n 2011, during his final year at Michaelis School of Fine Art, Morné Visagie met Murray Kruger, an art student at WITS School of Arts, at an exchange print exhibition between the two art schools. Visagie exhibited a blue lithograph. Following their initial introduction, Kruger sent Visagie photographs of a hundred different blues over a hundred days. Presenting Visagie with a different shade of blue each day, Kruger’s gesture notated his intention to encourage and chronicle the artists’ brief encounter.
Five years later, Visagie revisits these blues, meticulously mixing each hue in oil paint and printing them as flat colours, in his print-based performance piece, There are gold flecks in the lapis. Transforming the gallery into a temporary print studio, deconstructing photographed colours and recreating them in pigment, Visagie’s gesture is a long-delayed reply to Kruger.
The title of this performance is taken from artist and filmmaker Derek Jarman’s notes in Chroma: A book of colour, which follows Jarman’s journey through the colour spectrum, illuminating its meanings and history, use and associations. The book is a farewell to colour, written as Jarman began to lose his sight and slowly die from AIDS. Yet the title also perhaps references the deep blue of Cape Town’s seas, and the gold of Johannesburg’s mines, here and there, Visagie’s home and Kruger’s.
Growing up on Robben Island, the Atlantic Ocean that separated Visagie from the mainland became a recurring metaphor in his imagination, and for the past six years, the colour blue has been the primary medium in his work; a personal symbol of death, loss, nostalgia, memory, religion, sexuality, exile and distance.
Morné Visagie (born 1989) is a South African artist and printmaker who lives and works in Cape Town. He graduated from the Michaelis School of Fine Art in 2011. Visagie has had three solo exhibitions, and his work has been included in several group shows. His most recent exhibition, The Line of Beauty, was shown at WHATIFTHEWORLD Gallery in July 2015. For the past three years, Visagie has been a printmaker at Warren Editions, a fine art print studio in Cape Town.