When we visited, in August last year, the exhibition 'Artists Engaged? Maybe’ at Gulbenkian, there were two installations that have marked us deeply: ‘Theory’ by Eduardo Basualdo, about whom we already wrote, and 'Solipsis VII’ by South African Wim Botha. The sculptural installation, produced with polystyrene, wood and fluorescent lights, portrayed impressively the flight and elegance of birds, a mixture of light, wings and paused movement, creating an unforgettable ethereal atmosphere. The 'Solipsis' series, which refers to the philosophical idea of Solipsism - in which one's own mind is the only thing sure to exist - takes this notion further, assuming an immaterial nature, almost like a dream, something that can only exist in the imagination.
In addition to 'Solipsis', the work of Wim Botha, born in 1974 in Pretoria, is impressive by disconcerting drama. The busts 'Bywoner' and 'Witness', inserted in the installation 'The study for the Epic Mundane', commissioned for the South African pavilion at the 2013 Venice Biennale, are built with bolted books and show Botha’s passion for traditional materials like paper, as well as showing sculpted figures that may be either warring or loving, dancing or fighting. Simply brilliant!