John Kotzé was born in Lilongwe, Malawi and moved to Zimbabwe in the 1980s where he currently lives and works.
Kotze’s realistic oil paintings encapsulate moments and objects of everyday life that often go unnoticed, Although his paintings appear objective and unassuming, these snapshots are given focus through the artist’s attention to detail, his use of perspective, repetition, and the way in which he foregrounds the material in order to tell a story.
Marata – Iron Curtain (2015); Matamba (2014) and Demolition (2018), reflect a dependence on the natural environment as a source of food and shelter. In Marata – Iron Curtain, three sections of corrugated iron are supported by wooden poles. Together they form a barricade or fence, beyond which one can only assume lies something worthy of protection. In Matamba we see fruit hanging from a leafless tree, exposed and vulnerable. In Demolition one sees the skeleton of a building, it’s reinforcing open to the elements. Beyond the artist’s choice of subject, what is common to all three paintings is how he positions the viewer, looking up. This creates the feeling that something is just out of reach or out of control, reminding us of our own fragility and susceptibility.
Solo exhibitions include Abstract and Double Edge at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare (Zimbabwe: 2011 and 2005, respectively); as well as Juxtapose at Gallery Delta, Harare (Zimbabwe: 2001). In 2009 Kotzé was selected to represent Zimbabwe at Documenta 12 in Kassel, Berlin (Germany).
John Kotzé works are featured in the Zeitz MOCAA exhibition, Five Bhobh – Painting at the End of an Era (2018 – 2019).