An Abstract Kind of Mythology
BYLINE: Steyn du Toit
NATURE'S contrasting motifs - as well as the accepted limits of form, time and space - are held in suspense as part of Traces, a joint exhibition on at the Commune.1 gallery.
They are presented with Ledelle Moe's monumental cement/steel sculptures and Miranda Pfeiffer's large-scale mechanical drawings, and the viewer is asked to consider a different set of rules - allowing for the intervention of imagination and mythology.
The two first met seven years ago while Pfeiffer was completing a degree at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, US, where Moe was one of her teachers. Observing the mythological references and labour-intensiveness behind their work, they were approached last year by a Baltimore curator, Max Guy, with the idea of staging a co-exhibition.
"It was called Solitary Stones on a Rocky Shore. But two days before opening there was a massive fire on the premises and the building was condemned," recalls Pfeiffer, now based in Los Angeles.
"Although we managed to save all the artworks, we made the decision to rather postpone the show as Ledelle was moving back to South Africa at the time.
"After re-evaluating the situation we decided to try again with Traces this year, only this time exhibited in Cape Town."
While there are obvious differences in the materials that they use - as well as in the presentation of their art - Pfeiffer notes that her work is linked to Moe's by the sense of mythology that builds around each piece.
"It is not a definite piece of mythology drawn from one specific culture, but rather an abstract kind of mythology that even we as the artists don't always understand.
"Ledelle creates these incredible concrete works that are usually placed on their side in a non-monumental stance, while I draw landscapes that are not of this current world, yet still a derivation of it."
There is no correct interpretation and when engaging with her drawings, Pfeiffer says it's up to each viewer to draw from their own community, landscape or what it means for them to be a rather small human being inhabiting a vast natural world.
"Both Ledelle and I strive to make work that is accessible to everyone.
"Specifically when dealing with a topic such as mythology, we understand that it is an incredibly instinctive experience of the world.
"Mythology, by nature, doesn't exclude anyone because we all have a sense of building our own narratives, heroes and icons.
"My drawings are very big, so you might have something cataclysmic or disastrous happening on one end while on another something really peaceful might be occurring. …