Sep 1, 2015 | link3462 |
Beeld, Friday 17 July 2015 New focus Kai Lossgott / photo: Niklas Zimmer by AJ Opperman, translated by staff Kai Lossgott, overall winner of the Barclays l'Atelier art award stands at the brink of a new kind of focus, a new awareness also as artist. He will actually soon be packing his bags for Paris, France. This forms part of his prize: a sixmonth long stay at the Cit Internationale des Arts in the French capital that includes a return ticket, R 150 000 cash and a solo exhibition in the Absa Gallery. He won the soughtafter art prize with the video installation Small and Common Matters. The video lasts three minutes and 13 seconds. Herein he contemplates the existential problem of the human inability to grasp concepts outside of human awareness. "Where we place ourselves or what position we inhabit in relation to what is larger and smaller (the problem of space or scale), what is older or younger (the problem of time), what is useful or useless (the problem of classification) is actually a problem of limited awareness," Lossgott explains. How his French stay will influence his current work is still uncertain. "Everything is new if you look at it with new eyes. I will now be able to immerse myself in a new way of being and thinking. I can't remember how old I was, but I have been there before. I have seen the Eiffel Tower and at school I did well in French. I expect to expand my art practice, and now have a predetermined time period to work in, in which my attention will not be distracted by familiar things. I have not been a student for a long time." In his work he examines personal and planetary health. "This planet is extremely vibrant. I have a tremendous interest in environmental issues and how art can contribute. I often think of the quote from Albert Einstein: "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as if nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is a miracle." His videos have been shown on local street corners and at international events in museums and galleries. He has tertiary qualification in dance theatre and documentary film (all cum laude), as well as an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Cape Town. He was born in Germany and was a year old when the family returned to Kensington, Johannesburg. His mother, Celia De Villiers, is a fine art lecturer and Afrikaansspeaking. He only speaks German to his father, Kurt Lossgott. "It is actually becoming increasingly difficult to define who you are and where you come from. I know I am not German, but what makes me South African? Here I am surrounded by things that inspire me. The distance will bring many surprises, but then there is the relief of being able to return to the place where I know I can make a difference." Images come to him. Often he does not work with a plan. "I work intuitively. Things just appear. I might find something on the street. Or an image will flash past my camera lens. I am constantly collecting photos and discarded things. Art is the process of selection and combination. We do it every day. You choose what resonates with you."
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