Katharien de Villiers (born in 1991 in Cape Town) graduated in 2015 with an MFA in Installation from KASK, Gent, Belgium, is a young Cape Town-based artist.
She participated in group exhibitions in Belgium, such as Vibrations Off at Kristof de Clercq gallery along with Honore d’O and Manfredo Schu.
“When you are confronted with an image you do not send out aggressive rays of sight but let the picture work on you. And that’s like experiencing.
We must all create our own meaning through experience.”
From sculpture to painting, and installation, conversations with the artist reveal the ‘patina of time’ on the works, surreal symbolism, Afrikaans onomatopoeia and collage constructed from hybrid memories.
“I remember the engineer’s table my father worked at, covered in koki and pencil lines, a layering of possible trajectories which accumulated over time.”
Paying close attention to what is hidden and taken for granted, the paintings are layered and talkative. Arenas of colour give dimension to a body of work which often projects into the gallery space, entrusting the ordinary with authority, and evincing a romance with the mundane.
Through tactile manipulations involving the juxtaposition and de-contextualisation of material, de Villiers calls on the sensorial, mental and physical potential and participation of the viewer when confronted with her work. Thus, depending on the inherent power of the given form and inclination of the beholder to be informed or moved, allowing the voluntary encounter to evolve into a symbiosis of original and inspired reality.
Her first solo, A Bonnet of Gatsbys, was hosted by SMITH gallery, Cape Town in 2017. In 2018 she had two solo shows- one in a basement in Johannesburg titled Pick Over the Bones, again with SMITH gallery, and Trembling Thought, an independent motion she held in her studio. Both these exhibitions were space-specific installations. 2019 brought yet another solo show at SMITH gallery, titled Bananas and Saints Alike. Katharien de Villiers’s work featured in the Zeitz MOCAA exhibition, Still Here Tomorrow To High Five You Yesterday, 2019. Most recently a solo exhibition at A4 Arts Foundation, titled Sound Blindness, once again showcased the dynamic collage and cross-over from sculpture and painting that de Villiers so loves to explore. As an independent artist her work can be seen in various group shows around Cape Town and Johannesburg, as well as in the permanent collection of the Nirox sculpture foundation. Whether painting or sculpture, de Villiers explore and questions the spatial and relational dynamics of space, the work and its relation to the viewer.