Wim Botha is more like a mad scientist than a sculptor. He revives materials that were stale in their connotations, visually latent from overexposure, glanced over but rarely seen. He chops and hacks at them without regard for their previous purpose, yet still manages to honor the medium in his own way.
Wim Botha, Study for Head of an Outraged Youth I, 2011, Flooring tiles, decorative elements, 26 x 24 x 48 cm, Courtesy: private collection, Cape Town
Like Dr. Frankenstein, Botha ends up creating new life out of what others thought they new, exposing the potential of an entirely new kind of world. His art is his monster. Botha surgically adapts books from being houses of knowledge to being as instable and malleable as play dough. Nothing is stable in Botha's eyes.
Wim Botha, Untitled, 2011, Charcoal on paper, 100 x 70 cm (unframed), Courtesy: the artist and gallery Jette Rudolph
Botha's works are fundamentally expressive, they are to be experienced and not understood, yet all contain references which point in many directions. The mythical and grotesque are juxtaposed against the medieval, scientific and historical. Birth, death, and everything in between are jammed together, jagged edges exposed. There is no resolution, there is no tying of loose ends. The books never reach their ending.
Botha has shown at Jette Rudolph Gallery in Berlin. Check out more of his sculptures below.