The retrospective of Albert Adams’ oeuvre spanned more than fifty years and highlighted his contribution as an exceptional artist and humanist. His remarkable, monumental triptychs, South Africa 1959, dubbed his “Guernica”, along with South Africa 1958-59 (Deposition), which features a crucified black Christ, was central to this exhibition. His self-portraits, a recurring theme in his work, displayed an agitated urgency and multi-levelled self-reflection.
More often than not Adams worked in series, through which he explored the human condition and the fear, power and control that we inflict upon one another. His challenging and psychological critique of the evil perpetrated in the world was projected through his Ape series from 1969 onwards, while in the Prisoner and Celebration series we experience his unbridled approach to the trauma of disillusionment and marginalisation.
Adams was a modernist and expressionist, but spiritually and politically he was contemporary. He remains an important voice in South Africa, while being relevant for all humanity – across borders and beyond his lifetime.
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