Shall we move on? | Hoick | FNB JHB Art Fair 2017

Thu, September 7, 2017 to Sat, September 9, 2017

Hoick’s booth, a show within a show in the larger context of the FNB Art Fair, poses as a gallery art shop to play with the notion of art as the commodification of ideas.

The collection features a combination of tapestries, ceramics, lithography, monotype lino prints and paintings made by Claire Johnson, Dale Lawrence and Morne Visagie cataloguing their creative responses to a document recording an imagined interaction between an unnamed artist and a suspicious art critic written by Matthew Freemantle.

The works overtly posture as products in a pointed conflation of our understanding of art and money; that is, a means of exchange and a store of value.

By embedding a rumour of inauthenticity within the text, doubt is cast over the originality of the show in particular and any art in general. To this end, many of the works refer to the way in which art is affected and ultimately changed by its subjection to the vagaries of method, opinion, skill, perspective, translation and a myriad other influences on its journey from inception.

The text itself undergoes a process of consumption, as the artists set about translating, corrupting, misusing or faithfully respecting its content to track and parody the unruly behavior of meaning under the influence of loose interpretation.

“The best example of this was in taking the line ‘brazen lunge for cash’ and running it through a host of languages on Google translate. The results were disturbing, hilarious and suprising,” says Johnson.

By mimicking a gallery art shop, the artists draw attention to the cumbersome distribution and reach of original art in a world where mimicry and counterfeit versions threaten to blur the line between truth and simulation.

“Sometimes the art shop is the highlight of going to an exhibition, and often it is the only place one can actually buy something to take home, be it a mug, a print, a bookmark or a tea towel,” says Lawrence.

“The show functions much like a room of mirrors, in which everything is reflecting something else, making it quite difficult to decipher the truth from fiction,” says Visagie.

Drawing on a wide body of references from Jean Baudrillard to Donald Trump, the show also features the unlikely figure of former Proteas captain Shaun Pollock.

“As people involved in making abstract art it is funny and a bit damning to think that for a lot of our compatriots, the name Pollock first conjures the image of a red-haired cricketer.”

Hoick is an amorphous collective of creative collaborators curated by Lawrence and Johnson, both of whom exhibit regularly at SMITH in Cape Town.