Diane Victor :: Artist Statement

Folly, Frailty and Fear, has its roots in the postponed exhibition of 2020, In Praise of Folly, where I explored notions of folly, irrationality and stupidity. The driving force initially was texts by Desiderius Erasmus (In Praise of Folly, 1511)[1], and Sebastian Brant (Das Narrenschif f, translated as Ship of Fools, 1498) [2]. I was intrigued by Erasmus’ approach to satire and the way he used satirical writings to critique the powers of the time, especially since my work has always been strongly underpinned by humor.

Different bodies of work started to materialize over the extended lockdown period as I experimented with different materials and surfaces, such as drawing on blackboards and sandstones. I was interested in blackboards reflecting on the fact that, although the lessons are out there we never seem to learn as a society, a culture or as individuals – the miscalculations continue.

Developing new media also comes from a sense of play. Much of my drawing is, despite the fact that I deal with contentious subject matter, often quite playful. You need lightness in the way you interact with your drawing. I do a lot of drawing on the floor – the same as when I was a child.

I am interested in the technical component, the ambiguity that the technical interaction brings to the work. It is not about illustrating an argument, but the process and the medium that bring in other unexpected readings.

During lockdown I explored a more experimental body of work. As the show became finalized for this year, I went back to the original body of work. So then, along came different departures, all linked together by use of satire in many of the works as a way to reflect and mirror ourselves, myself and the society we live in, the global folly that affects our world.

Frailty and fear are part of our existence – frailty, the vulnerability that has affected me physically in my own body and the frailty of society, when we realise how vulnerable we are and how easily one viral infection quite literally froze the world.

Fear has become a global phenomenon transcending class and wealth. Previously I explored issues around the anxiety generated in our society, but this disquiet has now become a way to negotiate the world around us.

The show attempts to reflect on my own folly, perhaps, on the folly of those around us (without pointing a finger at individuals). I do not intend the work to seep into the realm of social cartooning.

This body of work reflects simultaneously on the vulnerable and the powerful – and the stupidity in our everyday existence that affects us all and that we ourselves enact.

It hopes to reflect on society in a slightly lighter way - this society where we seem not to learn from our mistakes.

[1] Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536) , Encomium Moriae, translated as In Praise of Folly (published 1511)

[2] Sebastian Brant (1458-1521) wrote Das Narrenschiff in 1498, translated as Ship of Fools,