Dorothee Kreutzfeldt

João Ferreira Gallery | Cape Town

The title of Dorothee Kreutzfeldt’s show The Virgins Are All Trimming Their Wicks is borrowed from a line in Johnny Cash’s song, The Man Comes Around. Comprising nine painted works, Kreutzfeldt says that the exhibition can be seen as a visual diary recording the “geographies of apocalypse and paradise” she experienced while travelling between Johannesburg and Kinshasha, during which time she says the Cash song kept returning to her.Presented in Kreutzfeldt’s idiosyncratic style, which mixes graffiti and sign writing techniques with fine art painting styles, the work evidences a contemporary aesthetic. Stylistically, her paintings evoke the visual overlay of those posters one sees plastered in successive layers under highway underpasses. Visually, though, the works are hard to access, partly because they are a mash-up of personal associations. Personally, I struggled to find direct references in Kreutzfeldt’s paintings to anything she sets up in her artist’s statement, and found the exhibition difficult and obscure. Perhaps this was intentional, and maybe the embodiment of her realisation that, “I knew nothing [about Africa]”. The contingency at play in this exhibition was further highlighted by Kreutzfeldt’s strategy of rotating the nine works on show, so that not all were ever on display at the same time. On the last day of the exhibition, for a period of 24 hours, Kreutzfeldt also presented a collaborative work, made with Simon Gush; titled There’s A Man Going Around Taking Names), this work too borrowed from a Cash song.
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