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In his first solo exhibition at Goodman Gallery Cape – titled Resonant Structures – Stefanus Rademeyer expands on his interdisciplinary approach to art-making; intersecting the seemingly unlikely fields of art and mathematics. Rademeyer has developed algorithms that describe the inherent form and intricacy of various natural structures, which are then translated into the visual realm using digital processes. The result is a series of objects and digital drawings that are boundlessly engaging and eloquently beautiful. The show brings together new work and pieces from Rademeyer’s successful solo show at Goodman Gallery Johannesburg last year.
In Resonant Structures, Rademeyer considers the language of mathematics, which, he explains “is also a symbolic system, a highly formalised language. Mathematical language is a logical and coherent system. It’s incredibly specific and is always used from an analytical perspective to solve rational problems or propose logical theorems. So, I thought, what if I apply those logical principles creatively?” The mathematical formulas that Rademeyer has been working with over the past three years fall into the category of “generative algorithms”. The word “generative” implies the notion of growth and mutation and within the exhibition, the artist explains, the viewer is offered visual clues that allude to an array of natural forms and systems within atomic structures, geology, crystallography, biology, botany, and even zoology.
In order to create a series of algorithmic drawings produced as digital prints, Rademeyer uses the process of coding within existing computer programmes. “Some of the structures that I draw consist of twenty million different shapes that come together in one structure, so it is physically impossible to do it manually,” he explains. “The prints are static images of this dynamic process. One can compare it to an image of a river flowing that is captured in a photograph. They’re residual of a process.” The resulting structures, the artist continues “almost have personalities, because they’re so complex you imbue them with certain qualities.”
A central component of Resonant Structures is a series of large-scale light boxes that display details of particular algorithms. These light boxes – flawlessly crafted out of mirror, fluorescent lighting, mahogany and Perspex – form an installation that reveals Rademeyer’s interest in the experiential element of visual art. Using light as a medium, these objects are designed to absorb the viewer into a new environment. The experience is envisioned be immersive, with a sense of boundaries beginning to blend.
While not everyone who views the show will be conversant enough in the specific mathematical language to completely comprehend the formulas behind the algorithms, Rademeyer’s work maintains appeal on many levels. Not only are the objects and drawings he creates often mesmerisingly arresting, their visual complexity draws you in, compelling you to look deeper, to know and understand more.
Stefanus Rademeyer (b. 1976) holds a Masters Degree with distinction in Fine Arts and Art Theory from the University of Witwatersrand, and has been a full-time practising artist for over ten years. His sculptures and prints can be found in the major corporate and private collections in South Africa and his work is also held in private collections in the United States, the United Kingdom and Europe. In 2001 he was awarded first prize in the Absa L’Atelier competition, and took up residence at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris. In 2003 he was awarded the Ampersand Foundation residency in New York. His work has featured at major international events such as Art Basel 2010 and he has held numerous solo exhibitions in South Africa.