Nicky Broekhuysen, 2013
DITTRICH & SCHLECHTRIEM is proud to present the much anticipated solo-exhibition of new works by Nicky Broekhuysen, titled 'Potency Filled Things'. Nicky Broekhuysen presents a body of work that searches for meaning at the edges of, and beyond the pictorial realm. In a manner that she has become known for, Broekhuysen intensively labours surfaces and objects with binary code. This formal and conceptual departure point functions as metaphor for complexity, potentiality, order and chaos.
In March 2013 the artist returned to her country of birth, South Africa, to research and produce works in the remote Winterberg region, a mountainous and isolated place. Broekhuysen journeyed here specifically for its rich heritage of Bushman rock painting, which has held a place in her imagination since her first-hand encounter with this art form as a child. She spent weeks in isolation in this landscape, producing works based on binary code, hand stamping onto rock surfaces, using the rich ochre and red iron oxide pigments of the Bushmen. These actions, at once driven by transgressive and a transcendental impulses (it is widely understood that the Bushmen considered the rock surface and painting as a doorway between the physical and spiritual worlds) equally became about endurance, pushing towards physical and psychological limits.
These actions and investigations resulted in a number of new works which depart formally from previous bodies of work. The series 'Rock Painting Sites 1, 2 and 3' consists of large format photographs of three sites the artist worked at in South Africa. To establish that these are not mere documentation, Broekhuysen includes as an extension of her interest in the 'building blocks' of information and form a large pixelated digital photograph,'Through the Interface', from one of these sites in South Africa. Here the artist brings again attention to the limitations of the occidental-centric understanding of the surface as barrier or end, as opposed to an access point or gate to the spiritual.
In a further development, Broekhuysen more prominently explores sculptural installations in the exhibition, incorporating found objects from the larger Berlin area, including heavy paving stones, smaller cobblestones sourced from the streets of Berlin, and marble tiles from demolished villas in the Brandenburg area. Here the 'rock' surfaces carry the artist's marks either etched in or layered on the surface with iron oxide pigments, whilst retaining the patina of countless footsteps and the imbedded historicity of the objects. These works bring together seemingly unconnected histories and visual strategies, with the artist's own biography as a binding element.
Nicky Broekhuysen (1981) was born in South Africa, and relocated age 13 with her family to New Zealand. She graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Auckland University. She has lived and worked in Shanghai, China and moved to Berlin in 2008, where she has been living and working since. She has participated in a number of international art fairs and group exhibitions including "Neurocartographies", Museé des Beaux-Arts, Quebec, Canada (2011). She has presented solo exhibitions in Cape Town, South Africa, and Shanghai China, as well as Berlin, Germany.
DITTRICH & SCHLECHTRIEM will publish a catalogue on occasion of the exhibition, which includes an essay by Storm Janse van Rensburg. Please contact Owen Reynolds Clements with press requests or for further information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Text: Storm Janse van Rensburg