African Landscape IV

Clive van den Berg
African Landscape IV , 2016
Oil on canvas
Work: 150 x 100 cm

Clive van den Berg is interested in the imagery which relates to ideas surrounding the “distemper” of our lived experience. For the artist, land serves as a powerful marker for these anxieties, which are contained in both the personal and the political. Van den Berg explains this further by separating the idea of land into two concepts: above and below ground. The artist states, “above ground in our country has been important in many ways, from commercial uses to migration. But below ground is where the heart of unresolved history lies. And we, as South Africans, try to create a modernist state and landscape, which denies that trauma and past”. Historical depictions of land, which were primarily filtered through Western perception, sought to possess the territory by recording its surface image. In turn, Van den Berg confronts the tradition of South African landscape painting, by peeling “the surface off the land and mak[ing] the landscapes porous”.