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Clive Van Den Berg Line Of Beauty compress image 2 2 - Clive Van Den Berg Line Of Beauty

Goodman Gallery is pleased to present Line of Beauty, a new
series of paintings, drawings and sculptural works by Clive van den Berg.

Line of Beauty takes its title from an
exploration of the aesthetic current underpinning the political ideas and
concerns present throughout van den Berg’s practice. 

Landscape is one such recurrent
theme. Van den Berg’s interest in this imagery relates to ideas surrounding the
“distemper” of our lived experience. For the artist, land serves as a powerful
symbolic marker for these anxieties, which are contained in both the personal
and political. Van den Berg explains this further by separating the idea of
land into two concepts: above and below ground. 

“Above ground in our country
has been important in many ways, from commercial uses to migration,” he says.
“But below ground is where the heart of unresolved history lies. And we,
as South Africans, try to create a modernist state and landscape, which denies
that trauma and past.” 

Van den Berg addresses this in
his work by confronting the tradition of South African landscape painting.
Historical depictions of land, which were primarily filtered through Western
perception, sought to posses the territory by recording its surface image.
In turn, Van den Berg “peels the surface off the land and makes the landscapes
porous”. Surface and underneath, past and present, are simultaneously presented
on the canvas. 

“That relationship of surface
to interior is one of the complexities of vision. And that is a political
vision: What is on the surface and what does it conceal?” The result is
paintings which contains various figurative elements, ghosts, witnesses, single
and grouped figures.

This interest in the state of flux between past and present and
the conscious and unconscious minds takes a different form in van den Berg’s
sculptures. A gilded pillow, for instance, bears the imprint of its sleeper. Titled
Lay your Head, a nod to the poet W.H. Auden, this simple object becomes a kind
of memorial to the complex realm of rest, dream and conscience.

Of the exhibition title, van
den Berg says, “Beauty is hard work. It harnesses the very opposite impulses to
those whose result is fascism and bigotry. I strive for it”. 

About the artist 

Clive van den Berg is an
artist, curator, designer, writer and teacher, who lives and works in
Johannesburg, South Africa. 

As a designer, van den Berg has
worked both alone and with some of the nation’s top architects and civic
planners to create unique buildings and public spaces in post apartheid South
Africa. Combining museum design, curatorial practice and environmental art, van
den Berg has worked to produce a distinctly South African aesthetic for
numerous public spaces, which is both sensitive to local traditions and
creative of new possibilities.

Among his major projects are Freedom Park, the Northern Cape
Legislature buildings, the museums at Constitution Hill, and several major
Mandela Foundation exhibitions. More recently, van den Berg was
responsible for the exhibition design at the Johannesburg. Holocaust and
Genocide Centre. 

As a visual artist van den Berg
is interested in both formal beauty and conceptual depth. His extensive body of
work ranges in size and format, and includes paintings, prints, multi-media
sculpture, landscape installation, and videography. His art is both known and respected
internationally, being included in many public and private collections, and his
work has garnered him several major awards and prizes.

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