WHATIFTHEWORLD is one of my favourite galleries in Cape Town. The current exhibition, Julia Rosa Clark’s BOOTY, presents a collection of collage works. Other than Clarke’s previous work, which often consisted of elaborate site-specific collage installations, the new works are ‘contained’ as framed wall pieces. Despite the restrictive bounds of frames, the series continues Clarke’s distinctive pop-cultural appropriation and layering of found illustrations, photographs, paper, glitter and her own drawings.
Bielle Ross writes in a review of the show that Clark’s ensembles “explore the realms of colonial appropriation, history, memory and representation. At the same time however, Clark manages to steer an idiosyncratic path, exhibiting her own agency and position when encountering these broad themes, using chance and contingency to unsettle such notions.”
I would love to spend a day in the artist’s studio. Judging by the detail in her work, her collection of pop culture paraphernalia must be entertaining to rummage through. Clarke’s exhibitions are always accompanied by a playlist or reverences to specific songs and musicians. The way she arranges images is reminiscent of a way a DJ composes a playlist – selecting specific artistic styles to create particular moods. I left the gallery with a strong need to confine myself to a cozy studio space with a selection of craft tools, boxes of two-dimensional material and a killer sound system. Hell yes.