Join us on the First Thursday of April for the opening reception for two solo exhibitions as well as the final show at Kalshnikovv Smit St.
UVB-76 – Jason Bronkhorst
The title of Bronkhorst’s new body of work is named for the Russian shortwave radio frequency previously known as UVB-76 or under the pseudonym “The Buzzer”. The station broadcasts a short, monotonous buzz tone that is repeated 25 times a minute, 24 hours a day on average, at an uncomfortable pitch of 4625kHz.
The purpose of the station remains elusive but is habitually linked to the Russian military with a common hypothesis being that it serves as a “Dead Hand” system. This would mean that, should a nuclear threat be detected, the UVB-76 would automatically trigger a nuclear response that would ensure the annihilation of the source of the threat posed.
As a nation, we are perpetually bombarded by headlines reminding us of almost intangible sources of horror over which we have little to no control. It is not so much a helplessness that Bronkhorst expresses but rather an acknowledgment of constant anxiety induced by the pressure of issues out of our control. The impact of which is nonetheless similar to the paranoia of imminent cataclysm that stems from the UVB-76 station.
Zuma, North Korea, Gupta, Trump, Land grabs, Putin, op-eds, Syria, racists, Ramaphosa, fake news, recession, refugees, #feesmustfall, Junk Status etc…
As the artist himself states; “the incantations and intonations of the current news cycle in South Africa is not dissimilar” to the incessant buzz tones of UVB-76, etching itself into the subconscious of the nation at large.
Like the buzz-tones of the UVB-76 station, the headlines fade to a background hum yet maintain a level of angst inducing urgency.
The static that brumes the buzz tones is mimicked in this series, as the figures take form amongst and disappear into the unsettling atmosphere that emanates from Bronkhorst’s work.
Bronkhorst’s work displays an acute interpretation of the anthropological psyche of South Africans, excavating details from layers upon layers of thought and paint in order to expose the uncomfortable.