The Physics of a Por­trait

SLOW Magazine - - Must Go -

Created through a sim­i­lar process to that of a physi­cist pulling apart ob­serv­able as­pects of re­al­ity to re­veal el­e­ments con­cealed from ev­ery­day per­cep­tion, Mbon­geni Fakudze’s por­traits are a spon­ta­neous and ex­pres­sive, with the vivid ap­pli­ca­tion of colour re­sult­ing in an ab­strac­tion of shape and form.

“I have al­ways seen the world through the mi­cro­scopic eye of an atomic physi­cist and si­mul­ta­ne­ously the cos­mic eye of an as­tro­physi­cist. I am fas­ci­nated by the na­ture of the phys­i­cal world in which we live. Find­ing that it may look solid from a dis­tance but dis­solve or dis­in­te­grate into par­ti­cles as you get closer and closer . . . The ques­tion be­comes: What is re­al­ity?” Fakudze muses.

Fakudze has al­ways had a nat­u­ral at­trac­tion to­wards both schools of thought: art and sci­ence. “I was a bit of a nerd in my school days – but a cool one with nappy hair,” Fakudze jokes. In high school he de­vel­oped a se­ri­ous in­ter­est in art when he dis­cov­ered the bi­ogra­phies of a va­ri­ety of Euro­pean artists. “I al­ways en­joyed draw­ing and was told I was good at it. To know that I could make it a ca­reer was just too en­tic­ing. My fam­ily was rel­a­tively sup­port­ive of my artis­tic dreams. But not know­ing much about the field – and com­ing from a coun­try which does not prop­erly recog­nise the value of art – they did not know what to do with my tal­ent,” Fakudze ex­plains.

Not hav­ing a rel­e­vant course avail­able to him in his home coun­try of Swazi­land, and hav­ing de­vel­oped a de­ter­mi­na­tion to do what he loved, Fakudze en­rolled for a Fine Arts De­gree through the Uni­ver­sity of South Africa in Pre­to­ria. Af­ter com­plet­ing his de­gree, Fakudze dab­bled in sur­re­al­ism, in­flu­enced by the works of Magritte, Dalí, and Duchamp. He later ex­per­i­mented with the dig­i­tal ma­nip­u­la­tion of pho­to­graphs com­bined with over­laid acrylic paint.

Fakudze moved to Jo­han­nes­burg twoand-a-half years ago to pur­sue his ca­reer fur­ther. The change of scenery brought with it a change in cre­ative thought, mov­ing his at­ten­tion to­wards the ex­pres­sive na­ture of the hu­man form. “I was look­ing for a looser tech­nique, which I found in ab­stract ex­pres­sive por­trai­ture,” he says.

When asked why he chooses por­traits as his means of artis­tic ex­pres­sion, Fakudze ex­plains: “It stems from my love of the com­plex­i­ties of the hu­man face and fig­ure. It is able not only to cre­ate emo­tions, but also to tell a certain hu­man story. Usu­ally in the fe­male por­traits I cre­ate, the fig­ures tend to have a re­gal­ity. Be­ing raised by a strong and re­spectable high achiever of a mother, I feel I sub­con­sciously see her strength in these women that I cre­ate.”

Most of the faces he paints are fic­tional cre­ations in­spired by real peo­ple. “They are a com­bi­na­tion of peo­ple I know, and some of them are hy­brid char­ac­ters that come more from my own mind than from my ex­pe­ri­ences. In my paint­ings, I tend to

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.