Johannesburg Auction Week
Live Virtual Auction, 3 November 2022
Modern and Contemporary Art, Part I
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About this Item
Judith Mason explained this artwork to the current owners as Shiva creates and destroys, the left portion is a hand drawing a curtain on all the beautifully created elements. The right portion shows the destruction: wind, lightning and nuclear fall-out.
“Well you see like Hanuman, except that Hanuman always stays a monkey unless its an emergency, Shiva is a protean you know. It's got all sorts of implications … sometimes he is a destroyer and sometimes a creator and most of the time, sort of creator-destroyer. He sits on the top of the Himalayas in a lot of very bad Indian pictures, with his trident and his tatty hair and an animal coat, and he looks very much like the archetypal hippie. It's Shiva, the lord of the dance, that I have intended to do. The classic image of a ring of cosmic fire, and Shiva standing on ignorance. [kyk fig.35] He's a non-European symbol of the ambiguity of existence really, and also has a great weight of physical beauty attached. The refinement of those sculptures I just love. The precision and elegance and the way the body dances It's not just a suffering image, it's a rejoicing image as well. Philosophically I like that very much. It's one of the things that I find the whole of India tends to give one. And one thing that I am trying to make more specific in other paintings like that "Mughal Bird" in this capacity for the surface, for the enjoyment, for the decoration, for even kitsch elements. I found when I was teaching art history, I got terribly tired of certain austere stuff heading towards minimal work, like you peeled away like a western saint, all your vices and all your self-indulgence. Where as Oriental art and Oriental philosophies seem to say: "You are meat, and you are hunger and you are laughter and you are love and let's get it all into the same image''. And it's a much more exuberant thing. I'm not saying it's better or worse. It embraces the ordinary, simple, gross person as well as the refined person. Shiva, especially when he is dancing, seems to have a capacity to define chaos and control chaos and enjoy the chaos too … Seems very rich symbol at the moment.” - Judith Mason in Landman, Adolph Adriaan. 1987. Die simbole in die werk van Judith Mason-Attwood
In 'n ander tekening, "Shiva Dancing" (cl982), gebruik Mason-Attwood die hande van die dansende god wat vrylik rond beweeg, met verskillende objekte in die hande van die god. Die vergrootglas, simbool van die wetenskap wat probeer om lewe op aarde te verklaar, word gekontrasteer met die valkagtige poot wat skedels vashou. Aan die eenkant vernietig die wetenskap deur die ontwikkeling van atoombomme en gifstowwe (die regterkant van ons skildery), terwyl dit aan die anderkant mense se lewens vergemaklik deur die skep van medisyne en bekamping van siektes (die linkerkant, agter die gordyn, met die materiaal vir navorsing en gesondheid). Dit is veral hierdie dualiteit wat Mason-Attwood in die kosmiese dans van Shiva uitbeeld. Die paradoks wat in een beeld opgesluit lê, was van vroeg reeds in haar werk teenwoordig. Dit is waarom Shiva so ‘n ryk simbool vir haar is. - Landman, Adolph Adriaan. 1987. Die simbole in die werk van Judith Mason-Attwood. M.A. Dissertation: University of Pretoria
Gowlett Gallery, Cape Town, Judith Mason Attwood: An Exhibition of Paintings, Drawings and Tapestries Woven by Marguerite Stephens, 11 July to 24 July 1982.