Art Times FEATURE: IN UTERO an ode to home | RK Contemporary

Published 08 October 2022 in Press

May the darkness of the night
Be a womb
For remembering
And letting go

As you feel your way to
The chord
Beckoning you to
Come closer and listen

Emma Aspeling
(A prompt to participating artists)

In Utero, curated by artist Emma Aspeling, includes the works by eight South African female artists: Sonya Rademeyer, Mia Thom, Grace Cross, Leigh Tuckniss, Simone Marinus, Emma Aspeling, Amy Ayanda, and Laurinda Belcher.

The exhibition navigates abstraction, or the distortion of representation, through the collapse of space, time, and matter to a place of remembrance. Remembering who we are offers a non-linear process towards reconciliation, a journey towards homecoming to discover community within the collective. The exhibition reflects how art practice can facilitate, engage, and assist with this transformation and considers how a curator’s intentional exchange with artists can unlock interconnectivity and deepen an awareness of vulnerability and empathy – as we are all just walking each other home (Ram Dass).

Artists were asked to contemplate the initial place of inseparability and connectedness to source, to life forces, to safety, and belonging. Or perhaps to the lack thereof. A place of becoming and doing in a visceral feeling-sensory way, acquiring knowledge pre-cognition. A reminder of creative energy that allows artists to tap into the entangled web of past-present-future remembrances. Therein, the creative process may unfold as an unravelling, walking forwards and backward at the same time, as lines from past, present, and future thread and bleed into each other (Karen Barad).

We are going back to a core. We all enter this life through our mothers’ womb. Personal, universal, perhaps burdened, and distant for many. For some, it is their own experiences of childbearing and rearing; for some it is a season of cocooning or withdrawal because of pain and grief; and for others, the haven of their studios. All of which offers spaces and places for processing and reflection from which enaction results. The exhibition intended to lure the artists into their internal worlds and workings, whilst pulling them all into a web of interconnectedness as a filter and perspective from which to create and engage.

In Utero weaves together a rich sense of the insurgency of the invisible. It shifts the narrative from home as a place, to a state of intimate becoming and belonging, within – remembering what it is to be me, that is always the point (Joan Didion).

It is a great privilege to include in this exhibition a series of five drawings by artist Sonya Rademeyer, tracing her father’s breath at the onset of his death, just over a year ago. Rademeyer notes that capturing his breath was to honour his presence, but also an attempt at holding him. He was both a mathematician and poet. I think his breath was like poetry to me. Capturing the beauty of life in another, inner medium. Exhibiting my father’s breath was never planned, but somehow through the invitation to participate in this exhibition, I was able to let go of the idea that I lose him if I exhibit the works. Thank you for this incredibly healing space.

08-30 October 2022/Rk Contemporary, Riebeek Kasteel

Grace Cross, Mother is a drum, Oil on Canvas, 67 x 85 cm, 2019.


Sonya Rademeyer | My fathers breath V, Screenprint and silver pen, 29.7 x 42 cm, 2021


Laurinda Belcher, Familiar, 42 x 60 cm, Water soluble oil on canvas, 2022


Leigh Tuckniss, Budding, Mixed media on paper, 16 x 19cm, 2022


Simone Marinus, Safe Space, nr 4, Mixed media on canvas, 28 x 35 cm, 2022

Update cookies preferences