Confini Velati is Jake Aikman’s first solo exhibition in Italy, following a residency in Trevignano Romano, Italy, facilitated by the Centro Luigi Di Sarro. In 2009 Aikman participated in an official collateral exhibition to the 53rd Venice Biennale titled L’Anima del Acqua: The Spirit of Water, presented by the Italian government at the prestigious Palazzo Ca’ d’Oro. Since then Aikman has presented three solo exhibitions and participated in numerous group and curated exhibitions both locally and internationally. His last exhibition, titled At the Quiet Limit, at SMAC Art Gallery received widespread critical acclaim and has cemented his reputation as one of South Africa’s top contemporary painters.

Confini Velati or ‘Veiled Boundaries’ continues where At the Quiet Limit left off. Aikman delves deeper into basic existential questions posed by an explorative journey into the unfamiliar and focuses more specifically on the impenetrable physical boundaries, as well as the foreboding psychological apprehension which surrounds a confrontation with the unknown. This theme is ever-present in Aikman’s work and is compared to similar quests portrayed in iconic cinematic classics such as Aguirre, The Wrath of God (1972) by Werner Herzog and Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now (1979). Aikman also acknowledges the influence of contemporary artists such as Gerard Richter and Peter Doig and significantly, one of Aikman’s first formative paintings was titled Canoe Sea (Doig vs Richter) (2008), highlighting an early interest in merging conceptual ideas with atmospheric and sensory images that seduce and challenge the viewer.

The imagery in Aikman’s paintings stems from personal journeys to remote locales including Nicaragua, Indonesia and various trips around Southern Africa. The current body of work features a large ominous painting titled, The Island (2014), where a relatively harmless outcropping of land is surrounded by a tangible aura of Hitchcockian suspense and the anxiety of the viewer is projected onto the work whilst the artist reveals as little as possible.This element of artistic restraint is typical of Aikman’s land and seascapes, which evoke mystery and uncertainty, despite their tranquil and serene ‘veil’. The total absence or subtle hints of human presence is intentional and troubles the viewer as both the physical landscape of thick impermeable bush and forests and the elusiveness of a distant light or faint glimmer from a tent, taunt us to believe that there is someone or something out there, but they are unreachable. In this sense Aikman is clearly expanding his metaphor to everyday life and the human condition.

“This enigmatic new body of work is both silently overwhelming and alarming in its quiescence. Here the daunting elements of nature seem to remind us of a larger world around us and our fear and concerns of an absolute separation from ourselves, as we hunger to understand, desire to feel safe and connect as part of a greater whole surrounding us, these paintings serve to beautifully address our deepest existential concepts of isolation.” Julia Teale, 2014

Jake Aikman was born in London in 1978 and graduated with a Masters of Fine Art from the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town in 2008. In 2009 he was selected to participate in the major exhibition; L’Anima Del Acqua: The Spirit of Water, sponsored by the Italian government and presented at the Ca’ d’Oro Palace as part of the 53rd Venice Biennale. He was also an invited artist to the 4th Beijing International Art Biennale in 2010. SMAC Art Gallery hosted his first major solo exhibition titled Echoes in 2009, and in 2011 Aikman presented Proximity at the gallery. In 2012 Aikman participated in the Olympic Fine Arts Exhibition, Creative Cities Collection, held at the Barbican Centre in London. He recently completed his third successful solo exhibition with SMAC Art Gallery. The much anticipated and critically acclaimed exhibition entitled At the Quiet Limit was presented in Stellenbosch in 2013 with the publication of an accompanying catalogue.

Centro Luigi Di Sarro

Via Paolo Emilio, 28 Rome 00192 Italy
Ph. +39 063243513

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