Peter Mammes, Humanity, Paintbrush and ink on drafting film, 30 x 84 cm, 2016

Peter Mammes, Humanity, Paintbrush and ink on drafting film, 30 x 84 cm, 2016


22 september – 22 october 2016

fried contemporary is proud to present an exhibition of new word by peter mammes

Peter Mammes was born in 1986, he attended the National School of the Arts in Braamfontein and received no further formal training. Peter makes patterned drawings with a paintbrush pen and ink. He is a full time artist based in Johannesburg and has had several solo exhibitions and regularly participates in group shows.

Peter set up studios in Russia and India and travels extensively to source new ideas and often nds material in obscure places such as in medical museums in India, cemeteries and war museums in Moscow. These have provided him wit a rich stock of idiosyncratic visual material. In India Peter found lepers and deformed people who became subjects for his drawings. He also met his wife, who is from Russia, in India. Some time later he went back to India and worked on drawings for six months in Varanasi.

He believes art should be beautiful and tries to find beauty in the obscure, absurd and macabre. Peter’s interests further extend to politics, philosophy and science as they inform his practice. Peter’s work often deals with several ideas at once; he tries to find nuanced and indirect ways to express thoughts in an array of patterned compositions.

I use images as placeholders for ideas; each image represents a spectrum of concepts mirroring reality’s nuanced and varied states.

History is presented as simple grand narratives and those narratives shape our current political and social conceptions. Through my work I attempt to challenge those narratives.

Humans get knowledge from written sources and visual information and very seldom from first hand experience. Historical events are presented through a narrow spectrum manufactured to t an agenda. We believe in in these generated myths and those myths inform our ideas of good and evil. Historical narrative is, thus, constructed in a very particular way to bene t the current status quo and written in a manner that makes this narrative almost impossible to question. We as the consumers of information can ultimately not find the truth. History is propaganda.

I believe that to unmask this agenda it is necessary to challenge grand narratives, I do this by refraining from imposing an alternative account. I source my subject matter from museums and on my travels interspersed with images I find in books and textbooks. I often focus on portraiture placing particular attention on pivotal historical figures. The great wars of the 20th century and the Boer War are also of a particular interest especially as definitive events that shaped our current political systems.

I work with patterns and symmetry. Patterns are a way to encapsulate an entire civilizations’ visual thinking that I use in pictorial compositions. No pattern is designed anew, it is an accumulation and evolution of ideas built upon ideas over the course of a peoples existence. Patterns show the progression and development of a culture, it shows the way it has interacted with other cultures. Patterns are a visual embodiment of a societies’ relationship with technology, myths and perceptions.

My work does not concern itself with final statements but rather with a process of continual questioning.