stefan_blom
Portrait of Stefan Blom. Courtesy of French photographer Emmanuel Sarnin.

Biography

South African sculptor and painter Stefan Blom was born in Kimberly in 1963. He studied graphic design at the Witwatersrand Technikon in Johannesburg. Blom began his career in advertising and lives and works in Cape Town.

His current sculptures continue to channel his first-hand experience of the psychic wound inflicted by personal trauma into the more impersonal and largely unstable area of political and social forces. His works investigate how the victim and perpetrator are part of a continuum. Bound together as one entity in an eternal symbiosis, the human spirit is trapped. A nominee for the FNB Vita Art Now Awards in 1996 his work is shown mostly in European and American galleries and museums. Blom had his first solo exhibition in 1995 at the Karen Mc Kerron Gallery in Johannesburg.

His current sculptures have their early roots in the more personal pieces seen in his first solo show in 1995. There, bitumen dark, glazed figures, some wrapped in bandage strips show the artist’s preoccupation with bondage and amputation suggestive of the shattered human spirit. Creatures have wings that cannot support the human body and arms that end in stumps or are trapped forever in fixed substances. A year later in 1996 Blom exhibited two works at the Johannesburg BMW gallery. These were like 3-dimensional renditions of Francis Bacon’s paintings of suffering figures painted writhing against deliberately incongruent and highly stylised design backgrounds. The earlier tar and paper finished sculptures of Blom’s first show morph into the ash white also at risk figures in his 3rd solo exhibition at Hänel Gallery.

In 2014 Blom exhibited an installation at the AVA gallery titled “sweetie”. Given the particular ethos of his work it comes as no surprise that the earliest painting executed by the artist as a young man was of a female crucifixion.

In Blom’s current sculptures, the rough finish that was his original trademark has undergone a transformation. The figures are perfectly finished. Surfaces are as slick and glossy as a 1950’s Cadillac. The sweetness of soft retro colours; baby blues, pinks and pale pistachio greens and silvers seem at odds with the seriousness of the subject matter. Yet this deliberate play creates an interesting tension through this incongruence. Unlike the product of transhumanism, the cyborg, a fictional being with both organic and biomechatronic parts functions often in a superior way to humans. Blom’s sculptures suggest that the psychic damage has rendered them impotent and without agency.

In January 2016, Blom was honoured to have one of the sculptures from the “DShK” series, “Brynhildr” acquired as part of the permanent collection of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA).

Collections
Zeitz MOCAA Museum of Contemporary Art Africa.
The District Six Museum, Cape Town, South Africa.
St George’s Cathederal.
Private collections in South Africa, Europe, USA, Australia and Israel.

Curriculum Vitae

2017

• “a life story” Berman Contemporary, Johannesburg South Africa.

2016
• “The grey, grey horse” collaborative work with sculptor Daniel Blom.
• CNN interview part of the Zeitz MOCAA Museum of Contemporary Art Africa documentary.

2015

• Solo Exhibition “DShK” Gallery Commune.1, Cape Town, South Africa.

• Sculptorvox. Online Magazine, United Kingdom.

2014  

• “sweetie” sculptural installation, AVA Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa.
• Cape Town Art Fair, South Africa.

2013

• Commissioned sculpture for “An African Tale of the Mother City exhibition” at IZIKO museum of South Africa. The work re-surfaces a forgotten story about how groups of women and men  living in places like Modderdam, Crossroads, Nyanga Bush and KTC during the late 1970s  and early 1980s fought with bravery and tenacity for the right of African people to live with their families and work freely in  the Western Cape.

2010

• Commissioned sculpture for “Glimpsing hope, marching for peace” to commemorate the peaceful march held in Cape Town, South Africa.

2003

• Solo Exhibition “Dressed for Love” Hanël Gallery Cape Town, South Africa.
• Solo Exhibition “Dressed for Love” Galerie Frank Hanël, Wiesbaden, Germany.
• Self-portrait video, commisisioned by SABC TV for the magazine program Pasella.

2002

• Joint Exhibition with A.R. Penck. Galerie Frank Hanël, Wiesbaden, Germany.

2001

• Solo Exhibition “In you face” Galerie Frank Hanël Wiesbaden, Germany.

2000

• Interactive exhibition curated by Stefan Blom, Seamus Wilson and Martin van Niekerk, Hanël Gallery Cape Town, South Africa.
• Solo Hanël Gallery Cape Town, South Africa.

1999

• “Play Black time”, AXIS Gallery, New York, USA.
• “Floor Show” Solo Exhibition Hanël  Gallery. Cape Town, South Africa.
• “Floor Show” Solo Exhibitition, Galerie Frank Hanël, Frankfurt, Germany.
• Joint exhibition, Lisa Brice, Andrew Putter, Beezy Bailey, Steve Cohen, Nigel Mullins, Roelof Louw, Rodney Place, Moshekwa Langa, A.R. Penck, Jorg Immendorff, Hanël Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa.
• “TONTELDOOS” Installation by Stefan Blom and Martin van Niekerk, Bang The Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa.
• “Interactive 1999” with compositions suggested by artist Stanley Hermans and Stefan Blom, Hanël Gallery Cape Town.
• Cape Town Art Festival, South Africa.
• “Phlebo” Art Frankfurt’ 99. Frankfurt Art Fair, Germany. This particular piece was also
exhibited at an aids/HIV awareness exhibition in Frankfort curated by a local Frankfurt Artist.

1998 

• “Nº__” Solo Exhibition Hanël Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa.

• Selected works from “Nº__” Solo Exhibition Galerie Frank Hanël, Frankfurt, Germany.

1997

• “Bird Dog” Solo Exhibition, Hanël Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa.
• Joint exhibition with, Lisa Brice, Andrew Putter, Tracy Payne, Peet Pienaar, Bridget Baker, Barend De Wet, Hanël Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa.

1996

• FNB Vita Awards, Johannesburg Art Gallery.
• BMW Sculpture Exhibition, Sandton, South Africa.
• 30 minute profile, SABC TV “Kunskafee”, Cape Town, South Africa.

1995 

• The District Six Exhibition, Cape Town, South Africa.
• South African National Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa.
• “A railway to self” Shawco Exhibition Cape Town, South Africa.
• “In Black” Solo Exhibition, Karen McKerron Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa.
• “On the light fantastic toe” Joint Exhibition with Stanley Hermans, Gallery De Lyon, Cape Town, South Africa.

Projects

2005 “It’s About TIME” an exhibition marking the passage of time on the Greater Cederberg landscape, with John Parkington, Gwen van Embden, Neil Rusch, Richard Mason and Sandra Prosalendis.

2004 – 2010 Living Landscape Project an initiative by John Parkington, Professor of Archaeology at Cape Town University, Cape Town, South Africa. The Living Landscape Project is a community-based initiative to create jobs by using the results of many years of archaeological research.


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