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Stefan Blom was born in Kimberly in 1963. In 1966, the family moved to Johannesburg. They settled in Kempton Park, where Blom completed his schooling. In 1982, Blom was drafted into the South African Defence Force as infantry soldier and part of a reaction group in the Angolan War. He remained there until 1984. Thereafter, began his career in the advertising industry. Blom's interest in and exposure to the possibilities for self-expression in art, particularly painting and sculpture, pervaded. During 1989, he relocated to Cape Town, where he began developing a fresh body of work as a full-time fine artist. Post this move, Blom took part in seventeen exhibitions of which seven were solo exhibitions in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Germany and New York. 1988-1989.Joint exhibition with Daniel Blom.- Private venue home of Daniel Vogus, Gauteng. *December 1995 - February 1996. District Six. The District Six Exhibition, is a `living`monument to the forced removals endemic of the apartheid era. The works displayed deal with discrimination and forced removals in the area of District Six in Cape Town. COMMISSIONED WORK BY THE DISTRICT SIX MUSEUM, ALSO EXHIBITED AT THE SOUTH AFRICAN NATIONAL GALLERY IN CAPE TOWN. *SHAWCO EXHIBITION - PRECIPITATION- a gathering of new South African artists July 1995.Cape Town *FIRST SOLO EXHIBITION KAREN MC KERRON GALLERY Johannesburg, July 1995. Works were nominated for the FNB VITA ART NOW AWARDS in 1996. This exhibition was held at the Johannesburg Art Gallery. This lead to a 30 minute profile on a local television art program " Kunskafee ". *JOINTLY EXHIBITED WITH STANLEY HERMANS Cape Town, December 1995 Gallery De Lyon. *BMW SCULPTURE EXHIBITION JOHANNESBURG APRIL 1996. *SECOND SOLO EXHIBITION Karen Mc Kerron Gallery Johannesburg, August 1997. Works to be carried over to a joint exhibition with, Lisa Brice, Andrew Putter, Tracy Payne, Peet Pienaar, Bridget Baker, Barend De Wet at the Hanel Gallery in Cape Town, December 1997. *THIRD SOLO EXHIBITION Hanel Gallery, Cape Town and Frankfurt, 1998. *Interactive 1999. Guest were invited to play and interact with compositions suggested by the artists, Stefan Blom and Stanley Hermans. Surfaces and materials were made available to anyone who wished to participate. All works were completed on the evening of the opening. HANEL GALLERY CAPE TOWN, AUGUST 1999 *JOINT EXHIBITION AUGUST 1999 AXIS GALLERY, NEW YORK. *ART FRANKFURT `99 ART FAIR. One of Blom's work which was untitled was nominated as one of ten works among countless works of international artist to be viewed and discussed at this exhibition. This particular piece was exhibited at an aids/HIV awareness exhibition in Frankfort curated by a local Frankfurt Artist. *SOLO EXHIBITION December 1999 Hänel Gallery, Cape Town Works to be carried over to a joint exhibition with, Lisa Brice, Andrew Putter, Beezy Bailey, Steve Cohen, Nigel Mullins, Roelof Louw, Rodney Place, Moshekwa Langa, A.R. Penck and Jorg Immendorff at the Hanel Gallery in Cape Town, FEBRUARY 2000. *BLAZE! Joint exhibition, Bang The Gallery Cape Town INSTALLATION with artist and photographer Martin van Niekerk. *Interactive exhibition by Stefan Blom (curator), Seamus Wilson and Martin van Niekerk in celebration of extraordinary art by ordinary people Interactive exhibitions tend to be dry - physically and intellectually. They are usually an electronic experience, short on tactile pleasures - and clean. Yet for most of us, the primary creative experience is messy, accidental, fun and very physical. We placed twelve canvasses in the gallery. Placed paint in pots in front of each, with some brushes. We 'broke' the stark canvases, with a few bold lines. We put out clay, two statues, finger-paints, glass, equipment for the audience to utilize in this experience. The opening was a kid's party for the whole family. Your guests create their own exhibition! In September Hanel Gallery hosted just such an exhibition, Get Wet. The Inter Active Inter Schmactive in 1999, proved that concept works and hence the second show. The exhibition ran for two weeks with most visitors wishing they'd been part of the opening. Get Wet extended for three weeks to include The Cape Town Art Festival on the 22 September when a second party was held. Additional media to 'play with' included video and photography, with objects for decoration, including a set-piece of a naked pair of legs on a chair.- The spring interactive guests created one of the 200 cow celebrations of the C3 CAPE COW CARNIVAL. Our Moo, settled on her ample, life-size self, a lying cow, like one of those sacred, bovine goddesses photographed beneath a shading tree in a city in India, around whom the traffic swerve and pedestrians tread with reverence, will be the canvas. Come and work together to dress her for the Carnival. The Cow Parade originated in Switzerland, attracting a stampede of tourists to Zurich and generating a turnover in the region of US$ 100 million. Chicago, New York and Kansas City followed in its tracks and were overwhelmed at the response. For each festival, artists are sponsored individually by companies who choose concepts that attract them. Each artist dresses a cow who then joins her entire, majestic herd of 200 to be exhibited throughout the city through the summer season. Our cow was sponsored by Claire Bourquin Recruitment Consultants and Corporate Gifts with a Conscience. Their generosity makes our interactive party possible. Most of the other cows have been designed already so that companies can have some idea of what it is they'll be sharing with their brand! We've chosen a different route. Frankly it felt a little cheeky, painting and decorating a cow. It requires engagement, after all, to express yourself upon a cow. They're probably our closest neighbours, time travelling through the changing geographies of human history with us upright, walking carnivores. They live on their fields, actually our fields, but anyway - they live on their fields all around our cities, cow cities next to our cities. We eat them, huge amounts of them. And wear their skin on our feet and our hands and make bags out of them and what have you else. Some of us trade them as currency. For some they represent our status. Some of us, many of us, maybe most of us - wouldn't that be nice - refuse, of course, to eat them. Whole half-continents revere them as sacred. Like us, they're social animals. We control their breeding more successfully than we do our own. So, we thought to invite a group of people round. Give them the materials, give them the expression, let a herd of humans express one facet of our relationship to cows, our shared mode of group living. And, within those groups, the poetic contradictions of it all - your meat is my goddess, your status is my shoe, through you I eat the grass, great mother. Thankfully, we won't be doing any of the theory, it'll just be the joyful, careless, parallel universe of being back at play-school, lost in paint and glue and glitter and a stack of what-have-you that we'll be providing. And a part in the C3 CAPE COW CARNIVAL, *SOLO EXHIBITION February 2001 Hanel Gallery, Cape Town Galerie Frank Hänel Wiesbaden, Germany. *SOLO EXHIBITION 2003 "Dressed for Love" THE HANEL GALLERY Cape Town GALERIE FRANK HANEL Wiesbaden Germany *Pasella SABC TV Commissioned work. *'Glimpsing hope, marching for peace' an exhibition to commemorate the peaceful march in CT against the apartheid government which is now a permanent display in the crypt at St George's cathederal and it opened on the 20th of September 2010 has a piece of Stefan's work - a steel structure of wire like mesh over a single candle. He was asked by the Cathedral to make this piece for perpetuity. *Blom was instrumental in recreating the Living Landscape Project an initiative by John Parkington. John Parkington, then Professor of Archaeology at UCT and The Krakadouw Trust an established nonprofit making organization (Trust number 1739/2001) that has gained experience developing community training programmes, creating sustainable small businesses and building links with other organizations. Its finances are professionally audited, its objectives endorsed by the Cederberg Municipality and its logistics supported by the University of Cape Town. The development of the Living Landscape Project is undertaken by the Krakadouw Trust under the leadership of Professor John Parkington. Trustees are Val West, Crain Soudien, Jacob Klaase and John Parkington. The Patron of the Living Landscape Project is Professor Njabulo Ndebele, vice chancellor of the University of Cape Town. Apart from being the Project Manager, Stefan also conceiving and imagined the exhibition "It's About TIME". This exhibition marks the passage of time on the Greater Cederberg landscape, together with John Parkington, Gwen van Embden, Neil Rusch, Richard Mason and Sandra Prosalendis.
THE FOLLOWING IS A CRITICAL RESPONSE TO THE WORK OF STEFAN BLOM BY ARTIST STANLEY HERMANS
STEFAN BLOM OUEVRE IS NOT VERY EASY TO IMBIBE, LET ALONE REVIEW. IT IS NEITHER REASSURING NOR PARTICULARLY COMFORTING. THERE IS NO SOLACE HERE. THERE IS NOT A WHOLE LOT OF PRETTINESS, ALTHOUGH THERE IS CONSIDERABLE BEAUTY OF EXPRESSION IN HIS FORTHRIGHT AND UNCOMPROMISING CLARITY OF VISION .
BLOM MAKES A POINT OF NOT TELLING OR SHOWING HIS AUDIENCE WHAT HE KNOWS THEY DID REALLY LIKE TO HEAR. HE THWARTS THE SEARCH FOR ANSWERS AND PROMISES NO SOLUTIONS OR PANACEAS.IN DECLINING ALWAYS TO TITLE WORKS HE TAKES NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR HOW THE WORK OUGHT TO BE UNDERSTOOD, SUGGESTING INSTEAD THAT THE VIEWER WHO CHOOSES TO ENGAGE IS FULLY RESPONSIBLE FOR OWN RESPONSES.THIS DOES MUCH TO ENCOURAGE THE VIEWER TO HEALTHY SELF-ASSERTION.
HUMANITY STRIPPED BARE IS NOT NECESSARILY HUMANITY DENIED,AND HUMANITY IN BONDAGE IS NOT NECESSARILY ABOUT TOO LITTLE FREEDOM. IT IS POSSIBLE THAT HIS JOURNEY THROUGH HIS DISTORTIVE RE-INVENTIONS OF THE HUMAN FORM CONSTITUTES A SEARCH WITHOUT REASON, POINT, BEGINNING OR END, CULMINATING ALWAYS IN FURTHER SEARCHING, WITHIN, WITHOUT AND BETWEEN ARTIST AND VIEWER, PUBLIC SELF AND PRIVATE SELF, SELF AND OTHER.
IT IS MY FEELING THAT RATHER THAN SEEK A CONFIDENCE WITH THE VIEWER BLOM WOULD
PREFER THAT THE VIEWER CONSTRUCTS A CONFIDENCE
WITH OWN SELF. WE ARE EXORTED TO CLAIM OUR OWN ISSUES AS OUR OWN, AS HE CLAIMS HIS
AS HIS OWN. THERE IS A KINDNESS AND GENEROSITY OF SPIRIT IN THIS THAT WILL GO OVER THE
HEADS OF INVULNERABLE VIEWERS. THEIR LOSS.
IT IS CERTAINLY BRAVE AND COURAGEOUS WORK, SINCE IT REFLECTS UPON THE PERSONAL CONSEQUENCES OF A TIME THAT MANY IN THIS COUNTRY, AND THE WORLD, WOULD MUCH RATHER FORGET. WILL THE ARTIST HIMSELF EVER FORGET? ONLY FUTURE WORKS WILL TELL. WILL THE ARTIST EVER HEAL? BLOM SUGGESTS THAT THIS MAY NOT BE OUR PROBLEM OR OUR CONCERN, ALTHOUGH WE ARE INVITED TO OBSERVE HIS JOURNEY AS WE ARE ENCOURAGED TO EXPLORE
OUR OWN DIFFERENT WAYS OF FORGETTING, FORGIVING AND HEALING, FOR AND BY OURSELVES.
THIS WORK DOES NOT COME INTO ITS OWN IN THE CONTEXT IN WHICH IT WAS PRODUCED. IT IS SIMPLY TOO FAR AHEAD OF ITS TIME. IT DOES THOUGH FIND A MORE FRIENDLY AND SUPPORTIVE CONTEXT IN THE DISCOURSES OF CONTEMPORARY CONCEPTUAL ART THAT ANIMATE THE WORLD MARKET. HERE BLOM DEALS WITH UNIVERSAL ISSUES CENTRAL TO OUR EVER DYNAMIC, EVER EVOLVING AND NEVER STATIC EXPLORATION OF THE HUMAN CONDITION SUCH AS WE LIVE, CELEBRATE OR SUFFER IT IN OUR LIVES AND TIMES.
FINALLY, THERE IS GREAT INSPIRATION TO BE FOUND IN THE WORK OF AN ARTIST WHO TAKES THE FULLEST POSSIBLE RESPONSIBLITY FOR HIMSELF AND THE EVENTS THAT HAVE FORMED HIS LIFE, IN A COUNTRY WHERE CULPIBILITY IS DENIED BEFORE IT IS DEALT WITH.