The exhibition serves as a continuation of Katz’s interest in the creation of systems of notation which gesture to lost ancestral language and potential imagined languages. For the exhibition Katz collaborates with words from a 1928 statement made by !Ora language activist Benjamin Kats.
Ta a-b kobab ada kāxu-da, ti khoe-du’e!
‘Do not let our language be lost from us, you my people!’
Katz attempts to retain the words of Benjamin Kats by creating codes with her salvaged materials, which aim to support and affirm individual words from the statement. Katz performs a form of translation and interpretation of these words. The formal qualities of these codes are largely influenced by Katz’s existing artistic language. Through the creation of these codes/visual forms realised as sculptures and installation Katz offers an alternative mode of preserving, reading and understanding language. Katz’s work on excavating communal history and the recognition of diverse forms of expression is crucial for the rebuilding of a South African archive and reclaiming what was assumed to be lost or destroyed.
Incorporating sculpture, installation, video and performance, Bronwyn Katz’s practice engages with concepts of mapping, loss, memory and language relative to land and culture. Often using found materials as the departure point for her works, 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 the social constructions and boundaries that continue to define those spaces.
Courtesy of Peres Projects, Berlin
Photographed by Matthias Kolb