S p i e ë l k a m e r
7 November to 12 December 2015
Spieëlkamer, the title given to this collection of collaborative paintings by Jacobus and Alet, is a constructed Afrikaans word meaning ‘room of mirrors’. The title captures the essence of their conceptual goal, mirroring their games of layered meanings and their masterful abilities at harnessing metaphors.
Jacobus and Alet’s collaboration is unique in terms of how it was structured. With Alet working in Pretoria and Jacobus in Cape Town, they did not share a studio, did not work on the same paintings and did not try to simulate each other’s style or subject matter. Initially it was Jacobus who would set the tone by sending Alet small canvas boards with a sketch and colour swatches for the waterfall painting he was planning or had started working on. As the project advanced, their interactions became more balanced and Jacobus’ lead became less dominant. Images of these ‘painting telegrams’ have been reproduced opposite Alet’s paintings in the catalogue. This collaboration developed over approximately 18 months during which 12 pairings were explored with Jacobus sometimes painting 2 interpretations of the particular waterfall.
As professional artists, one would have expected some evidence of competition – like athletes training together. The only suggestion of this must be the extraordinary level of mastery and craftsmanship evident in their paintings. Their respect for each other’s artistic ability, as well as for their painting medium, have definitely inspired them both to new heights. Both artists also produced small preparatory paintings as exercises or sketches during this project. The quality and intensity of these small paintings made us insist that they should be exhibited and catalogued as part of this exhibition.
Jacobus and Alet have most definitely succeeded in their goal to engage with viewers on a visual, emotional and cerebral level and we are proud to showcase this superb collection of paintings. By visually stimulating our reflective abilities they have created multiple angles from which the illusions created by their ‘room of mirrors’ could overpower our rational perceptions. Their seductive artworks free our minds and imagination from our conditioned state and let us float weightlessly over the landscape of our life’s journey – providing us with a vantage point from where every reflection can be reflected on.
© Johans Borman Fine Art