PORKY HEFER: HEART OF LIGHTNESS
17 January - 23 February 2017
82 Franklin Street
R & Company presents Porky Hefer’s solo exhibition, Heart of Lightness opening at the gallery on January 17th. This is Porky’s first solo show at the gallery and a presentation of all new work. An opening reception will be held on January 17th from 6-8pm in which the artist will be present.
The title of the exhibition tackles the troubling connotations and perceptions addressed by Joseph Conrad’s classic, Heart of Darkness. Porky Hefer, who is from and lives in Cape Town, South Africa, is perturbed by the way colonialism perpetuated stereotypes that still exist today, which further preserve the overly broad classifications of Africa. This inspired Hefer to tackle the damaging role of largely unquestioned behaviors and perceptions. The exhibition is an exploration of perception and instinct, encouraging the viewer to go back to what is human, what is natural and what is playful.
All the pieces in the exhibition are handmade and draw from traditional South African craft materials and processes. Hefer conceptualizes his work instinctively rather than adhering to a set of learned design practices. His belief that humanity has become severely removed from its natural instincts and passive to what motivates it on a survival level, prompts him to invite his audience to engage with the exhibition instinctively. Porky Hefer states, “Each piece is meant to be inhabited like a hermit inhabits shells.” He encourages visitors to curl their bodies into the playful, human-scaled shells and nests, or to drape themselves languidly over the leopard’s branch.
By presenting his show, entirely crafted by hand in South Africa, in a New York gallery context, Hefer embraces a strong entrepreneurial spirit and makes a bold statement about eschewing what he terms ‘the mothership’ global economy and expectations for export. Using levity as his platform, Hefer challenges us to recreate our responses, preconceptions and limitations. The designer offers an opportunity to reconnect the senses, embrace instinctual reactions and to welcome childlike responses to the world.
Zesty Meyers, states – “ Porky creates immersive environments that allow people to escape into a different world. They’re beautifully made and seemingly weightless objects that make people thinking about installation, performance and design in a new way.” Heart of Lightness also challenges us to question what makes us human and what connects us to the animal kingdom. By experiencing the feeling of being with a shell, or a nest, Hefer hopes to urge us to interrogate why we are so removed from our natural environment.