Bruce Clarke: Walking the Line
Presently on view at Artco Gallery, Berlin is Walking the Line, a solo exhibition of 2 series by contemporary artist Bruce Clarke.
Clarke grew up in England after his parents left South Africa in 1958 to continue the fight against the South African apartheid regime in exile. The artist continued with his parents’ commitment in Europe and has been advocating for a free and equal society in South Africa – and the rest of the world – since his youth.
Walking the Line connects Clarke’s intentions on which both work cycles are based. Here, Fantômes de la Mer relates uncompromisingly to the dramatic situation of refugees in Africa and the associated international human trafficking, caused by the isolationist policy of the European Union. Clarke paints partially larger than life, alienated portraits of people as a tribute to those who made their way across the Mediterranean Ocean to Europe in search of economic and political security. People who have been dying for years without audible complaints or burials. By shadowing bodies behind a thin metaphorical wall of water, he raises the question of Europe’s responsibility. These are images that emphasise human dignity and make it clear that the spirits of people who die every day at the gates of Europe accompany us daily and are part of our society.
Clarke’s second large series of works, ‘Predators’, is at first glance a break from his previous visual language. Instead of people, depictions of animals appear superficially in his pictures. Despite the different symbolism, ‘Predators’ is still a coherent continuation of the narrative of his remaining oeuvre. The large, depicted predators are metaphorical for human domination and illustrate the predatory and merciless attributes of our species. It also depicts Homo sapiens as both a financial, sexual, and ecological predator and its prey.
April 16, 2021
April 16, 2021