Wim Botha – Speculum


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The word ‘speculum’ refers to ‘a medical instrument for dilating the opening of a body cavity in order to examine the interior.’ Serving as a common thread between the many facets of the works, it implies a process of invasion, scrutiny, inspection and introspection. Botha’s installations – which incorporate sculptures, paintings and prints – reflect on the individual’s absorption into the encompassing hierarchical structures of statehood and society. By visually interfering with venerated forms of art, artefact and decoration, he offers comment on the distorted and ephemeral nature of grandeur and tradition. In several of his installations this subversion of symbolic imagery alludes to the slow but inevitable decay that edifices to authority and self-importance are bound to undergo.