The catalogue, “Be Careful In The Working Radius, was printed alongside the namesake exhibition. This exhibition is the culmination of the most recent work Stephen Hobbs has been making at DKW.
Early in his career, Stephen Hobbs recognised the need to develop his practice across the disciplines of artistic production, curatorial practice and cultural management. Through committed urban investigation and experimentation, focused primarily on Johannesburg since 1994, he has sustained a dialogue with urban space through video, installation, curated projects, photography and sculpture. Hobbs’ highly conceptual and multi-disciplinary creative enquiry looks to the city as a tool for understanding the complexities, contradictions and potentialities inherent in the relationships between people and the built environment. As indicated by his perennial fascination with Johannesburg, Hobbs is particularly interested in cities of the global South as spaces of dystopia, but is continually challenging conventional understandings of the concept. In Hobbs’ view, dystopia indicates abundance rather than oppression, informing spatial topographies that evolve and adapt at intersections of difference, complexity, opportunism, and irony.
“Be Careful in the Working Radius” indicates a shift in and expansion of Hobbs’ practice. In this body of work, Hobbs distills and translates his mercurial urban practice into the formalism of the printmaking medium, and then pushes those same formal elements beyond themselves into three-dimensional iterations. Originated in collaboration with the David Krut Print Workshop (DKW), the exhibition comprises a series of editioned prints, made using combinations of woodblock and linocut techniques; unique works created from the trial proofs of the editions, altered through cutting and the addition of reflective tape; sculptural objects made by re-purposing the woodblocks used for printing the editions; and a limited edition artist’s pop-up book.