Master’s art student, Rory Klopper, will be hosting an exhibition of his work at the Jack Health Gallery at the UKZN Centre for Visual Art on the 14th of October. The times are 5:30pm for 6pm and refreshments will be served. There is secure parking available and the artwork will be up for sale.
This exhibition concludes three years of Master’s work interrogating the self. The artist, Rory Klopper, explores his feelings regarding social structures that adhere to a particularised norm of which he finds himself unable to subscribe. Experiencing personal traumas led Klopper to resign from formal employment and take time to reflect upon how he perceives life. Re-entering academia at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, fine art’s department Klopper’s work navigates complex social structures that are primarily influenced by his homosexuality. As the ‘other’ always looking in his work evokes a sense of isolation and the bizarre. Confronted with heteronormative rubrics that aim to control and uphold certain ideologies Klopper actively deconstructs these codes in process of actualising his uniqueness. His work has come to explore concepts of queer theory, grotesque realism, and the cadaver exquisite to try understand who he is in the act of becoming.
The multiplicity of identity challenges how one understands one’s physical body in relation to the society in which one lives. One perceives oneself as a body that looks and behaves a certain way, but this body is an illusion of social enculturation. Klopper deconstructs his body and reinterprets its form to try and understand who he really is, in doing so he creates surreal creatures based on how he perceives himself within society. Life is full of obstacles, how one navigates these challenges informs the construction of one’s identity during transformation, thus it can be argued that identity is not static but rather in a state of flux.
One’s thoughts and feelings regarding how one perceives oneself are influenced by projections from those around us. Our multiplicity is foreground in and around corporeal action. We each have a story and we each have a unique way of perceiving our reality, Carl Jung describes this reality as personal myth believing that myth is more individual and expresses life more precisely than science. Klopper’s work explores his life journey – his pain and his joy – as his personal myth. His work does not offer answers to humanities existential questions, rather it is an intimate reflection of an individual who intuitively explores his emotions through tangible modes of creation, namely painting, drawing, cut-outs, photography, and assemblage.
A nervous breakdown early in 2014 led Klopper into the unknown, and it is in the unknowing of the self that Klopper has come to embrace the complexities of his multiplicity, and understand the contradictory aspects of his character. Who one is today cannot be who one will be tomorrow, we evolve in time and space continuously, informed each day by our lived experiences. Klopper’s work allows for elements of chance to unfold which he believes unveils the authentic self. Perfection does not interest him, the uncontrolled and flawed speak more closely to his reality. As a gay man Klopper is interested in the gendering of sexuality and explores this through colour and contour, his work expresses a desire to emancipate himself from social indoctrination that restricts individual fluidity. Body-modification performance artist Orlan claims that the body is obsolete, through his work Klopper explores ways of understanding at what point the body and self intersect in the formation of identity, and how awareness of this intersection can assist in the formation of a more enlightened version of oneself.