Combining aspects of drawing, photography, collage, tapestry and text, Benjamin Stanwix’s practice pieces together works from a variety of sources in an effort to reflect on the ways in which we make sense of the past, with a particular interest in contradictions and distortions as spaces for productive engagement. In this exhibition he presents a series of drawings and tapestries that rely on the mistake or misinterpretation for their generative force.

“It always troubled me that the truth doesn’t fit into one mind, that truth is somehow splintered. There’s a lot of it, it is varied, and it is strewn about the world”. – Svetlana Alexievich

I recently came across photographs on an old hard drive that had been damaged by some kind of technical fault. The result was a set of pictures in which an unexpected mistake and its visual traces seemed to mean something. Using this haphazard little archive as a departure point, I have tried to piece together a series of discernible markers (both abstract and representative) that stand in for the activity that takes place in the studio, where things both do and do not make sense, and where the pressure of the former must often be resisted.

‘You Must Stage an Escape’

“In my mind, the importance of your work is that it has emerged precisely at this point in the 21st Century when historical time has broken down. Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi refers to this atemporality, which is the hallmark of our present, as the ‘slow cancellation of the future.’ This is not to say that physical time has suddenly stopped moving forward. Life continues, yes, but cultural time has folded back on itself. The algorithms write history now & we have lost the ability to grasp & articulate the present. All we’re left with is this frenzy. This perpetual movement. The glare of screens.”

–Excerpt of essay by Bongani Kona

Benjamin Stanwix (b.1986) lives and works in Cape Town. In 2016 he completed a Post-Graduate Diploma in Fine Art at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town. Prior to this he studied History and Economics and read for an MA in History at the University of Oxford. He has participated in several group exhibitions and was an Absa l’Atelier finalist in 2017 and 2018. In 2018 his work was exhibited at the Arsenale in Venice as part of the Arte Laguna Prize and he completed a residency at BoxoPROJECTS in Joshua Tree, California, which culminated in an exhibition entitled ‘Always in Two Directions’.

Works on Exhibition