In his series Strangers, South African artist Jacques Viljoen explores the theme of estrangement through a series of paintings on found books, which he’s collected from markets over the last 12 months.

Now available to view in an exhibition at MostArt Centre in Stoke Newington, the artworks tell the story of a fictional character, recounting her experiences of estrangement. This includes memories of distance childhood friends, strange new cities, new and old lovers, and eventually, herself.

Jacques said: “I had the idea for this exhibition a couple of years ago, while I was adjusting to life as a foreigner in my new home of London. It started off with collecting and painting on books but as my skills in traditional painting progressed, I was able to start capturing moments from life in the form of landscapes and portraits. It occurred to me that I needed a venue to exhibit my work that would bring strangers together.”

Born in Cape Town, Jacques studied a BA in fine art at The University of Cape Town, majoring in painting, and left South Africa after graduating in 2011 to pursue the dream of qualifying for the Olympics in the sport of fencing. He emigrated to the UK in 2012 after an injury sustained in 2012 put him out of the running for qualification.

In 2016 he studied academic painting and drawing at a number of institutions in London and Florence, Italy, and has been selected as the artist in residence at Freemason’s Hall, to research Freemasonry as an outsider, as the organisation celebrates its 300th anniversary. Strangers at MostArt Centre will be his first solo show.

Via Creative Boom submission | All artworks courtesy of the artist

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Author: Katy Cowan

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