Nigel Mullins’ Chaotic Region

Two weeks ago I went to an exhibition opening at Scifest Africa, South Africa’s National Science Festival held annually in Grahamstown. Yes, that’s right; an art exhibition at a science festival. Amazing.

IMG_0251

Nigel Mullins is a renowned South African artist, and he happens to live in my hometown. In fact, I spent many an afternoon in his garden, as a friend of mine has been living in a flat on his property for several years. I have even cooked in his kitchen when he wasn’t there (don’t tell anyone).

IMG_0238

Besides my claims to knowing him, Nigel is a fantastic artist. His exhibition, Chaotic Region, explores the relationships between art, science and superstition; between evidence and the unknown; and our attempts to explain and predict in an otherwise uncertain world. Carefully detailed, almost photorealist images contrast frantic, impasto cameos. The artist explores, among other concepts, the effect of scale and text on our ability to perceive pieces of art as amulets.

Image

Nigel Mullins' Chaotic Region, by These Walking Boots

Nigel Mullins' Chaotic Region, by These Walking Boots

IMG_0246

My favourite part of the exhibition was a series of lucky cats – the popular eastern waving talisman – each one painted in a different mood, as if tracking the cat’s own mood through a frenzied tantrum and back into calm, rhythmic waving.

Nigel Mullins' Chaotic Region, by These Walking Boots

The lucky cats contrast the unlucky dog, Laika, sent to space in the 1950s as a scientific sacrifice. A broader study of early space exploration is undertaken through a series of images of Aldrin and Armstrong. One particularly appealing picture of Armstrong was painted in an afternoon, and the following day, Mullins read in the newspaper that Armstrong had died. Ironically, this moment itself represents an unexpected interface between science, art and superstition.

Nigel Mullins' Chaotic Region, by These Walking Boots

IMG_0260
Advertisements

Comment on this post

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s