Reposition is not only based on the physical process of creating these pieces, but also on how repositioning this body of work, to a different country, changes how the viewers interpret the work.
Every country has their own sense of identity with unique cultures and viewpoints.
How South Africans view their local art will be different to how Europeans view it, as there is a sub-context of knowing the history, having a sense of familiarity and cultural awareness. So, in essence, you can say that one’s interpretation of a body of work changes considering from where it is viewed. With a different viewpoint, the work changes.
Globally, humans are continually repositioning themselves in different countries, resulting in a mix of genetics, cultures and perspectives that become reinterpreted. Smit explores this idea and brings it to a wider audience through this body of work.
Lionel Smit is a South African artist who operates a remarkable studio just outside of Cape Town wherein he pursues his craft in all manner of media with areas dedicated to sculpture, painting and printmaking.
Smit and his talented team produce works that blur the boundaries among these media, and installed throughout the large spaces are works from earlier in the artist’s career, as if reminding him where he has been and guiding him into new realms of endeavour.
Lionel is considered one of South Africa’s most talented artists, best known for his contemporary portraiture executed through monumental canvases and sculptures.
Perhaps more than anything else, Lionel Smit’s art is defined by a deeply rooted symbiotic relationship between sculpture and painting.
Today, each of Lionel Smit’s works offers us an entry point into the variety and richness that lies beneath every face we encounter in life, whether applied in bronze or in paint. The blending of techniques across genres is a display of Smit’s work in multiple media, all bearing visible overlap.
His paintings start with abstract lines and swaths of colour that establish a base for the subsequently overlaid image of a face or bust – in most cases posed by anonymous models from the Cape Malay community. For Smit, the Cape Malay woman epitomises hybrid identity within a South African context, and reflects the disintegrating construction of identity within our increasingly globalised world. His work is loaded with both historical and aesthetic precedent; clearly focused on the dialogue between the figurative and expressive abstract.