Jo Rogge’s (b.1963) art is an attempt to render and navigate highly intense emotive states, provoked by a world fraught with conflict. Conflicts surrounding the body, especially bodies in precarious positions, are central to her work. In her new series, ‘O is for Other’, her own life experiences provide much of the emotional charge. The human body, as a fragment or even as an idea, is used by Rogge as an intuitive language for deciphering and deliberating over our emotional lives and experiences. She uses the bodily form as a conduit for probing fundamental beliefs about gender, body politics, identity, and sexuality.
Jo’s recent solo exhibition “Always in a Holding Pattern” ran in Johannesburg in June-July 2018. For the catalogue, click here.
Through her fluid renderings of bodily gendered expression, she calls into question the dichotomous notions of ‘male’ and ‘female’, challenges heteronormative assumptions, and creates a new crucible for queer voices. At the same time, she poses uncomfortable questions about difference and belonging. Explore Limbs and Longing, a curated online exhibition (2017) of Jo’s work.
The act of drawing is a fundamental part of Rogge’s artistic process: it is almost always the starting point for her creations. She layers different materials over these drawings – paint, ink, collage – and it is this process of layering, re-working, and re-making that further enables the emotional journey necessary to complete a given piece.
Rogge lives and works between Namibia and South Africa, and has worked with Guns & Rain since 2015. She is the founder of the NJE Collective, which facilitates informal mentorship between young, developing artists and their more established counterparts. In September 2016, she received a grant from the Other Foundation to create a new body of work addressing identity, stigma and discrimination in the LGBTI community in Namibia. Rogge’s constant interrogation of the ‘Othered’ body has led her to a range of projects across the globe, working in diverse media. Rogge is also currently advisor and editor for the first-ever documentary film about young black transgender Namibians.
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