[Small] Poison


6 - 27 September 08
[Small] Poison is an exhibition of approximately 100 miniatures. 
Pretoria, South Africa. Director: Dr. Elfriede Dreyer, 


Press release:

poi•son /pzn/ noun, verb_ noun [C, U] 
1. a substance that causes death or harm if it is swallowed or absorbed into the body.
2. an idea, a feeling, etc. that is extremely harmful: the poison of racial hatred

[Small]Poison is an exhibition of approximately 100 miniatures by contemporary South African artist Christiaan Diedericks.

In his new body of work Diedericks employs a vast variety of media and techniques in order to convey multiple potentially poisonous messages. The title was specifically chosen as the artist continues to relentlessly investigate and expose many unjust situations and practices persisting in contemporary society. Many new techniques such as photographic linocuts, laser-engraving and archival pigment printmaking will be on display, but the artist’s skills in traditional drawing, printmaking, painting and mixed media will also be shown. The original idea for the exhibition derives from the fact that small works are often still overlooked by the media, art collectors and the public, while it is in fact often these tiny poisons which can upset the Status Quo and especially conservative minded individuals the most. British artist Lucian Freud’s tiny painting of the Queen of England is in my personal opinion one of his best works ever.

[Small]Poison addresses persistent issues such as gender/race biases, ongoing issues of masculinity and (homo)sexuality, Xenophobia, body politics, gender-bending, sex and the prudish view society still maintains regarding the body and sexuality in general. Also, the nude male body, illustrating the male erect penis without excuse, masturbation, labeling, framing and stereotyping are investigated mainly within a South African context.

Diedericks states that “in many ways I aim to ‘rewrite’ history in my work and the dominant sense of self-awareness that informs most Western art practices. I am trying to present contemporary issues of Difference as timeless, by situating my vocabulary of images and themes in an organic flux of dreams, history, news, commercial detritus, hyperreality, and unvoiced feelings and forces of biological nature/desire.

I am trying to reconcile two seemingly irreconcilable driving forces of postmodern consciousness – the desire for Otherness and the fear of losing autonomy. Herein lies the connection between my seemingly random imagery – homoeroticism, the male body under a microscope, borrowed images from contemporary culture, digital images and autobiographical imagery. I am always aiming to juggle these disparate images to make them correspond without collapsing into one particular style, mode of thought, emotion, or art-historical reference. Through the juxtaposition of self and nature I am attempting to create a new language of images appropriate to the psychological realities of our age”.

Chris Diedericks.
Cape Town
June 2008