Index, a retrospective exhibition marking the inauguration of Stephen Inggs as Professor in the Michaelis School of Fine Art, presents a survey of his work spanning 25 years – a nexus of an ever expanding anthology of the overlooked, recording that which is inherently transient. Through the development of an ‘archaeographical’ method of unearthing, collecting and photographing found objects, the works on display create associations and traces as indexes and indicators, linking our thoughts about the constructions of the past, in relation to the present.
Abstracted, enlarged, and isolated from context, an old telephone, a pair of dress-maker’s shears, a few flowers in a make-shift vase, acquire an aura and presence both as objects of aesthetic attention and as catalysts for re-imagining our own past, or that of a previous generation. In Index, each photographed relic invites a poetic reverie of personal associations, further combined with more public connotations triggered by their South African origins. This history of settlement and change is suggested, but never labored. Each image implies a particular relation to land, history, and the lives of individuals, yet connects with universal concerns about the evolving nature of our relationship to the place we find ourselves in – and to the everyday items around us.
Stephen Inggs is a Professor in Print media and former Director of the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town. Inggs exhibits his work both locally and internationally, on both solo and group exhibitions, and art fairs such as AIPAD, Art Chicago, Photo LA, A.r.e.a. Art Region End of Africa in Reykjavik, Iceland and the International Print Triennial in Krakow, Poland where he was a prizewinner in 2003. Inggs’ work is held in numerous collections, including Iziko South African National Gallery, Durban Art Gallery, University of Cape Town, Rand Merchant Bank, MTN, Sanlam, Northwestern University, the Library of Congress and the Museum of African Art at the Smithsonian, USA.
His research interests include the study of objects and places in a wide variety of disciplines and fields. Projects have been largely located in lithography, photography and printmaking, each of which has had a complex history and relationship to issues of identity and the politics of knowledge. The influence of aesthetic criteria in printmaking and photography is an ongoing concern that has informed his creative production.
The exhibition is made possible through a grant in aid from the Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts (GIPCA) to Michaelis Galleries.
Inaugural Event and Lecture: With Guest Speaker, Prof Pippa Skotnes, Wednesday 17 September, 17:45, Hiddingh Hall