The collaborative duo, AD-Reflex, was formed in 2015 and consists of contemporary South African artists Johan Conradie and KarlGustav Sevenster. The work of AD-Reflex is about duality and unexpected juxtapositions of beauty and decay. Their art resists and transcends perceptions of traditional boundaries on every level.
“Our collective brainstorming is our real studio, as well as the actual author of our work” recalls AD-Reflex. “Our ideas go through many kinds of filters, many twists and turns, which consistently transform the creative process to arrive at unexpected results and juxtapositions”. Johan Conradie specialised in painting and obtained his MA(VA) from the University of Pretoria in 2005, while KarlGustav Sevenster is a computer specialist and self-taught digital artist. Through counterpointing painting and technology they combine complicated techniques and processes including photography, digital art techniques, painting and Swarovski crystals in the most unexpected manner. Deploying a sophisticated, poetic dialogue among these media and plumbing the depths of art history and other cultural canons, their visual narratives explore the values, vices and conflicts of contemporary culture in the global sphere.
Their work constantly morphs between abstraction and representation. In the more representational works by AD-Reflex the artists contemplate the allure and visual history of war and martyrdom, and reminds the viewer that perpetual violence (the barbaric love and violence of power) has become a ‘natural state’ in the 21st century. Their central figures often show the scars of rituals and faithful violence. The more abstract works celebrate the mimetic qualities of ‘paint’ as a medium (both in its traditional form and through digital painting), together with process-led abstraction. Through the experimental nature of their processes and the use of the oil medium with various binding mediums, their work borders on the ‘alchemical’. In these works, mythological landscapes, drips and digital elements appear, then melt away in an endless mimicry, where no clear distinction can be drawn between the painterly and the digital.