Hospitals, halfway houses, hotels or other places of rest and recovery are best avoided during periods of renovation. The in-between stages of rebuilding, the incompleteness, are disconcerting to the body and mind. The patch-work and unattended-to-snags transfer themselves to one’s psychology while the body is in a state of physical rebuilding. Equally, the empty foyers, blandness and lack of colour and movement, the absence of vibrancy and stimuli do nothing to disrupt the boredom and uncertainty of a person in the mental and physical limbo of recuperation.
Stephen Hobbs has a lifetime of experience in this regard. While post-op recovery – despite the drugs and pain – has for him, always been a time of intense thinking and creativity, having to do with the predictable and repetitive way in which the body and person are constantly surveyed, measured and instructed. The space and time between the routines of the institution acted upon the body, offer up strange freedoms from the constraints of its architecture and operations.
Building on his usual themes and with the forced introspection that his many medical interventions have brought him, Hobbs has developed a new collection of works for his solo show Body Parts at David Krut Projects in Parkwood. Body Parts is produced in conversation with his debut theatre piece Height, Weight and Age at POP Art Theatre in Maboneng, a performative artist’s talk, which works through his interests in urban space and architecture, conflict and contradiction, decay and reconstruction, optical tactics and deception; examining the intersection of body, building, theatre and war.
Body Parts is as much a play on the notion of performance extras’ in the form of artworks as it is revelry in materiality and mark making: reflective of ‘bad’ psychology in ‘bad’ social, political and built conditions. The exhibition will comprise of repurposed prints and sculpture, mixed-reality media, video and installation, incorporating an artist’s talk linking the artworks at the gallery to the broader process and creative intentions behind his performance Height, Weight and Age.
Hobbs acknowledges Emil Lars, Eden Labs Africa, Red Apple 3D, Paul Setate, and The Trinity Sessions.