SOL sat down with talented visual artist Io Makandal in her Johannesburg studio to talk about what inspires her, the future role of the Artist, her last exhibition at Kalashikovv Gallery and Louise Bourgeois’ Spider Sculpture.
Io will be presenting a collaborative exhibition with Lucy Jane Turpin at Kalashnikovv Gallery in Johannesburg.
For more information about her exhibition at Kalashnikovv Gallery you can visit the website hete
Did you always know you would end up in the world of Art?
Yes, I think so. I always knew I wanted to be in a creative industry in some capacity – and making art was the sincerest form of creativity and communication for me, and so I pursued it.
One of your earliest memories that hugely impacted you and pushed you to your vocation?
That’s a hard question to answer relating it to a singular memory, however I think what had the most impact on me was the fact that my parents always allowed me to explore and play with making things and their own creativity motivated me – I recall the act of making things as a child being a thrilling one. Drawing on the walls of my bedroom, breaking glasses, building forts, painting my body – it was all a way in which I discovered and created the world around me.
As an Artist aesthetics plays a vital role- what does it mean to you on both a professional and personal level?
Aesthetics pervade everything.
Your series of Tactile Drawings are very intriguing- tell us more about this collection.
The tactile drawings are a vital part of my making process, each constellation develops upon the previous installation as an on-going investigation into ecologies of matter, abstraction and drawing. Also with that, I take seriously the role and agency of detritus, mass produced commodity objects and organic matter within the context of creating artificial environments.
What inspires you on a daily basis and where do you go to find it?
Urban ecologies: the cityscape and plantscape, the intersections between artifice and nature and the politics of things and spaces. And so, I find those moments, spaces and things within my daily life living in Johannesburg and urban habitats in general.
What have been some of your professional highlights so far?
Enrolling at Wits to embark on doing a masters (finally), being selected by Walker Scott Art Advisory as one of ten artists to invest in among a few artists I admire myself, and winning a fantastic trip to Milan Design Week for one of my tactile drawing installations.
What do you make of the local Art Scene in South Africa?
I make it. Hahaha no, well… that’s a hard question to answer. I think South Africa has some of the most incredible talents and creative minds; I’d like to see our art scene less market driven by the powers that be and more focused on interrogating and reflecting the conditions of life as a human being in this moment – we need to have another biennale instead of more art fairs… wishful thinking!
What do you think is the future role of the Artist?
Ever more vitally human as we move into the 4th industrial revolution with AI technology.
Given the current social and political global environment your solo exhibition ‘Entropy into a Third Landscape’ is quite apt- can you take us through this exhibition and the philosophy behind it.
Entropy and the idea of a third landscapes ( otherwise understood as in between spaces, waste lands, the edge, that moment between, buffer zone etc.) are lenses and themes I am still exploring and wrapping my head around. It is interesting that you associate that show with a social and political climate. For me at that time of making that body of work, I was exploring (and still am) this idea of entropy and how certain matter beckons attention, in an object orientated ontological sense.
Where can one creep on your work?
You have had a show space in NYC- what was that experience like and did it impact your visuals?
New York was incredible; a beasty city and space to work from as an artist. My experience of it was a version of Johannesburg on steroids. It shifted my practice into a more serious investigation into urban ecologies and informed me to pursue a masters.
Do you believe in Artistic collaboration and if so are there any Artists/Designers you would like to work with?
Absolutely. I’ve often worked collaboratively. In fact at this very moment I am having a solo show with another artist I admire (Lucy Jane Turpin). We decided to do a duo show with our works in conversation to each other through drawing as a pivotal lens to look through. I also work with a dear friend and artist Samantha McCulloch on collaborative projects. Otherwise, I am open to and dream of working with creatives such as Waif and Anmari Honiball, and recently I’ve been imagining activating one of my installations with a sound-scape done by the band Zoo Lake. Some may manifest… let’s see.
Any new projects on the horizon you would like to mention?
I have a exhibition opening on the 1st November at Kalashnikov Gallery in Johannesburg, as well as participating in a few group shows in the coming months.
Finally if you could be summed up in an artworks- yours or someone else’s-which would it be and why?
Louise Bourgeois’s Spider sculpture for all things fierce feminine, wild womanly – I’ve always been a feral child and that work, for me, resonates on that core level of what it means to embrace one’s nature.