Close and Far   

Close and Far is a survey exhibition of Karel Nel’s work curated in relation to themes present in four of the artist’s works in the WAM permanent collection. Nel’s wide-ranging interests and lifelong engagement over four decades with the role of thought and consciousness in the interpretation of the world and the universe are explored.

The earliest of the works from the early 1980s are mind’s eye drawings that map mental states. Nel’s exhibition alternates between the highly abstract and the carefully observed world around him. Whether he creates narrative still lives, his studio, a lecture theatre at the Centre for Astrophysics in Paris, or the formal sand and rock garden at the Ryōan-ji temple in Japan, his focus is on finding ways to make sense of the multiple realities about us.

Another stream is his set of dust ‘landscapes’, which use forensic materials to remember and commemorate critical moments in human thought and history such as the terror and loss of 9/11.

The exhibition is accompanied by objects selected from Nel’s extensive personal collection of African and Oceanic art.

Close and Far is curated by Fiona Rankin-Smith and can be viewed at the Wits Art Museum until 3rd August.