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Ras Steyn


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It is the human condition that fascinates and drives me to be a divergent mind and image maker, and more recently pattern-maker extraordinaire. Moreover, it is the obliteration of normative aesthetics through random somatic errors that inspire my generally anamorphic bodies and surreal objects. My zealous belief in the inseparability of psychological disorders and ‘corporeal’ or bodily transgressions is constantly and quite lucidly exposed in the visual output that I produce.

I find it distressing that some viewers of my art can only see twisted and malevolent monsters stirring in it. What I want viewers to perceive are sublime accidental anatomies that hint at alternative avenues in the endless search for ‘Absolute Beauty’. Only recently have I shifted my attention to the less ‘immediately recognisable’. I am now in awe of the reductive and the abstract nature of common psychological ailments and other transient conditions that are difficult to frame in words. Still, the abstract pieces that I invoke are never entirely devoid of an identifiable subject. Complete formlessness is not my main prerogative. My abstract works are expressive ‘mindscapes’ that allows the viewer to act as a fourth dimension; extracting subjective meanings and private clues from it. It is my desire to capture the universal mood of particular disorders that resonates with a collective understanding of it. As an indirect result of this aim, many of my prints have become unclear as subliminal forms and polychrome scintillations are neatly suspended between terrifying dystopian dreams and exquisite nightmares. I think it is almost impossible to avoid the uncanny terrain of vivid dreams when producing art that is concurrently attractive and repulsive.

Over the last few years my obsession with Posthumanism and its emphasis on identity multiplication has steadily developed into an ever-expanding concern for identity loss or theft, self-loathing, psychological fracturing, isolation and most importantly – EMPTINESS. It becomes my duty to capture that which is ephemeral and on the brink of surrendering to omnipotent ‘nothingness’. As an artist I tend to live a more realistic life inside my head, while the empirical world around me seems somewhat vague and questionable. Moreover, I have always been fascinated by the deliberate absence of highly probable subject matter in allegedly contentious abject or macabre dream-based imagery.