|My 366 project|
"Chanel Rossouw (°1987, Roodepoort, South Africa) makes drawings and photos. With a conceptual approach, Rossouw creates work in which a fascination with the clarity of content and an uncompromising attitude towards conceptual and minimal art can be found. The work is aloof and systematic and a cool and neutral imagery is used.
Her drawings question the conditions of appearance of an image in the context of contemporary visual culture in which images, representations and ideas normally function. By focusing on techniques and materials, she considers making art a craft which is executed using clear formal rules and which should always refer to social reality.
Her work urge us to renegotiate drawing as being part of a reactive or – at times – autistic medium, commenting on oppressing themes in our contemporary society. With a subtle minimalistic approach, she touches various overlapping themes and strategies. Several reoccurring subject matter can be recognised, such as the relation with popular culture and media, working with repetition, provocation and the investigation of the process of expectations.
Her works directly respond to the surrounding environment and uses everyday experiences from the artist as a starting point. Often these are framed instances that would go unnoticed in their original context. By using popular themes such as sexuality, family structure and violence, she makes work that generates diverse meanings. Associations and meanings collide. Space becomes time and language becomes image.
Her works sometimes radiate a cold and latent violence. At times, disconcerting beauty emerges. The inherent visual seductiveness, along with the conciseness of the exhibitions, further complicates the reception of their manifold layers of meaning. By rejecting an objective truth and global cultural narratives, she creates with daily, recognizable elements, an unprecedented situation in which the viewer is confronted with the conditioning of his own perception and has to reconsider his biased position.
Her works often refers to pop and mass culture. Using written and drawn symbols, a world where light-heartedness rules and where rules are undermined is created. By parodying mass media by exaggerating certain formal aspects inherent to our contemporary society, she uses a visual vocabulary that addresses many different social and political issues. The work incorporates time as well as space – a fictional and experiential universe that only emerges bit by bit.
Her works are saturated with obviousness, mental inertia, clichés and bad jokes. They question the coerciveness that is derived from the more profound meaning and the superficial aesthetic appearance of an image. By studying sign processes, signification and communication, she tries to approach a wide scale of subjects in a multi-layered way, likes to involve the viewer in a way that is sometimes physical and believes in the idea of function following form in a work.
Her works are notable for their perfect finish and tactile nature. This is of great importance and bears witness to great craftsmanship. By emphasising aesthetics, she makes works that can be seen as self-portraits. Sometimes they appear idiosyncratic and quirky, at other times, they seem typical by-products of American superabundance and marketing.
Her works bear strong political references. The possibility or the dream of the annulment of a (historically or socially) fixed identity is a constant focal point. By merging several seemingly incompatible worlds into a new universe, she seduces the viewer into a world of ongoing equilibrium and the interval that articulates the stream of daily events. Moments are depicted that only exist to punctuate the human drama in order to clarify our existence and to find poetic meaning in everyday life.
Her practice provides a useful set of allegorical tools for manoeuvring with a pseudo-minimalist approach in the world of drawing: these meticulously planned works resound and resonate with images culled from the fantastical realm of imagination. Chanel Rossouw currently lives and works in Johannesburg."
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