Substance of Shadows — Paul Emmanuel at UJ Art Gallery and UJ’s Moving Cube

Saturday Sep 11 - Saturday Oct 2       University of Johannesburg Kingsway Campus, Auckland Park
Paul Emmanuel has long been fascinated by the shadows left after the atomic blasts on Hiroshima and Nagasaki that ended World War II. Drawing inspiration from the Human Shadow Etched in Stone at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, in Substance of Shadows the artist explores the imagery of these terrible human shadows and relates them to our own challenges of looking back into history and relating it to the present.

Although some works are two-dimensional paper items (often translucent carbon copy paper), he gives them a three-dimensional quality, by having them crumpled or torn and sometimes hanging freely in the gallery-like ghosts. Looking back at his own contemplations of mortality and posterity, Emmanuel takes inspiration from his own ancestry. Among the many, very personal pieces is an image of his father's inanimate body, incised onto carbon paper viewers so that viewers can literally see through it and glimpse the present through a ‘relic’ from the past. His mother's wedding veil is also explored, gently scratched onto carbon paper. 

Emmanuel says of the exhibition; "The only thing we can be certain of is change. We try to hold onto memories in the hope of maintaining some coherence and continuity, but our memories are largely inventions, and they too change over time. We commemorate our invented pasts in an attempt to fix them in the present... these carbon 'shadows' are all metaphors for carbon copies and products of one of life's greatest narratives – the carbon cycle. Carbon is an element in nature".  

The UJ Gallery is open 09:00–15:30. Closed Sat, Sun and public holidays. Admission free.



Sep 11 2021 - Oct 2 2021
UJ Art Gallery
University of Johannesburg Kingsway Campus, Auckland Park
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Price/Additional Info

Admission free


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