Matt Saville
1 minute read
1 Feb 2008

Road trip for Dummies

Matt Saville

MATT SAVILLE takes a look at Peter Machen's new exhibition.

The Love We Leave Behind is a joint exhibition, hosted by Durban artists, Fran Saunders and Peter Machen that is running until February 24 at artSpace (3 Millar Road, off Umgeni Road) in Durban.

Fran Saunders is well known for her collages, which have been exhibited in South Africa, Germany, the Czech Republic, and the National Gallery in Bulawayo. Her latest exhibition reflects the continued delight she takes in crafting altered realities through the use of found images. Says Saunders: “We are often arrested by an image for the first time only when it is lifted out of its familiar context.”

Machen said that the images he is presenting are of European mannequins, which he shot while in Prague. The images of mannequins are sandwiched between photographs of roads and roadworks, which he says was to “take the European mannequins on a roadtrip of South Africa” The juxtaposition speaks to the altered realities of Saunders’ collages.

“It’s quite an open-ended narrative though,” he said, explaining that he has been taking photos of mannequins for years, with most of the pictures taken through the glass of shop front windows.

He contends the mannequins are often more human than the photoshopped and airbrushed models on the covers of fashion magazines. “You lose some of the emotional component through airbrushing,

“Looking at the wax models at Madame Tussaud’s, I was struck by how much more life-like the mannequins were,” said Machen who said he attempted to rehumanise the mannequins by bathing them in love, “as our lives derive meaning from moments infused with love”.

The exhibition consists of a series of large format digital prints. Gallery times are between 10 am and 4 pm Monday to Friday and and from 10 am to 1pm on Saturday.