brilliant, ballsy and totally in-yourface, Ruan Hoffmann’s ceramics are dishing some hard truths
South Africa in the 1980s had a major impact on the way you think – and subsequently on your art. growing up in a repressed, restrictive society obviously makes you aware of the importance of freedom and how vigilantly it should be guarded. Personally, I despise all politicians equally.
So you’ve lost all faith in the system working for the people?
In art there is a certain renunciation. But I am also human and to make art is in itself a life-affirming act. so to keep on doing it is hardly a sign of giving up. Your ceramics look like something ancient excavated. Yet your work is very much about the now. Is there meaning behind this dichotomy? although some pieces may focus more on the current social landscape, most are timeless expressions that are interpreted by the individual. The handmade imperfections are deliberate and seek to support the fragility of the medium and, with it, our own transience.
Are we to believe that, under the weight of language – and history – we are as fragile as your ceramics?
I believe that freedom of speech is a fundamental right and responsibility of any individual. Living in a world of self-censorship out of fear of backlash is the thing that is scary. The herd mentality, hyper political correctness and over sensitivity are unbearable. Your work seems sometimes intentionally provocative, other times disillusioned but almost always confrontational. Are you aiming to elicit a direct, emotional response from the viewer?
To me there’s no predetermined aim in making a work of art, it is rooted in personal issues and experiences. however, giving yourself and your audience a slap every now and then prevents us from falling into the coma of political correctness.