Articles + Reviews


IN TRANSIT | exhibition catalogue 2014

The notion of being in transition, either metaphorically or in reality, is perhaps one of the most pertinent characteristics of our time. More people are on the move than ever before: travellers, migrants and refugees. Information and data are also mobilised through multiple vectors while economic markets are in a state of flux and employment is increasingly precarious. The more we desire to travel, the higher the surveillance, border security and Internet censorship. For most of us, a transition begins with imagination, hope, desire and dream. For some, it is a flee from persecution. Such journeys are punctuated by expectations and visualisations, euphoria and tragedy.

At a time when the image is ubiquitous – captured through multiple devices and distributed through numerous platforms – it is prescient that Anita Modok presents us with elusive, evanescent and fragmented pictures. Rather than recording the urban environment in focus, these large works reveal the flux of transit. The images are taken from moving vehicles and they hover on the edge of abstraction and realism. Highways at dawn and dusk, the flicker of a flag and the dance of the brightly coloured lights are presented in ways that resist our temptation to focus and identify, capture and categorise. Place is not represented, but rather imbued. The everyday urbanism is not a matter of fact, but of reverberation. They hold within their blurred dimensions a sense of longing. They invite us to slow down, and consider the light on the horizon, the intensity of electronic illumination and the colour of night.

In the presence of these works, we may recall the road movies of our youth, the classic ‘car’ shots of American photography, or the distorted imagery in surrealist photography. As a group of still images, they suggest a filmic sequence over time and yet they are not sequential. These works are replete with the emotive presence and spatial abstraction of being in transition.

Victoria Lynn
Director, TarraWarra Museum of Art