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Statement

I am interested in 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. When people and animals are born deformed, the deformity is symmetrical, harmonious. There are patterns in deformities, which imbue them with grace and beauty.

I try and draw attention to the beauty of the things society tries to hide, the beauty in the uncommon and unusual. I grapple with the way in which what we consider benign and banal today might be in the future, or have been in the past, considered pathological and bizarre. My work draws attention to the unusual in order to question our current sense of normality, which is temporal and malleable.

I study the way history is written; historical narratives are often cartoonish in the way that they are portrayed to drive political and social agendas. I am particularly fascinated by the obsession and energy spent on war, which is a bizarre and defining characteristic of our species.

Living in India and Russia has acted as a counterpoint to my experiences in South Africa and to my experience of western narratives in general. I try to place various constructs of gender, sexuality and disability within the larger patterns I have found, in order to show different ways of being to the viewers of my artworks.

Exhibitions

  • Hoxton 253 Project space//London//2019
  • David Baille//Johannesburg//2018
  • Toffee gallery// Darling, Cape Town// 2017
  • Priest gallery// Johannesburg // 2017
  • Fried Contemporary // Pretoria // 2016
  • Gallery F/ Luvey and Rose// Cape town// 2016
  • Lizamore and associates // Johannesburg // March 2016
  • Nirox project room // Johannesburg // October 2014
  • Room // Johannesburg // July 2014
  • Johannesburg Art Gallery // Johannesburg // May to September 2011
  • Arts on main // Johannesburg // January to February 2011
  • Art-icle Showcase // Johannesburg // July 2010
  • Bamboo gallery // Johannesburg // February 2010

2019
  • The Other Art fair//London//March 2019
  • The Other art fair//London//October 2019
  • Andelli art//UK//2019
  • SEAS// Brighton UK//2019
  • Lizamore and associates//Johannesburg//2019
  • Deepestdarkest//Cape town//2019
  • Lattitudes art fair//Johannesburg//2019
  • Russel Kaplan Auction//Johannesburg//2019
  • Nartwork//Naples Italy//2019
  • Eclectica contemporary//Cape town//2019
  • Bethnal Green road two man show// London//2019
  • Art underground//London//2019
2018
  • David Baille // Johannesburg // 2018
  • Untitled gallery // Cape Town // 2018
  • Absa art Auction // Johannesburg // 2018
  • Studio G // Cape town // 2018
2017
  • Art Africa art fair // Cape town // 2017
  • Cape town art fair// Cape town // 2017
  • Moore gallery // Franchhoek // 2017
2016
  • Clash at the Bagfactory // Johannesburg//2016
  • Creator/curator at Absa Gallery// Johannesburg// 2016
  • Skulls at Fried contemporary// Pretoria// 2016
  • Remain(s) at DF Contemporary // Cape town // 2016
  • Turbine art fair// Johannesburg // 2016
  • Art room // Johannesburg // 2016
  • Curiositas at Agog gallery // Johannesburg // 2016
  • KKNK Festival// Oudshoorn // 2016
  • Basha Uhuru festival at Constitution Hill// Johannesburg // 2016
  • 1 Eloff street // Johannesburg // 2016
  • Performing Wo/Man at Oliewenhuis gallery // Bloemfontein // 2016
  • ZERO at SOMA// Johannesburg // 2016
  • Death and Taxes at Fried Contemporary // 2016
  • Fifteen hundred at No End gallery // Johannesburg // 2016
  • Cavalli wine estate // Somerset West // 2016

2015
  • Die Burger 100 years of publication at Artscape Theatre Centre // Cape town// 2015
  • The art room // Johannesburg // 2015
  • Transitions at the Transvaal Post office // Johannesburg // 2015
  • Cross section at The Transvaal Post office // Johannesburg // 2015
  • Macabre at Underculture Contemporary // Port Elizabeth // 2015
  • Revamp at Priest // Johannesburg // 2015
  • Twillsharp //Johannesburg // 2015
  • No End Gallery // Johannesburg //2015
  • Atelier art competition // Johannesburg // 2015
  • That Art fair // Cape Town // 2015
  • The fringe art fair // Johannesburg // 2015
  • Cabinets of curiosity // Capetown // 2015
  • Turbine art fair // Johannesburg// 2015
  • Cavalli Wine estate // Somerset West// 2015
  • Fetish at Artec // Port Elizabeth // KKNK 2015
  • Dirt at Rubixcube // Johannesburg // 2015
2014
  • Diedericks/Faber fine art // Cape Town // July 2014
  • Rubixcube at arts on main// Johannesburg // 2014
  • Lizamore and associates // Johannesburg // 2014
  • Carol Lee Bamboo // Johannesburg // 2014
  • Salon 91// Cape Town // 2013
2012
  • Artspace gallery // Johannesburg // 2012
2011
  • Thompsons gallery // Johannesburg // 2011
  • Main street life // Johannesburg // 2011
  • PostBox magazine launch at Arcade Empire // Pretoria // 2011
  • Pandora Art House // Pretoria // 2011
2010
  • Carol Lee Bamboo // Johannesburg // 2010
2007
  • Moja modern gallery // Johannesburg // 2007
  • Anton van Wouw museum // Pretoria // 2007
  • Boeing gallery // Pretoria // 2007
2006
  • Carfax // Johannesburg // 2006

Biography

Mammes creates studies and patterns inspired by the places he has lived and travelled to, in his pursuit towards understanding himself and the world outside the west. His works are heavily influenced by archival research.
In 2018 Mammes was commissioned by the South African Mint to design a commemorative and a circulation coin in celebration of 25 years of constitutional democracy in South Africa.

"My belief is that there is no grand scheme, no final answers to any consequential questions. The importance lies within dialogue to come to better resolutions and conceptions of complex ideas that ultimately can lead to a better society.
Through my work I seek to awaken a public and an inner dialogue. Written language in its current form is perhaps not adequate to deal with all the intricate dimensions any idea has to offer, language barriers and education further hinder comprehension. My aim is to develop a comprehensive way to visually describe complex ideas, a fuller spectrum embedded with nuances as well as depicting contraries at the same time. I am developing a symbolic approach since I have been studying how to understand hieroglyphics. It is a far more effective way to express reality in a way that forces one to think broad.

The symbolic values and their various combinations create whole new meanings and contexts within my work. I use pattern as a symbolic way to depict multicultural values, patterns that I have sourced around the world during my travels and research. There is a deeper meaning in making a drawing, a universal language of symmetry, contrast, pattern and balance that is another layer in an artwork.

Symbolism is a way to circumvent censorship, images are more potent and lasting than any words could ever be. I am and always will be in the process of creating this language, it’s not possible to get to the end of this idea.” Peter Mammes