Cameron Platter’s I SAW THIS solo exhibition opened last night at WHATIFTHEWORLD in Woodstock. His interdisciplinary work examines consumption, excess, detritus, discord and conflict within a fragmented South African identity. Through engagement with transitory sources, his work acts as a locus, documenting a dysfunctional contemporary reality. This exhibition was no exception, as the artist explains in this laconic chat.
The title of your current show, I SAW THIS, suggests that a tale is about to follow – what are some of the stories that you are telling in this exhibition?
The title is lifted from a print from Goya’s Disasters of War series, made between 1810 and 1820. This show is less about telling a story, than documenting and marking a dysfunctional contemporary reality.
Artificial artefacts that become awkwardly enduring souvenirs from throwaway consumer culture, pop-primitivism – please tell us about some of the themes and motifs that reoccur in your work…
Therapy, sex, craft, pornography, psychology, excess, trash, food, collage, advertising, drawing, politics, transience, landscape, history, vernacular traditions, signs, etc, etc…
I SAW THIS includes works across a range of different mediums – drawing, sculpture, textiles and ceramics. Is this a case of ‘the medium is the message’?
The message is dispersed across many mediums.
Irony drips off your work like fat off a KFC wing – does humour have a specific role in SA today?
Are we good at laughing at ourselves?
Please tell us about the series of drawings in this exhibition and how they fit into the overarching narrative…
I’m showing abstract pencil drawings, a remake of Matisse’s wall painting in his chapel in Vence, a mural that asks whether we’re HUNGRY, and a series of charcoal drawings that had their genus in Miami strip clubs. All my drawings are concerned with documentation.
What do you enjoy about working in collaboration with other people, and how do you experience sharing ‘the making of’ process?
I consider myself doing a similar job to that of a conductor, film director, or architect.
How do the extrospective concerns that your work challenges and engages with reflect and relate to your own internal experiences, both as an artist and a citizen?
Everything I make is my internal attempt to deal with the ‘exterior’.
Your work is subversive in many regards – among these challenging distinctions between ‘high’ and ‘lowbrow’ art, as well as ‘art’ and ‘craft’. Please tell us more about this…
I’m not setting out to challenge these boundaries or distinctions. My work just throws light on these ‘imposed’ hierarchical differences.
There is no difference to me, between a 3 metre wooden sculpture and a Monster energy drink.
What are you most excited about right now (can be in the arts realm or wider world, or both)?
I’m most excited about eating, sleeping, and shitting.
An excerpt from the artist’s statement:
In this body of work, Platter has looked towards an internal landscape, while cannibalizing personal, political, and social sources to recharge the contemporary experience. These new series, hybrid monuments to transience and impermanence, highlight Platter’s continued subversion of both medium and content.
I SAW THIS is on at WHATIFTHEWORLD until 29 March 2014.
1 Argyle Street, Woodstock, Cape Town.
Tues – Fri 10am – 5pm / Sat 10am – 2pm