Performance by Tebby W.T. Ramasike on September 15.
Building up on the long lasting relationship between ARTCO Gallery and Bruce Clarke we are excited to announce his solo exhibition ECCE NATURA. The artist’s parents left South Africa the year before he was born in 1959. His youth in London was filled with visits from anti-apartheid militants and human rights activists; it goes without saying, he joined the cause. Clarke conceives his artwork as a means of stimulating reflection on the world and the representations therein. He recognises that art offers a unique platform for expression in a complex world. Clarke situates himself outside currents of self-centered contemporary art and advocates for active individual and artistic involvement in shaping history. Just like he has previously articulated in his work series on migration, Fantômes de la Mer.
ECCE NATURA is a preamble to the exhibition Ecce Homo. (Presented for the first time at the Musée national de la Résistance et des Droits humains, Esch sur Alzette, Luxembourg and the IXth Fort, Kaunas, Lithuania in the framework of the European Cultural Capitals 2022). ECCE NATURA develops themes - economic growth and power as well as humans’ place in nature - addressed in the first exhibition from a different perspective; it also introduces, new works delving deeper into the themes. ECCE NATURA is the twin to ECCE HOMO, simultaneously its reflexion and its alter ego. Clarke interrogates the existential relationship of human beings and the intricacies of their relationships to one another as well as to nature. Both these relationships could be resumed as extreme forms of domination. Mankind, in his will to dominate sets himself definitively apart from the natural world.
When looking at Clarke’s work we see his preoccupation with the phenomenon of all consuming growth in the modern world. The artworks portray urban landscapes merging with nature, erupting like wildfires, burning ‘natural landscapes’ resembling burning factory chimneys - outward signs of progress in ‘our times’. The blurred painting style prompts viewers to contemplate the delicate balance between human development and the preservation of our natural environment. With our self-centered, all-consuming “growth“ there is little space for empathy with the natural world. This raises questions around the reintegration of humanity into an ecologically balanced coexistence with nature. Is there still time for natural laws to predominate or has mankind sacrificed nature to follow technology as his new mainstream religion? Man is a part of nature, and his war against nature is inevitably a war against himself. But who will win the war?
This state of affairs was already clear in 1962 when Rachel Carson writing in her ground breaking work Silent Spring proclaimed : “The ‘control of nature’ is a phrase conceived in arrogance, born of the Neanderthal age of biology when it was supposed that nature exists for the convenience of man.”
The exhibition's opening will be complemented by a captivating performance by the esteemed Tebby W.T. Ramasike. The South African choreographer, performer, dance teacher, researcher in dance, Butoh practitioner and cultural activist, was born in Johannesburg in 1965. Ramasike started dance at a very early age, since then has been nominated for and won an enormous amount of prestigious choreography and dance awards world wide.
Personally his practice focuses on a cross-pollination of cultures in relation to dance and other art forms. Through unconventional movement that addresses the entire body he highlights the role and the spiritual essence of the body as a tool of communication, bringing dance to the people as both a performance, socio-cultural and educative platform. His Afro-Butoh performance can lead the viewers to search deep into ourselves, (physically, intellectually and socially) by letting go into the rhythm. The performance will include parts of "The Wreckage Of My Flesh", a Butoh project created for the ECCE HOMO exhibition, for the Esch2022 and Kaunas2022 programmes, and to music by & with kind permission of Hiroko Komiya, Atsushi Takenouchi and Chris H. Lynn.
Throughout his distinguished career, he has been involved in countless performances and ensembles. His versatility and contributions to the community have left a lasting impact, earning him well-deserved recognition and admiration in the world of dance.