Jill Joubert - an exhibition of wooden sculpture

Tue, August 2, 2016 to Sat, August 27, 2016
  • Installation
  • Installation
  • Installation
  • Installation
  • Installation
  • 'Queen IX', 2013 - 2016, The Queen and The Mount: Yellowwood from a garden in Observatory, 153 x 49 x 49cm
  • 'Queen XI', 2016, The Queen: Jelutong and a checked, wood darning-ball. The Mount: Elderberry wood from artist’s garden in Observatory, 95 x 42 x 35cm
  • 'Queen VI', 2015 - 2016, The Queen: Found wood, curtain-ring stopper, wooden darning egg, radio aerial, nails and acupunc- ture needles, two silver spoons, bicycle gears and machine parts. The Carriage: Creosoted fence post, plastic and rubber wheels, metal discs, marble and stone eggs, glass grapes and kakariki eggs in a pewter bowl, 81 x 116 x 57cm
  • 'Queen V', 2016, The Queen: Jelutong, leather, beads; piano wire and lead. The Carriage: Plastic wheels, Jacaranda and t hirty-five-year-old vines from a garden in Woodstock, originally from Madeira, 66 x 116 x 50cm
  • 'Queen XII', 2016, The Queen: Jelutong, nylon rope from Milnerton beach, nylon hair, beads and leather. The Mount: Elderberry wood from artist’s garden in Observatory, jelutong and beads, 156 x 32 x 20cm
  • 'Queen I', 2013 - 2016, The Queen: Found wood, curtain-ring stopper, jelutong and tea strainer. The Ride: Oregon pine, plastic wheels, keys and metal hook, 43 x 61 x 35cm
  • 'Wild Wood Watcher I', 2016, Wild wood, wheels and upholstery nails, 65 x 14 x 5cm
  • 'Masked Watcher I', 2016, Found wood, wild wood, metal hoe, brass gadgets and press studs. The ‘snake’ was found by artist shortly after sighting a puff adder on an afternoon walk at Rhodes Memorial, 94 x 27 x 44cm
  • 'Masked Watcher II', 2016, Fence post, old chair parts and nylon rope all washed up on Milnerton beach. Wild wood, leak roots, roof screw seals, plastic wheels, wing nuts, upholstery nails, painted wooded curtain rings, beads and brass bells, 61 x 25 x 13cm
  • 'The Messenger', 2013 - 2016, Jelutong, found and wild wood; the snake is a re-cycled sculpture the artist made in 1990, 80 x 72 x 28cm
  • 'The Dancers', 2015 - 2016, Pine root and found wood, wild wood from a river-bed in the Soutpansberg, Limpopo; pig scapula from a vulture restaurant outside Polokwane; cowrie and sea shells as well as used lights from artist’s Corsa bakkie, 73 x 67 x 26cm
  • 'Tower I', 2013 - 2016, Rake handle and sea shells, 193 x 57 x 57cm
  • 'Tower II', 2013 - 2016, Jelutong, meranti dowels, bamboo and rubber bath plugs, 175 x 57 x 57cm
  • 'Tower III', 2013 - 2016, Jelutong, meranti, painted wooden curtan rings, mirror, the top of a large umbrella, part of a metal drill, concrete nails and chrocheted pieces, 178 x 57 x 57cm
  • 'Tower IV', 2013 - 2016, Jelutong, beads, knuckle-bones of a cow, metal discs, grinder disc and root from a fynbos shrub caught in a fire on Rondebosch Common (2011), 181 x 57 x 57cm

'The Invasion by Stately Queens Come to Rescue Princesses Trapped in Four Impenetrable Towers'

SMITH is pleased to present this installation of wood sculpture by Jill Joubert. Combined with an eclectic mix of found of objects, this exhibition has its source in creation myths and folktales. In particular, Jill Joubert has referenced Italo Calvino’s Italian Folktales, an anthology of 200 stories assembled by Calvino in 1956 and translated into English in 1980.

Jill Joubert (b. 1954) in Tzaneen, Limpopo Province, moved to Cape Town in 1972 to study art at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, UCT, where she obtained a BA (Art). In 1981 Jill became a founding-member of Handspring Puppet Company with Adrian Kohler, Basil Jones and John Weinberg. In 2009 Jill Joubert obtained a MAFA from Michaelis under the guidance of Prof. Jane Alexander

“A guiding principle in my work has been the possibility of a non-hierarchical co-existence between all sentient beings. Folktales, like dream-spaces, are set in the timeless once-upon-a-time and place of story where metamorphosis and transformation is anticipated. Many of the sculptures freely amalgamate human, animal, and plant forms suggesting the very nature of folktales themselves. In Calvino’s words, in a folktale, “above all, there must be present the infinite possibilities of mutation, the unifying element in everything: men, beasts, plants, things.” Likewise, San/Bushman stories talk of a primal time when there was no separation between humans and animals. “It was then that people were animals and animals were people.” San/Bushman rock paintings abound with therianthropes, which my work also celebrates.

Secondly, I have chosen to focus on the young girl as the protagonist in stories in which she is aided by an old woman, rather than their male counterparts. The virgin girl, or princess, in the process of maturing into her womanhood, has to leave home and embark on a dangerous journey. Inevitably, an old woman/fairy will come to her aid, but only if the maiden is kind and pure of heart. In addition, animals of the earth, sea and air, as well as rivers and inanimate objects like ovens and doors will also help her. Most stories end with the self-realisation of the protagonist, symbolised by marriage in a union of male and female opposites, with a promise of future happiness.

Finally, numbers are significant in the folktale, especially the number three. There are usually three siblings, three fairies, three gifts, three tasks, three dresses, three apples and so on. Three is also reflected in the Y-shape, present in the growing-tips of trees, which is a recurring motif in my work. Three represents the dynamic triangle; the Christian sacred trinity as well as the three divisions of inter alia: mind, body, spirit / woman, man, child / birth, life, death / past, present and future. One of the towers has three drawers, each with one, then two, then three divisions. The third tower has three dresses, the fourth being an animal-skin cape.” – Jill Joubert

In itself, the lengthy title of this body of work, The Invasion by the Stately Queens Come to Rescue Princesses Trapped in Four Impenetrable Towers, suggests a story. There is a beginning, described by three works that imply a ritual: The Messenger, The Dance and The Sacrifice. There are indeed four towers, whose heavy bases of steel suggest pylons or windmills. However, unlike the stereotypical prince in folktales, there are instead twelve invading queens riding on mounts reminiscent of mythical animals and/or strangely primitive vehicles. Observing from above, are the mask-like Watchers. Finally there are two Guardian Spirits hovering over the towers.