Absa Art Hot Spot
Empowering African fine arts
Ian Grose was born in Johannesburg in 1985 and lives in Cape Town, South Africa. He completed a post-graduate diploma in painting at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town, in 2010, and in 2011 received the Tollman Award for Visual Arts and the Absa L'Atelier award. He spent six months in residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris and works produced during this residency were exhibited at the Absa Art Gallery in Johannesburg in 2013. In 2019, Grose completed a three-month residency at SP ACED OU T, an institute located on an organic farm north-east of Berlin, aiming to help artists enter into dialogue with contemporary art far removed from the urban rush.
Grose held his first solo exhibition with Stevenson in Cape Town in 2013. He has participated in group shows including Gold at Yutaka Kikutake Gallery (2018); Exchange at Galerie Hans Meyer, Düsseldorf (2016); Home Truths: Domestic Interiors from South African Collections at the Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town (2016); I Love You Sugar Kane at the Institute of Contemporary Art Indian Ocean in Mauritius (2016) and Thinking, Feeling, Head, Heart at The New Church Museum, Cape Town (2014).
Two catalogues of Grose's work have been published by Stevenson, Some Assumptions in 2014 and Small Paintings in 2015.
The paradoxical nature of freedom, where one person’s freedom is not another’s freedom is the theme of the work. Being a grapheme synaesthete, associating letters of the alphabet with colour, Ilka van Schalkwyk encodes the work with synaesthesia: the coloured images are placed in a particular sequence spelling out ‘Throwing Stones’. The accompanying speeches relate to each other in pairs, but also upon further examination reference the counterpart coloured image. The work is inspired by counterculture, artists from the 1960s and 1970s, particularly musicians. Although rock music represents the anti-establishment and the leaders of freedom the establishment, they share a commonality in their belief in fighting for freedom. Politics and history are also referenced as well as the circular structure of human nature, causing the work to relate to our time as well as historic time. The title of the exhibition ‘Throwing Stones’ is a pun not only on the saying that people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, but also on the Rolling Stones.