Dawn of the Antropocene – Peter Mammes Exhibition

Peter Mammes at The Toffee Gallery

To view the catalogue for Peter Mammes' exhibition, Dawn of the antropocene, click here.

About twelve months ago, Darling Sweet launched the first in their series of gift boxes wherein the artwork adorning each gift box is done in collaboration with an artist or designer. For the first in this series they commissioned the London-based artist Peter Mammes due to the visual brilliance of this South African-born’s play with patterns. As Mammes states about his love for patterns: “Thoughts occur as patterns; our lives are made up of events that occur as repetitions; history is repeated in patterned compositions. I am fascinated by the way nature forms patterns, even those that are grotesque.”

It is with great excitement that The Toffee Gallery at Darling Sweet can announce an entire exhibition of Mammes’ entrancing work on view at the gallery throughout December and into late January.

Mammes investigates contemporary, post-colonial narratives through the beautiful, intricate patterning which his work is known for. These narratives hold arb, grotesque and uncomfortable subject matter, unpacking the debates and documentation of history and its narratives. Mammes says: “history is presented as simple grand narratives and those narratives shape our current political and social conceptions. Through my work I attempt to challenge those narratives.”

This interplay between the beautiful patterning and harsh historical imagery beguiles the viewer and questions the truthfulness around documentation whilst attempting to unveil myths that are often layered within history. “We believe in these generated myths and those myths inform our ideas of good and evil. Historical narrative is, thus, constructed in a very particular way to benefit the current status quo and written in a manner that makes this narrative almost impossible to question” explains the artist. Using images as placeholders for ideas; each image in Mammes’s work represents a spectrum of concepts that mirrors reality’s nuanced and varied states. The artist sources imagery from museums, history books and his own travels and often focusses on portraits of (perceived) pivotal historical figures. “My work does not concern itself with final statements but rather with a process of continual questioning” says the artist.

In both Mammes’ two-dimensional and, of late, three-dimensional sculptural forms he explores patterns that occur in many different formats; murals, silver plates, and on found objects.

Mammes was born in 1986 in Krugersdorp and from a very young age busied himself with drawing and making art. For the most part an autodidact, his art training included an apprenticeship in a puppet theatre and with a set designer working on theatre productions. Peter is a fourth-generation South African of Dutch descent, who grew up as part of an isolated, Afrikaans-speaking community during the collapse of the apartheid regime and the transition to a democratic, multi-cultural government. As a child experiencing the regime change, he observed the rapid transformation of the country’s collective social and economic norms and the conflicted and often clumsy responses to those changes. His observation of the amorphous historical narratives told by the successive governments ruling South Africa has been a major factor in his development as an artist. He uses his artwork to pose questions about the construction of the narratives of power and authority, the intersection of individual and national identity and the suppression and celebration of the ugly and unacceptable. As Mammes states: “I try and draw attention to the beauty of the things society tries to hide, the beauty in the uncommon and unusual.”

Mammes sought out what it means to be African while travelling from Cape Town to Cairo on public transport. He also lived and worked in Moscow, Russia in 2013 and Varanasi, India in 2014. Because of these experiences there is a strong Russian and Indian influence in his artwork.

Opening 9 December 11h30.

Exhibition will run until 21 January.

To view the catalogue for Peter Mammes' exhibition, Dawn of the antropocene, click here.

For more information on the artist, visit his website, patterndiscord.com

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