Sometimes, the best (or worst) thing about art is that it can have the power to make you uncomfortable.
It can put notions in front of you that your mind may have thought before but you’d never dare say to yourself, let alone to anyone else.
This is why I’ve been so taken by my recent discovery, Morne Venter.
Mornes latest exhibition, “A Flesh Coloured Mess”, is showing (and selling) at No End Contemporary Art Space in Linden. It’s only showing until 7 March so you need to go and check it out asap.
Apparently, Morne did all of the pieces in the collection in 2017. It launched at the end of February, which means he did the entire collection in under 2 months. I know! And I finished a Netflix series in that time.
Before seeing it, I read that the exhibition is about existentialism, messiness, interpretation and horror.
Personally I really enjoy work when I have context. For me it’s intriguing to have insight into the artists headspace at the time that the work was created.
So the fact that Morne writes these mysterious, dark, beautiful and sometimes contradictory phrases makes each piece even more fascinating. This also positions him, in my opinion, as not only a visual artist but a wonderful writer as well.
Given where I am in my life, having left my job to try and find a deeper meaning to my life, I often wonder if “meaning” isn’t just something we create to convince ourselves that our lives actually even have a bigger purpose. That we aren’t just here because of a fortunate combination of the big bang, some atoms and evolution (aka we’re just A Flesh Coloured Mess).
But the moment I dwell too deeply into this realm of thought, something naturally pulls me back because, if the conclusion isn’t favourable, it may be too difficult to face.
Morne’s exhibition doesn’t shy away from this, and maybe that’s why he finished the collection so quickly (my own speculation) – it’s a very rich territory but not something you can dwell on too long if you choose to remain a sane human being.
Here are some of my favorite pieces from the exhibition along with the lines he wrote to go with them.
Having mentioned my (obsessive) need for context, I did some further research on the artist.
I found a blog of drawings, phrases and poetry that he’s been doing for a while called Putdownness.
Every piece is either so brutally honest it hurts to read because it brings to mind some of the innately human things you’ve done and never want to think about or so honest that it exposes all the negative thoughts we have about ourselves.
Nowadays you’re only one Instagram page away from being reminded how terribly dull and unimaginative you are, and Mornes work exposes those feelings in broad daylight.
I’m really happy to have found Mornes work and will become an avid collector and follower for sure.