Fine artist Kirsten Beets has a new exhibition called Mirage that transports us somewhere between the feeling of a hot, dry Cape Town sans water, and the luscious green ecosystems of preserved botanical gardens in the Mother City. Her new work exposes the illusionary space of the picture plane and the equally illusionary ‘natural’ spaces of leisure that humans construct.
“The exhibition title, Mirage, keys us into this perspective. It refers to the appearance of water on a hot surface caused from the refraction of light by heated air. Hot and cool, dry and lush: water emerges as the defining apparition of the transfer between these states of experience. Water is a commodity, a human right, strikingly under threat with the current drought that has scorched the Western Cape. During a summer usually associated with leisure and pleasure, the preservation of this resource has been a constant reminder of the human need to become caretakers of our natural world,” says the exhibiting gallery, Salon 91.
It seems at odds that the Western Cape is experiencing a water crisis and yet, we’re surrounded by the sea. We enjoy frequent visits to the beach and witness the waves rolling onto the sand while sipping our bottled water. In this natural setting, it’s easy to forget about the current scarcity of water. Visual artist, Natasha Norman, says of the work, “as people in spaces, there are illusions we may choose to delight in, but what might they reveal about our relationship to the natural environment at large?”.