放浪と学習の年 (Years of Wandering and Learning) is an exhibition by Cape Town artist Richard Mason, in which he explores nostalgia as a form of escapism that can never be full realized, resulting in an ever-changing, and often disorientating, hybrid reality.
For this new body of work, Mason chose to paint on Dibond, the go-to aluminum composite substrate as a replacement to canvas, due to its lightweight, rigid nature and excellent archival properties. It allows Mason to work into the surface in a way not possible on traditional surfaces and has become his signature medium.
Through his artistic practice, Mason engages with the the reality of the virtual – a key focus of his work, where the boundaries between digital and analogue break down. The result is work that seeks to aesthetically and conceptually engage viewers on notions of nostalgia, failed utopias, engineered consent, technological saturation and media overload.
Mason works across numerous mediums, including painting, drawing, print-making, photography and found objects, all of which are repeatedly filtered through a carefully-thought out and exacting digital/analogue mash up.
The title of the exhibition is inspired by Heidi, Girl of the Alps, a 1974 Japanese anime series by Zuiyo Eizo based on the Swiss novel Heidi's Years of Wandering and Learning by Johanna Spyri (1880). The series was dubbed into many languages and broadcast globally – including Afrikaans for South Africa in the 1980s.
In 2017 Mason showed with 99 Loop at the FNB JHB Art Fair and will again feature with them at the upcoming Investec Cape Town Art Fair in February 2018. Mason exhibited extensively at 99 Loop during 2017. 放浪と学習の年 is his first solo gallery exhibition after becoming a full time artist in 2016.