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Outside Edge: Blom goes through the roof

17 May 2016 - 10:25 By Mary Corrigall

If you had the chance to visit Zander Blom's Brixton house in Johannesburg there would have been only one feature you wanted to see: the pressed ceiling where he famously re-enacted some of the painterly struggles of the abstract expressionists of the late 1950s.His cheeky project involved painting abstract works inspired by the history of art, which he then photographed. The final products were a series of photographs he later sold at the now defunct Rooke Gallery.In one image he constructed a composition that included making a hole in the ceiling, revealing some pink asbestos. It referred to the abyss that painters of that era, well, painted themselves into.What else was Blom to do but replay the past? Along with fellow art graduates Jan Henri-Booyens and Michael MacGarry, Blom had, under the irreverant name ''The Avant Car Guards" , been dancing on the graves of past artists - the trio pranced on Kendell Geers' faux tombstone as well as Pierneef's real one.Fast forward a decade and Blom is riding the crest of the abstract art wave not only locally, but internationally as well .Perhaps the most reliable measure of his success could be the increase in value of those early experiments. The hole in the ceiling is for sale at the Ebony Curated Gallery in Cape Town for R135000. In 2007, it cost around R4000 for an edition.The Ebony show, titled Abstracted, reveals how far- reaching this movement has become with works by a new generation of abstract artists, which include Hugh Byrne, Stefan Krynauw and Rory Emmett.Of course, Blom now revels in his Belgian linen canvases, and his confidence as a painter has allowed him to dispense with the camera and the ceiling, but this has upped those works' value, as they have now become documents of his early years.Abstracted shows at Ebony Curated in Cape Town until July 2..

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