Under Construction is an exhibition that takes shape in the form of experimental printmaking, sculpture, and installation. In this exhibition, Chrisél, a fairly new resident of the city of Johannesburg moves through the socially constructed spaces of the city. She investigates her relationship with the city as a young female artist.
With new development, and the decay of the old, the city is in a constant state of flux, its boundaries are forever mutating. Once bounded and shaped, this socially constructed space, in turn, also influences social relations. The city is socially produced and is socially reproducing.
Chrisél uses the medium of printmaking to create an archive of her exploration of the city. Her copper plates are transformed by the forces applied to them on construction sites – spaces that show the changing nature of the city. Almost as innocent bystanders, the plates capture the energy, memory and history of the city in a specific time and place.
The materiality of the work and the process of making is an important part of the exhibition. Traditionally, printmaking is a very controlled medium of image-making and reproduction. In her work, Chrisél allows for a more spontaneous and haphazard method of mark-marking which could never be perfectly reproduced. Further intervention into the copper and paper happens in some of the pieces as Chrisél transforms them to occupy three dimensional space.
Chrisél uses installation as the embodiment of the in-flux spaces of Johannesburg. The featured installation pieces include casted paper sculptures and altered materials found at the sites she frequents in her explorations. She embraces the masculine materiality and space associated with construction-sites and reforms them with her own female view, subtly referencing the gender politics of urban space.