David Krut Projects is pleased to present Be Careful in the Working Radius, a solo exhibition showcasing a new body of work originated in collaboration with the David Krut Print Workshop, from 30 May – 13 July. The body of work comprises a series of editioned prints, made using combinations of woodblock and linocut techniques; unique works created from the trial proofs of the editions, altered through cutting and the addition of reflective tape; sculptural objects made by repurposing the woodblocks used for printing the editions; and a limited edition artist’s pop-up book.
Be Careful in the Working Radius indicates a shift in and expansion of Hobbs’ practice. Focusing particularly on Johannesburg since 1994, Hobbs has sustained a dialogue with urban space through video, installation, curated projects, photography and sculpture. Hobbs’ highly conceptual and multi-disciplinary creative inquiry looks to the city as a tool for understanding the complexities, contradictions and potentialities inherent in the relationships between people and the built environment. In this body of work, Hobbs’ distils and translates his mercurial urban practice into the formalism of the printmaking medium, and then pushes those same formal elements beyond themselves into three-dimensional iterations.
Imagery of billboards and scaffolding reduced to abstract grid formations is the departure point for this body of work. Hobbs harnesses the significance of billboard scaffolding as a vertical matrix upon which information is placed, opening the potential for imaginings on the horizontal grid, as foundation for a kind of urban madness from which rectangles are extruded and cars and people hustle on the ground plane. Unique two-dimensional works – trial proofs that have been through various processes of reworking with new material, cutting, cropping and crumpling – function as a go-between for the editioned prints and the woodblocks that Hobbs’ has transformed into unique sculptures, the original printing matrix turned skeletal building.
The limited edition artist’s pop-up book functions as the binding work of the exhibition, encompassing Hobbs’ conceptual practice of engaging the field of architecture as a site for visionary thinking. The work itself is a form of paper architecture, containing three-dimensional pages that provide a visual link to the empty billboard structures, revealing their resemblance to dazzle camouflage – a zebra-like pattern used particularly on gunships in the early 1900s to fragment the visual field of enemy sites in combat situations. Although dazzle patterning became obsolete after World War I, Hobbs has mined the potential that such visual deception presents for aesthetic reflection on the dystopian city, and in this case highlights the complex and abstract nature of processing information in frenzied urban environments.
Be Careful in the Working Radius will include a simultaneous supporting installation of work at David Krut Projects, Arts on Main