LIBERTY BATTSON: Dada data - A 100 year celebration of Abstraction


Liberty Battson Copy

LIBERTY BATTSON: Dada data - A 100 year celebration of Abstraction
Apr 12 – May 5, 2018

“For us art is not an end in itself… but it is an opportunity for the true perception and criticism of the times we live in” – Hugo Ball (Dadaism).


Everard Read / CIRCA is proud to present Dada data - a 100 year celebration of Abstraction, the second exhibition by Liberty Battson at Cape Town galleries.

Opening the 12th of April, Dada data- a 100 year celebration of Abstraction marks the centennial anniversary of the Dada manifesto written by Tristan Tzara. This solo exhibition includes paintings, sculpture and video. This body of work reinforces Battson’s unique language combining both playful and formal conceptual considerations in her practice. Various examples in the exhibition make direct reference to artists whose ideas critically informed Battson’s investigation in producing this show. Her chronological journey has resulted in the manifestation of various formal artworks that highlight her inherent ability to refine information in a fresh and unique perspective.


The artist explains her thoughts:

Inspired by the tongue in cheek and humorous approach in their reaction; I started a series dedicated to the Influence of the “laws of chance” that Hans Arp (founder of Dada) incorporated in his work 100 years to date.  Arp instilled the necessity to challenge expectations, work spontaneously and according to chance. Here I shoot, paint, peal, paint, crush geometric ready-mades and explores the boundaries of colour theory; all still making it mathematically reflect 100, in celebration of this century of liberation.

“Colour is the essence of painting, which the subject always killed” – Kazimir Malevich.

Malevich was a key source of inspiration with his work “White on White” done in 1918.  In artworks such as White on White 1918-2018 and Black Suprematism. Can I even say that? 1918-2018, I deliberately included the three stages he incorporated in his lifetime; Black, Colour and finally White in 1918 (Suprematism). Kandinsky and Malevich were considered pioneers of geometric abstraction who “sought refuge in the square form”. As I ventured into 3D sculpture under this premise, I was inspired to recreate forms using their choices.

Dadaist Marcel Duchamp and his revolutionary ‘ready-mades’ inspired the crushing of the Mercedes into a geometric cube Nelson Mandela’s Mercedes Benz (2018). This was the exact model of the car given to Nelson Mandela by Mercedes Benz when he was released from prison in 1990. This year we celebrate his legacy, as he would have turned 100 years old.

This is sensational-Francis Picabia is an artwork produced for my Honors exhibition, this was my first body of work produced using automotive paint that we have become familiar with over the last five years. This is the last work available from the body and I have chosen to include it on show, the relevance to the show is uncanny as we see the destruction (my painting has cracks that run through the centre) and a similarity to Francis Picabia’s work “volucelle”.

The birth of Abstraction celebrated a thinking that welcomed the absurd, the humorous, the nonsensical, mixed media assemblage. Dadaist mixed up artistic genres and materials, using everyday objects (Man Ray) or even rubbish (Schwitters). The intention was to bombard the public with irrelevance, ironically becoming one of the most influential movements in art to date.

Liberty Battson was born and raised in Benoni, South Africa and graduated with a BA Fine Arts at the University of Pretoria in 2013.

In 2014 Battson was awarded the Absa L’Atelier overall winner. 2013 she was a merit award winner at Sasol New Signatures, and in 2012 she was a Thami Mnyele Fine Arts painting merit award winner. She has participated in numerous group exhibitions, and was also a featured artist at the 2015 KKNK National Arts Festival- Oudtshoorn and the Clover Aardklop National Arts Festival- Potchefstroom (2015). In 2016 at the Venice Architecture Biennale, Battson featured as part of the Cool Capital- A Guerrilla Citizen Initiative at the South African Pavilion.

Battson's artworks are placed in various public and corporate collections including the Telkom, Sasol, Ellerman House, University of Pretoria and Absa Corporate Collection all in South Africa, as well as numerous private collections. She participated in a two-month residency in Paris at the Cité Internationale des Arts (2013) awarded by the University of Pretoria.


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*Images courtesy of Michael Hall