Cobus van Bosch    

From Die Burger
March 2007

Herd’s desire for
individual recognition 

Liza Grobler

VISUAL ART: March – paintings by Cobus van Bosch. In the gallery 34Long, 34 Long Street, Cape Town. Until 31 March. Enquiries: 021 426-4594.

THE title of the exhibition refers to the verb “march”, and also to the month of March.

The paintings depict crowds pushing forward within their spaces: individuals urged onwards by a common denominator. Van Bosch investigates how crowds function as a single organism in reaction to, or in celebration of, certain socio-economic realities.  

Cover, Slag, Monument, Memorial... The titles of Van Bosch’s previous solo exhibitions, reveal a theme of mutual dialogue between the exhibitions. He often positions the human as one of the herd, in opposition to the individual’s desire for acknowledgement. In Monument (2002), for instance, manhole covers are employed as metaphor to immortalise both small and big moments by literally casting these in iron. Van Bosch’s interest in the newsworthy versus the un-newsworthy probably originates from his background as journalist.

The March paintings are cross sections of mass action: war, carnivals, unrest in the townships or lust in the city. Troops, neatly in file, angry, politically motivated groups and carnivalgoers alternate. They march, demonstrate or rebel en masse. Both historical and everyday moments are encapsulated in black and white mass actions.

The format of the canvases creates the feeling that one is watching these activities from behind shutters or through blinds, close to the action. The long, narrow panels become strips through which the viewer whirls through the crowds.

Against the middle wall are the works Boerkommando, Van Rhynsdorp, ­United Democratic Front and New South Wales Mounted Infantry, Brandwater Basin, where the crowds are viewed from a distance. While there is nothing wrong with these works, they somewhat disturb the rhythm created by the other narrow panels.

Van Bosch creates photorealistic fragments. Anti-Apartheid Demonstration and Gay Pride March are highlights in which the iconic car tyre and fleecelike wings of a costume become revealing cryptic clues. In other works inaccurate anatomy is disturbing in places, but in terms of atmosphere the paintings are spot-on.

It is strange how different the digital website images appear from the real paintings. The brush strokes and physical paint on canvas create a structure which teases the eye and which enhances the ambivalent effect of unstoppable movement within a frozen moment.

 

 


From the series March, 2007, oil on canvas, 38cm x 76cm.



From the series March, 2007, oil on canvas, 38cm x 76cm.




From the series March, 2007, oil on canvas, 38cm x 76cm.











 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Uit Die Burger
Maart 2007

Tropdier se strewe na individuele erkenning

Liza Grobler

VISUELE KUNS: March, met skilderye deur Cobus van Bosch. In die galery 34Long, Langstraat, Kaapstad. Tot 31 Maart. Navrae: 021 426 4594.

DIE titel van die tentoonstelling verwys na die werkwoord marsjeer en natuurlik ook na die maand Maart.

Die skilderye beeld skares uit wat voortbeur binne hul ruimtes: Individue aangespoor deur die een of ander gemene deler wat hul voortdryf. Van Bosch ondersoek hoe skares funksioneer as enkel organisme in reaksie téén of viering van bepaalde sosio-eko­nomiese realiteite. Cover, Slag, Monument, Memorial... Kyk mens na die titels van Van Bosch se vorige solo­tentoonstellings, kom jy agter dat hier tematies ’n onderlinge dialoog tussen tentoonstellings bestaan.

Van Bosch stel telkens die mens as tropdier teenoor die individu se strewe na erkenning. In Monument (2002) is die deksel van mangate byvoorbeeld ingespan as metafoor om groot asook klein oomblikke te verewig deur dit letterlik te giet in yster. Van Bosch se belangstelling in die nuuswaardige versus die onnuuswaardige spruit waarskynlik uit sy agtergrond as joernalis.

Die March-skilderye is dwarssnitte van massa-aksies: oorlog, karnavalle, onrus in die township of wellus in die stad. Troepe netjies in gelid, polities­gemotiveerde ontstoke groepe en gelukkige karnavalgangers wissel mekaar af. Hul marsjeer, demonstreer of rebelleer in ’n groot gros. Hier is beide geskiedkundige en alledaagse oomblikke vasgevang in swart-en-wit massa-aksies.

Deur die formaat van die doeke kom dit voor asof die aktiwiteite beloer word van agter hortjies of deur blindings digby die aksie. Die lang smal skilderye word strippe wat die kyker laat warrel deur verskillende skares.

Teen die middelste muur is die werke Boerkommando, Van Rhynsdorp, United Democratic Front en New South Wales Mounted Infantry, Brandwater Basin waar die skares in die verte gesien word. Ofskoon daar niks met hierdie werk skort nie, verbreek dit tog die ritme wat deur die smal panele opgebou word.

Van Bosch skep foto-realistiese fragmente. Anti apartheid demonstration en Gay Pride March is hoogtepunte waarin onderskeidelik die ikoniese motorband en vliesagtige vlerkies van ’n kostuum onthullende kriptiese leidrade is. In ander werke is onakkurate anatomie op plekke steurend, maar atmosferies is die skilderye kolskoot.

Vreemd hoe verskillend die digitale beelde op die webwerf van die werklike skilderye is. Die kwashale en fisieke verf op doek skep ’n tekstuur wat met die oog speel en die ambivalente effek van onstuitbare beweging in ’n gestolde oomblik versterk.