At the Maitland Institute, Nicholas Hlobo presents an immersive installation titled Umthamo.
In this exhibition Hlobo elevates his investigation of the materiality of copper through a playful engagement with space. Pipes are planted in wood and arranged in dense, permeating masses.
Hlobo states: ‘With these materials I’m trying to find a stepping stone that might lead me on to something else – a newer challenge.’
The title references feeding, and Hlobo alludes expansively to the experience of nourishment. The tangled, ecstatic shapes are a reflection of the movement of grasses in the wind, the force of blood through the capillaries, the stimulation of cells for sustenance.
Hlobo continues: ‘The exhibition space has volume in itself and these objects also have volume – it’s about volume within volumes.’
With its robust occupation of space, and sensitivity to the convolutions of process and movement, Hlobo’s Umthamo expresses a relish of the interchange between the macro and micro environments, and the interrelatedness of the self with one’s surroundings.