Born 1993 in Kimberley, South Africa Lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa
Imbedded within the Art Gallery of New South Wales’ collection works, Bronwyn Katz expands upon the sensory experience in the Gallery, exploring interactions between the visual and the aural, taking cues from Katz’s own personal relationship to language and the voice. The titles of the works are based on four click consonants from endangered southern African languages such as Khoekhoe, and these form the basis of an imagined structure, rooted in historical memory and contemporary cultural erasure. In contrast to the rich figurative scenes depicted in the collection paintings, Katz’s work hints at a language of minimal abstract sculpture. Yet the works are also definitively tethered to social and political context; here, the endangerment of Indigenous languages brought through the erasures of colonialism. The speaking of language is a live social process that also brings forth deep cultural histories and connections. Remembering a language through creative re-imagination both evokes the sensory experience of the speaking body (face, tongue, mouth) and renders it partially absent. Together the Gallery’s paintings and sculptures are imaginings that bring forth a sense of historical memory, through very different sensory experiences and layers of signification.
Incorporating sculpture, installation, video and performance, Bronwyn Katz’s practice engages with concepts of mapping, memory and language relative to land and culture. Katz’s approach to making is driven foremost by formal concerns such as composition and line, expressed in an abstract minimalist language. Conceptually, her sculptures refer to the political context of their making, embodying subtle acts of resistance that draw attention to social constructions and boundaries. Presented at the 22nd Biennale of Sydney with generous support from Open Society Foundations, and generous assistance from the Sherman Foundation