Frikkie Eksteen, studio visit, April 2016

Frikkie Eksteen, studio visit, April 2016

frikkie eksteen (b 1973)

second state: an exhibition of painting

opens thu 9 june 6-8pm | ends sat 9 jul 10am-2pm



A graduate in the town of his birth, Frikkie Eksteen completed his Masters degree at the University of Pretoria in 2000.Recipient of numerous awards, his work has been exhibited locally and internationally. Formerly a permanent lecturer in fine art and multimedia at UNISA, Eksteen currently lectures part-time at the University of Pretoria. His work is principally concerned with the interface between portrait painting and computer imaging.
Eksteen is the recipient of numerous awards, including ABSA L’Atelier, SASOL New Signatures and Spier Contemporary. His most recent solo exhibition was Eremozoic / Era of Solitude at the KKNK National Arts Festival in Oudtshoorn, 2015. His work is in collections including at the Pretoria Art Museum, University of Pretoria, UNISA, SASOL, ABSA and MTN.

In printmaking, a ‘second state’ refers to an unalterable, if sometimes incremental, change made to a matrix such as an etching plate or woodblock. This reworked impression can help the artist to get an idea of the work that is still required to complete the image. Prints may go through many such states before completion and each of these snapshots represents a moment of intentional reflection, and even the possibility of changing direction.

Frikkie Eksteen’s recent paintings are second states for similar, but also more ambiguous reasons:

  1. He paints over a printed linear matrix that is designed with 3D software. In 3D modelling these wireframe structures are considered a ‘first state’ that is normally completed by covering their geometry with various simulated materials and textures. In Eksteen’s artworks the textures are painted by hand – a process which creates a strategic clash of materials. Texturing a 3D model in oil paint is a bit like doing laser surgery with a bread knife. Paint, both as a material and as a process, is a crude and hopelessly imprecise substitute for pixels. It is this technical incompatibility between media that unexpectedly allows them to speak to, and through each other as technologies of unique kinds of matter and meaning.
  2. Many of the artworks on this show were previously exhibited, but have since been reworked. Their current state shows them in a reimagined form and attests to the inevitable incompleteness of any artistic project, where ideas and images are constantly revisited, revised, recycled and rejected.
  3. Thematically, the work also speaks of another state brought about by our unsustainable relationship with the natural world. Biologist E.O. Wilson calls this age the Eremozoic – a period of mass extinctions that will result solely from the activities of humans. It is also poetically referred to as The Age of Loneliness because humans will be the only survivors in a world that has been remade in their image and to meet their needs. It is a place where traces of extinct organisms can be found only in what we share with them in our genome. The artist’s unconventional approach to portraiture attempts to capture something about this embodied memory of the animal within us.

Frikkie Eksteen, May 2016

A catalogue featuring an interview, by Johan Thom with Eksteen and his new work on exhibition will be published online soon. A limited edition, signed and numbered by the artist will be printed. Should you be interested in pre-ordering a copy feel free to contact us.