Anton Karstel




Thoughts on Wild Thing

The truck that I photographed stands at a depot in Pretoria West. It’s a kind of scrap yard that contains all these relics from the past. Some vehicles are not in service any more while others like the Njalas are used for their spare parts. The setting of the truck is visible on the edges of the representation. I focussed on a blue green/dove grey Njala with stickers on the front that read ‘Wild Thing’ and a picture of a Rhinoceros. The pictures were taken over a period of
one month. I used early morning and late afternoon light that allowed me to play with hue.
Before the show I told you that I am working with process and that things are constantly in flux. That turned out to be the case up to the eleventh hour as I feared. Things luckily fell into place and turned up some nice surprises. Chance and fluidity is something I use in painting and elements that I like to allow room for when working with other mediums. The representation is fragmented and strung together to read as a tenuous whole. The end product is not a
picture but an unfolding of a picture. (It’s interesting to note that I found pieces of the truck
removed one afternoon when I returned to take more pictures. The only sign of this in the representation is some oil on a tyre) I only saw the whole thing when it was assembled on
the floor. It was like a puzzle with some planned and some unplanned misfits filling the gaps. With the installation I decided to place the axis on the roof of the vehicle on the axis of the gallery floor. The cross motif is a strong feature which I did not anticipate. The skin lies at the entrance of the gallery, awaiting the viewer. The image appears somewhat comical and innocent, like a cardboard cut-out plaything, but it also looks a little menacing. About the wall piece: The wall virtually disappears in the general texture of the gallery surface. The builders were asked to duplicate what they have done on the rest of the gallery. Their skill serves to successfully hide their handwork. It is not pronounced as an artwork, with only a photograph to hint at its presence. It divides the gallery in two. The other side of the gallery is cut off and relegated. The back of the wall has a functional aesthetic. It looks like it serves the ‘front’, even though it is deliberately exposed and put on display.


BA (FA) University of Pretoria 1990
MA (FA) University of Pretoria 1995

Selected solo exhibitions

108314N, Pretoria Art Museum
Trail-blaze, Association of Visual Art, Cape Town
Extract, Joao Ferreira Fine Art, Cape Town
Wonderful South Africa, Millennium Gallery, Pretoria
Pol-aesthetic, Civic Gallery, Johannesburg
Too Close for Comfort, The Rembrandt Van Rijn Gallery, Johannesburg

Selected group exhibitions

Once were Painters (KKNK), Oudshoorn
Graft (Second Johannesburg Biennale), National Gallery, Cape Town
Purple and Green, Pretoria Art Museum
Earth and Everything, Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol, UK
The Way West, Newtown Galleries, Johannesburg
Springtime in Chile, Museo de Arte Contemporaneo, Santiago, Chile
Brown and Green, Pretoria Art Museum
Laager, Africus Biennale (fringe), Newtown, Johannesburg
Real Art, ICA, Johannesburg


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