Elfriede Dreyer, Transshipped, 2021. R16 000.00

Elfriede Dreyer, Transshipped, 2021. R16 000.00

Elfriede Dreyer, Transshipped, 2021. Mixed media on canvas, 1270 x 1000 mm. Provenance: Obtained from the artist.




    Elfriede Dreyer is an Art Professor, curator, writer and artist. She has been affiliated with Unisa since 2015, after lecturing there full-time from 1990 to 2003. She also taught full-time at the University of Pretoria from 2003 to 2014.​ Except for works taken up in public and private collections, the majority of her art production has been destroyed by the Knysna Great Fire of June 2017. She has participated in group exhibitions at major museums, galleries and festivals throughout the country; she was a finalist in most national competitions, including the Brett Kebble Award; and held solo exhibitions in Pretoria, Paris, Oudtshoorn and Johannesburg.

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    Her main conceptual preoccupation is an ongoing interest in worldmaking discourses and the ideologies of place and space. Central concepts are utopia, dystopia and heterotopia as nuances of a family of constructions around place, such as a good place; a bad place; non-place; cocooning; displacement; and migrancy. Perceptions and projections of a good place as utopia are common, but exist mainly as fictions. Although many utopias have been conceived over the ages, few have worked out. Still they persist in appearing in a social and political sense; in addition, most people nurture personal ideas about a ‘good’ place. Except for works in public and private collections, the majority of her art production has been destroyed by the Knysna Great Fire of June 2017. Her work from 2017 to 2020 dealt mainly with the dystopia of this event.



    In this work the idea of transshipment is engaged with in response to the major changes that covid-19 has brought about in most people's lives. When cargo or a container is moved from one vessel to another while in transit to its final destination, it is called transshipment. It speaks to the readjustment and rerouting taking place throughout one's life while pursuing our individual teleological 'good endings' that one is hoping for. Witnessing and experiencing crisis and collapse in many domains of life, covid-19 has made many people restructure their finances, work and home environments. The concept of transshipment communicates the idea that nothing is fixed, also not place or perceptions about place. Human life is transient and fundamentally ‘reroutable’.There are two vessels in this work: one is floating and the other is caught up in a cocoon of transition. Like the 2017 Great Fire event when I lost my home which brought major adjustments and changes, for me covid-19 again brought about a sense of the fragility of human life and the innate transience of material goods.



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