Uitstalling Art Gallery

Henk Serfontein

The Topography of Skin
November 19th, 2021 - January 14th, 2022

THE TOPOGRAPHY OF SKIN

In The Topography of Skin, he continues his intimate investigation into the fragility of the human body. Henk Serfontein’s eye is that of the microscopic; his artworks unveil the topography of skin in minute detail as he captures how light falls on the subtle folds of the skin or the vestige of a wound long-healed emerging from shadow. The work is submerged in the poetry of light and shadow but his vision is acute and goes beyond the surface of the skin. It zooms in on the underlying chaos in the seemingly photo realistic drawing. Every mark and every erasure acts as compassionate investigation.

Pairs of weightless arms and hands have become a recurring motive in his recent work. The limbs caress, contort and extend and become sculptural and larger than life, despite their intimacy. The postures suggest an extension of the psychological self... they suggest a self-awareness. The hand is hypersensitive. We are our hands. The hand is an instrument of love and compassion, of violence and anger, of protection and rejection. It gives, it takes, it comforts but also fights back. An artist’s creativity flows from his hands.

Henk Serfontein
Henk Serfontein

The Topography of Skin I

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Henk Serfontein
Henk Serfontein

The Topography of Skin II

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Henk Serfontein
Henk Serfontein

The Topography of Skin XII

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Henk Serfontein
Henk Serfontein

The Topography of Skin I

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HENK SERFONTEIN

Henk Serfontein is an award winning South-African artist. His work has received widespread acclaim and he was the winner of numerous art competitions including the prestigious New Signitures Art Award. He holds a degree in Fine Art and has lectured on tertiary level.

He is best known for his award winning exhibition WINTERSLAAP which was a collaboration between himself and Afrikaans poet Wilma Stockenström. The exhibition was presented at the Stelenbosch Art Museum and also travelled to the Breytenbach Sentrum, the home of birth of Afrikaans poet Breyten Breytenbach. Henk Serfontein has also published widely and has contributed articles on visual art and popular culture to online publications such as Vrye Weekblad and Litnet. 

Henk Serfontein has exhibited widely and participated in numerous curated art exhibitions. His works have been included in Art Fairs in the United Kingdom and Johannesburg. He has completed art residencies at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris as well as the Piramidon Centre for Contemporary art in Barcelona Spain.

The Topography of Skin I , 90cm x 90cm.jpg

The Topography of Skin I 

90cm x 90cm
Charcoal and mixed media on archival Hahnemühle paper, 2021

The Topography of Skin II, 90cm x 90cm.jpg

The Topography of Skin II 

90cm x 90cm
Charcoal and mixed media on archival Hahnemühle paper, 2021

The Topography of Skin III , 90cm x 90cm.jpg

The Topography of Skin III 

90cm x 90cm
Charcoal and mixed media on archival Hahnemühle paper, 2021

The Topography of Skin IV , 90cm x 90cm.jpg

The Topography of Skin IV

90cm x 90cm
Charcoal and mixed media on archival Hahnemühle paper, 2021

The Toporaphy of Skin V ,90cm x 90cm.jpg

The Topography of Skin V 

90cm x 90cm
Charcoal and mixed media on archival Hahnemühle paper, 2021

The Topography of Skin VI , 90cm x 90cm.jpg

The Topography of Skin VI

90cm x 90cm
Charcoal and mixed media on archival Hahnemühle paper, 2021

The Topography of Skin VII , 1.1m x 1.1m.jpg

The Topography of Skin VII 

110cm x 110cm
Charcoal and mixed media on archival Hahnemühle paper, 2021

The Topography of Skin VIII , 1.1m x 1.1m.jpg

The Topography of Skin VIII

110cm x 110cm
Charcoal and mixed media on archival Hahnemühle paper, 2021

The Topography of Skin IX , 1.1m x 1.1m.jpg

The Topography of Skin IX

110cm x 110cm
Charcoal and mixed media on archival Hahnemühle paper, 2021

The Topography of Skin X , 1.1m x 1.1m.jpg

The Topography of Skin X

110cm x 110cm
Charcoal and mixed media on archival Hahnemühle paper, 2021

The Topography of Skin ,XI 1.1m x 1.1m.jpg

The Topography of Skin XI
110cm x 110cm
Charcoal and mixed media on archival Hahnemühle paper, 2021

The Topography of Skin XII ,1.1m x 1.1m.jpg

The Topography of Skin XII
110cm x 110cm
Charcoal and mixed media on archival Hahnemühle paper, 2021

 

De Handen van Henk Serfontein

Een zomerdag in Kaapstad.
Ik liep een winkel in met tweedehands spullen.
Een soort museum met onvertelde verhalen uit een mij onbekend verleden.
Ik ben graag in dat soort winkels.
Voor je het weet spookt  er een lied  rond tussen oude kasten en stoffige lampen. 
De eigenaar sprak mij aan over mijn muziek en mijn vriendschap met de Zuidafrikaanse legende Johannes Kerkorrel.
Daarna een gesprek over ons aards bestaan,de tijd waarin we leven en het land met al zijn moeilijkheden en mogelijkheden.
Een kameraad van hem kwam binnen. Hij stelde zich voor als Henk. Het mooie gesprek ging verder met drie in dat museum van onvertelde verhalen.
Pas later kwam ik er achter dat het Henk Serfontein was. Ik kende hem als beeldend kusntenaar en hou enorm van zijn werk. Het mooiste was dat de intensie van wat hij maakt overeenkomt met wie hij is. Dat maakt een kunstenaar groots…en nog overtuigender.
Om zijn werk te omschrijven moet je er eigenlijk voor gaan staan…woorden schieten te kort.
Maar daar ben ik aan gewend dus doe ik bij deze toch maar een poging aan de hand van de expo die nu te zien is in de gallerij ‘Uitstalling’ in Genk.
Je loopt door een ruimte waarin met een enorme technisch vermogen handen in houtskool schetsen zijn gevangen. Oude handen. Je ziet niet de mensen maar leest eigenlijk hun leven in de lijnen die hij met een ontroerende nauwkeurigheid heeft vastgelegd. Er wordt vaak gezegd dat de ogen de spiegel van onze ziel zijn….als dat zo is dan zijn de handen het boek dat het verhaal vertelt van ons leven….zonder dat we het weten…zonder dat we het mooier kunnen maken  dan het is.
Tenminste als die handen door Henk zijn vastgelegd. Alles is er in zichtbaar…onze kwetsbaarheid,onze kracht,ons verdriet en het geluk dat die handen ooit hebben vastgehouden. Stilstaande beelden die mij in beroering brengen…ze raken…en ze zijn een spiegel voor mijn eigen menszijn met alles schoonheid en onvermogen vandien.
Je ziet niet de mensen maar leest wel hun leven. Een beetje zoals de plek waar ik hem ontmoette….tussen als die onvertelde verhalen in die tweedehands winkel.
Ooit zag ik in een museum in Wenen de schetsen van Rembrandt. Een portret van zijn moeder…mooi en ongenaakbaar…het heeft jaren geduurd voordat ik datzelfde gevoel had bij een kunstenaar. Ik kreeg op een zondagmiddag in Genk,kijkend naar De handen van Henk Serfontein.

Stef Bos.  Dec 2021

'The Hands' - Henk Serfontein

 

A summer's day in Cape Town.

I walked into a shop selling second-hand goods.

A kind of museum with untold stories from an unknown past.

I love being in shops like that.

Before you know it, a song is haunted by old cupboards and dusty lamps. 

The owner talked to me about my music and my friendship with the South African legend Johannes Kerkorrel.

Then a conversation about our earthly existence, the times we live in and the country with all its difficulties and possibilities.

A comrade of his came in. He introduced himself as Henk. The lovely conversation continued with three in that museum of untold stories.

Only later did I find out that it was Henk Serfontein. I knew him as a visual artist and love his work enormously. The best part was that the intensity of what he made corresponded to who he was. That makes an artist great...and even more convincing.

To describe his work, you actually have to stand in front of it...words are inadequate.

But I am used to that, so I am going to make an attempt anyway, using the exhibition that is currently on show in the 'Uitstalling' gallery in Genk.

You walk through a space in which hands have been captured in charcoal sketches with enormous technical skill. Old hands. You don't see the people but actually read their lives in the lines that he has captured with a touching accuracy. It is often said that the eyes are the mirror of our souls....if that is so, then the hands are the book that tells the story of our lives....without us knowing it...without us being able to make it more beautiful than it is.

That is, if those hands have been captured by Henk. Everything is visible in them...our vulnerability, our strength, our sadness and the happiness that those hands once held. Still images that move me...they touch me...and they are a mirror for my own humanity with all its beauty and incapacity.

You don't see the people but you read their lives. A bit like the place where I met him.... between those untold stories in that second-hand shop.

I once saw Rembrandt's sketches in a museum in Vienna. A portrait of his mother...beautiful and unapproachable...it took years before I had that same feeling about an artist. I got it on a Sunday afternoon in Genk, watching The hands of Henk Serfontein.

 

Stef Bos.  Dec 2021