Cobus van Bosch    

From Die Burger
February 2002

Language game titillates and teases

Melvyn Minnaar

EXHIBITION: Dorothee Kreutzfeldt, Cobus van Bosch and Jill Trappler at the Association for Visual Arts, Church Street, Cape Town. Until 2 March.

HOW words function – as language or not – is the delicate chain that links these three divergent artists.

Since his first Cape exhibition Cobus van Bosch’s art has activated the simplest of functional words – names or instructions on manhole covers and road signs – to a wider, more complex meaning. While these words, in our daily routine, serve as mere associative signs or symbolism of our social activities and how we structure these, Van Bosch shows through clever manipulation that a lot more can literally be hidden beneath the surface.

This new series of works, with its playful and ironic title Monument, takes his argument a step further. (The game with words gains an added twist in that all works are indicated as “without title”. The same irony plays along with the heavy unusual medium of cast iron, which he employs in his finely finished pieces).

Van Bosch finds aesthetics in the objects around him. He knows how beautiful those utilitarian patterns are drawn on iron covers in the road, how sculpturally dense the minimalist dots and grooves of footplates can be (No’s 5, 6, and 7).

With these patterns he develops other subtle pictures which disturb our joviality: the quiet tragedy which plays itself out under the word “Brandkraan” (Fire Hydrant) in no.11, or the evasive concept of place which “Town” spells out on the shiny chess board in no. 16. Words can say a lot, but the visual artist who can skillfully negotiate with them, can go even further with this game of language.

From the series Monument, cast iron, 35cm x 49cm x 4cm.


From the series Monument, cast iron, 27cm x 27cm x 4cm.


From the series Monument, cast iron, 35cm x 49cm x 4cm.

Uit Die Burger
Februarie 2002

Spel met taal prikkel en terg in kunswerke

Melvyn Minnaar

TENTOONSTELLING: Dorothee Kreutzfeldt, Cobus van Bosch en Jill Trappler in die Vereniging vir Visuele Kunste, Kerkstraat, Kaapstad. Tot 2 Maart.

HOE woorde as taal werk of nie is die tenger sleutel wat hierdie drie uiteenlopende kunstenaars bymekaar laat aansluit. Dit sorg vir 'n interessante vergelyking.

Cobus van Bosch se kuns aktiveer reeds van sy eerste Kaapse tentoonstelling die eenvoudigste funksionele woorde van benoeming of instruksie op mangate, padtekens en skakelborde tot wyer, komplekser betekenis. Waar dié woorde in ons alledaagse omgang bloot assosiatiewe tekens of simboliek van ons sosiale aktiwiteite is en hoe ons dié orde struktureer, wys Van Bosch met slim én slinkse manipulasie hoedat daar letterlik duskant die oppervlakte veel meer kan skuil.

Hierdie nuwe reeks werke onder die ietwat speels-ironiese titel Monument voer sy argument 'n stap verder. (Die spel met woorde kry 'n bykomende kinkel deurdat al die werke hier as ``sonder titel'' aangedui word. Dieselfde ironie speel saam met die swaar ongewone medium van gietyster wat hy deurgaans vir sy fyn-afgewerkte stukke inspan.) Waar 'n Trappler die estetiese uit haar psige vorm gee, vind Van Bosch dit essensieel in die objekte rondom hom. Hy wis hoe mooi daardie utilitêre patrone op die padysterdeksel getrek is, hoe beeldhoukundige dig die kolletjies en groewe van voetplate in hul minimalisme (Nos. 5, 6 en 7) kan wees.

Op dié gronde patrone en orde van diens ontwikkel hy subtiele ander prentjies wat ons gemoedelikheid versteur: die stil, tragiese wat onder die woord ``Brandkraan'' in No. 11 afspeel, die ontwykende begrip van plek wat ``Town'' op die bitterblink skaakbord in No. 16 uitspel. Woorde kan veel sê, maar die visuele kunstenaar wat vernuftig daarmee omgaan, kan selfs verder gaan met dié taalspel.