Johann van der Schijff *

Heartbreaker (Mixed media installation, 149 x 112 x 70 cm)

Heartbreaker (Mixed media installation, 149 x 112 x 70 cm)

Artist's Statement

* Spier Contemporary 2010 Winner : Johann van der Schijff is the beneficiary of a residency at the Thamdigi Foundation in Arnhem, Netherlands

A shiny demolition hammer elevated on a flashy black trolley, complete with white pin stripes and chrome wheel caps, lures the viewer to engage with it. As the viewer moves towards the sculpture for closer inspection, a motor sensor, used in domestic alarm systems, triggers Heartbreaker into action. The noise of the chisel blade, reminiscent of machine gun fire, beats away into thin air, as the trembling demolition hammer lies strapped down onto red leather cushions. It is a sight of the absurd: repulsive yet exhilarating. Interactive principles gained from my involvement with new media teaching, are applied here. Scale is of great importance as the work relates to human size: the chisel blade is positioned at the artist’s own chest height. Facilitated by computer-aided design and manufacturing techniques used in making, for example, riot control vehicles, the workmanship and finishes are meticulous, and aim to emulate and appeal in the same way as objects in designer-lifestyle shops or on motorcar display floors.

Artist's Biography

Born: 1969. Lives and works in Cape Town. Received his his BA(FA) from the University of Pretoria and his MFA from the University of Cape Town. He later received an MFA (New Media) from the Academie Minerva, Hanze University for Professional Education in Groningen, The Netherlands. Major exhibitions: Johannesburg Biennale, Everard Read Contemporary Gallery, Johannesburg; The Mermaid Theatre Gallery, London; Ziegler Groningen, The Netherland; The Castle of Good Hope, Bell Roberts Gallery and AVA Gallery, in Cape Town; 2nd Spier Outdoor Sculpture Biennial; Biennale of African Contemporary Art DAK’ART, Awards and scholarships: Sasol New Signature (overall winner), Sanlam Bursary Competition