspex, there are broken metal seals once used to secure armoury and other valuable items. This appropriation of domestic objects that no longer provide any safeguard evokes the remnants of war, both material and corporeal.

The collage Death of African art features a wooden base irreverently dotted with cut-up African craft objects, the kind of which one would find in the ubiquitous tourist market place. The composition of different coloured chips spells out the word ‘Yuck’, aimed at an industry that subsists on the mass production of supposedly traditional artefacts.

Explorations of democratic values, an abstract portrayal of wild game hunting, objectification of the female body and word-research into the limitlessness of language reveal Boshoff to be an artist who has mastered a complex visual and verbal language that collides with the elements it uses to communicate.

  • Death of African Art

    Willem Boshoff

    Death of African Art , 2014

    Collection of wooden curios (African figures, masks, Elephants, Rhinoceros etc.), cut up into small pieces and ...

  • Labia Dentata

    Willem Boshoff

    Labia Dentata, 2014

    Rusted steel base, 21 used animal traps, also called gin traps, including solid blade spring traps, thin jaws opening t...

  • Spoondance

    Willem Boshoff

    Spoondance, 2014

    37 Tarnished silver spoons mounted on a used plywood base, Q-bond adhesive, nuts and bolts.

    166 x 113.5 x 10cm

    ...
  • Tipping the Scale II- Astragalomancy

    Willem Boshoff

    Tipping the Scale II- Astragalomancy , 2014

    Found objects: a brass laboratory scale with detachable front panel in a case of glass and Phil...

  • Self Portrait 2014

    Willem Boshoff

    Self Portrait 2014, 2014

    Lambda print mounted on acrylic, ed of 3 + 2 AP

    Image 120 x 180, Paper size 126 x 186cm

    Edition of 2...

  • OH!

    Willem Boshoff

    OH!, 2014

    Thermobonded felt: Polypropylene (30%), cotton (35%) and acrylic (35%). small plastic dressed-up dolls

  • Landlocked

    Willem Boshoff

    Landlocked, 2014

    Broken porcelain shards, 2100 industrial seals/locks, extruded acrylic, used plywood base-boards

    151.5 x 250.5 x 13...

  • Elephant Peepsite

    Elephant Peepsite, 2014

    Etching by Johan Thom with lines made up of alphabet beads on extruded acrylic super

    220 x 127.5cm

  • Homage to Kurt Schwitters

    Willem Boshoff

    Homage to Kurt Schwitters, 2013

    Wood and various sands

    250 x 128.5cm

  • Dark Xylophone

    Willem Boshoff

    Dark Xylophone , 2014

    144 Sculptures black wooden sticks (Dalbergia melanoxylon), fabric, steel

    215 x 67 x 71cm

  • Ambush

    Willem Boshoff

    Ambush, 2014

    Small wooden blocks, snippets from large twigs and branches

    308 x 188 x 5cm

  • Installation picture [Willem Boshoff / Oh My Word! / 2014]
  • Installation picture [Willem Boshoff / Oh My Word! / 2014]
  • Installation picture [Willem Boshoff / Oh My Word! / 2014]
  • Installation picture [Willem Boshoff / Oh My Word! / 2014]
  • Installation picture [Willem Boshoff / Oh My Word! / 2014]
  • Installation picture [Willem Boshoff / Oh My Word! / 2014]
  • Installation picture [Willem Boshoff / Oh My Word! / 2014]
  • Installation picture [Willem Boshoff / Oh My Word! / 2014]
  • Installation picture [Willem Boshoff / Oh My Word! / 2014]
  • Installation picture [Willem Boshoff / Oh My Word! / 2014]
  • Installation picture [Willem Boshoff / Oh My Word! / 2014]
  • Installation picture [Willem Boshoff / Oh My Word! / 2014]
  • Installation picture [Willem Boshoff / Oh My Word! / 2014]
  • Installation picture [Willem Boshoff / Oh My Word! / 2014]
  • Installation picture [Willem Boshoff / Oh My Word! / 2014]
  • Installation picture [Willem Boshoff / Oh My Word! / 2014]