Capture yourself in pixels

2013-02-24 10:00

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

There’s an abiding playfulness that defines the multidisciplinary work of artist Dineo Sheshee Bopape.

Having carved a sweet spot in the hearts of the international art market for herself, the Joburg-based artist perhaps has reason to indulge her fancies.

Bopape has been engaged for the past few months as artist in residence at the Nirox Foundation in Sterkfontein. This is the centre that houses the lush sculpture garden near Maropeng, the Cradle of Humankind.

She worked on numerous projects that now form an installation at the art centre.

However, more importantly, she’s produced this video work titled Is I Am Sky and all mounts to a video self-portrait of sorts. The whole thing unfolds over 18 minutes of beaming light and sound. It offers no clues as to how to read it, except through the larger-than-life colourful face of the artist as the central image.

The work starts out with solo drum lines as a soundtrack to the projected video montage. The artist’s camera then pans the blue sky with its fluffy white clouds dancing on the horizon.

As the drumming grows more complex, we see Bopape’s likeness looming large into the picture plane. She mutters unintelligible half-sung phrases. The music switches from drums to a string-based accompaniment, and the singing head mutates and merges with the moving clouds as they fade into the twilight, making way for the ghostly night sky.

Bopape plays the same visual games with the sparkling starry sky as she does with the clouds. She fragments her singing face so that only the parts where light falls on her skin are visible. The rest morphs into the background. It is at once transparent and opaque.

The video shows these games of her oscillating between fragmentation and wholeness, opacity and transparency, solidity and liquidity. She wraps up the drawn-out reel by returning the mood through the music to the drum rhythm.

Throughout the screening, the viewer struggles to find a narrative, but it doesn’t arrive. Except the unresponsive gaze of the represented likeness of the artist.?There are no grand themes or subject matter, or any pretence to address them. Apart from the playful vision of the sky, the artist appears to be merely concerned with her whimsical vision of herself.

This is video art as self-portraiture. It is part narcissism and part existentialism in that the fulfilment self is the beginning and the destination of all willed struggles.

»?Is I Am Sky is available for viewing at Nirox and will form part of Bopape’s forthcoming exhibition at the Stevenson Gallery. The date is yet to be announced

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.