Good Debuts Are Always Hard Acts to Follow

Article excerpt

Exhibition: ZANDER BLOM at Whatiftheworld until June 27. MELVYN MINNAAR reviews.

FOR AN artist in the fits of twenty-something - which allows and probably eggs on freewheeling invention - Blom has won a quick following the past year or two.

His energetic explorations have caught gallery dwellers' eyes like the guy does who wears a truly funky suit to a have-to-be-at disco party. Which means to say, they themselves experience a surge in feeling good - and clever for being there.

But it is never easy to follow up on a good debut.

This new show by Blom is chirpy enough, but in our contemporary era of instant hits (or misses), some of his fans may feel a little shy of their idol's vote this time around.

Others may well like what he's come up with - which is more of the same, perhaps with a little more lilt to the humour, a tad subtler in satire.

Blom is one of those artists (and admired for it) whose imagination and enthusiasm can realise a sharply themed art endeavour as a closely knit unit of many and diverse parts.

And his current show is no exception, taking in everything from the physicality of ramshackle artist easels and smashed guitars to precision-produced prints, books and marketing merchandise like T-shirts.

The installation/exhibition/project goes by the delicious name of The Travels of Bad, a madcap tale, grounded in rock music mythology and plucking its simulacra, of "an idealist Machiavellian hero, guitar in hand, on a crusade to revitalise the arts of the culture capital of the world".

Together with actual drum-sets, amps, a delicious electric keyboard wood contraption and other props, the effort comprises a mini-novella with 17 photographic prints and a 17-track "pseudo rock-opera type symphonic drone thrash metal rock album". …