Director/Curator of Artspeak
September 11–October 16, 1999
Deserts are transitory landscapes—sand shifts, drifts, and migrates. Take a photograph of such a non-place, crop out the horizon and mirror it horizontally—an evelope of an impossible space is fabricated; no up, no down, no ground.
Visagie’s new work is a series of constructed landscapes, contrived by fixing images of spectacular Southern African desert scenes at right angles to mirrors and placing miniscule scale model figures upon the reflective surface. These tiny dioramas are then rephotographed and enlarged. Architectural ‘dolls’ are used within model-making as a scale reference; as representations of the body they are held in a mutually defining relation to the model space. In inc, the figures and their ‘doubles’ interrupt the perfect seam where image meets its relection to create yet another disturbing and unsettling placelessness.
“Visagie’s mirrored escapes and their doubled figures pose these following problems: whiteness, or the specificity of the body as represented, disappears into the doubled toys, the doulbed architects’s dolls; then their place on the crack in the mirror, on the seam or edge of the mirror to itself, demands the viewer’s demand, the viewer who, looking at the image, says, just, just photoshop that up a bit, fix it, place the figures where they should be (perhaps more centred? or less de-centred); the dolls fuck the mirror so we want to un-fuck it, make the landscapse regular, less of a threat, less of a surface and more of a race.”