Reverse engineering: Ekphrasis occupies a strange place between the realms of the visual and the linguistic. In the past, artists have written poetry based on art such as paintings and sculptures etc. Frank has done something quite rare here in that he reversed the process. He attempted to draw poetry and according to the late poet, T. T. Cloete, he hit a bullseye! Prof. T. T. Cloete, who incidentally received most, if not all of South Africa’s highest literature awards, said that Frank’s work added to his poems.
The original inspiration for this exhibition came from a love for the work of the well-known South African poet, T. T. Cloete, as well as a desire to pay homage to him on his 90th birthday in 2014. Cloete himself defined the word, ekphrasis (or ekfrasis in Afrikaans) in his philosophical work Die Ander Een is Ek, as follows: “Daar bestaan ‘n naam voor as een medium of kunsvorm in ‘n ander medium of kunsvorm omgesit word, dit wil sê as een transendent in nog weer ‘n ander transendent omgesit word. Dit word ekfrasis genoem.” (There is a term that describes the process when one medium or art form is transformed into another medium or art form, that is to say that one transcendent form is once again transformed into another transcendent form. It is called ekphrasis.) With the exhibition, Ekfrasis, a unique perspective is offered on the interaction between different art forms and an unusual application is brought to ekphrastic art since, traditionally, visual art inspires ekphrastic word art and not the other way around. The entire exhibition aims to pay tribute to the well-known creative force of the poetry by making it visually accessible. Creating a body of artwork around the work of a single celebrated poet is a unique concept and makes for an original and multi-dimensional experience.