DShK is the acronym for “Degtyaryova-Shpagina Krupnokaliberny” the name of a Russian made heavy machine gun invented in the 1930’s. It’s nicknamed Dushka which means “sweetie”, an ironic term of endearment. The polychrome fiberglass figure called Dushka, part of the resent DShK exhibition in Cape Town, implies a complex and reciprocal relationship between its sculptural form and the colour enhancing it. Modified into a mutual dependency, the tendency of colour to mask, by this enhancement, instead reveals the deeper concern of the assembled construct of fibreglass and steel.
My work is about the darker side of sexuality and the gradient scale of existing parity and inequality. It is also about the celebration of form, balance, the challenges of construction, and the materials bringing to developing concepts, an understanding and a multi-dimensional approach. While linked to the collective consciousness and the present, through the process of sculpting and constant acquisition of technical skills, a resolution is arrived at, a process as much part of the physicality of the work, as it is the own responsive immersion into memory and experience, to construct a contemporary consciousness.
Thus, in the case of the referenced figure, in the complex accumulation of materials and emotive content, the arrangement with the brutal steel mechanism and the beauty of form and rational rhythm, shows the dichotomy between traditionally accepted values and violence, in which the tragicomic figure illustrates the issues addressed. The objective is to evoke an emotional response, a calculated discomfort, a deceivingly easy invite, all the while making the viewer aware of the complete process of the work, from the very first motivational response, to the last mark, keeping its immediacy, its currency and relevance, its history.
These sculptures continue to channel his first-hand experience of psychic wounds inflicted by personal trauma, pivoting from themes of sexuality and gender into the more impersonal and largely unstable area of political and social forces.
His work investigates the victim and perpetrator continuum, bound together as one entity in an eternal symbiosis. His current sculptures may still show his concern with the dark side of sexuality and gender, but his modus operandi has moved light years away from the drama of raw, cathartic blood-letting – the ashy and scabby bandaged surfaces – that characterised his earlier work.
In their place are the highly polished surfaces that have more in common with the slick duco finish of a high-end sport car – not a speck of dust in sight. It’s the pornography of trauma in pastel shades.
Apart from three figures, “Egress” and “The Orchestrator” which are both self-portraits and “Varaahi”, a pig like creature with a blunted face, all the sculptures involve the manipulated, amputated female form as victim and conduit.
The sculpture “Egress” could be interpreted as the portrait of the artist as a child. His little sputnik-shaped body is armless, supported by the spindly legs of a tripod. His face is tattooed with the dark glyphs of Blom’s private symbolic language, only known to him; his mouth is plugged closed with a perforated nozzle. Speech is not Blom’s natural métier. The capsule of his body is crowded with warring toy soldiers. We catch a glimpse of them through the sputniks fogged walls.
Ironically “Egress”, which means to leave a place, will never move from its fixed base. From a steel pipe in the child’s middle some unseen vital essence will continue to drip into a drain in the base of the sculpture carrying the words “exit only”.
If Blom were a creature he would be a pale gecko, gentle and extremely sensitive, so transparent you could see his inner organs and hyper vigilant looking at the world through the palest of glass green eyes.
Fiberglass with polyester resin and plastic matrix, mild steel and 2k polyurethane paint
177 x 56 x 53cm
Blom makes a point of not telling or showing his audience what he knows they did really like to hear. He thwarts the search for answers and promises no solutions or panaceas. In declining commenting on his works he takes no responsibility for how the work ought to be understood, suggesting instead that the viewer who chooses to engage is fully responsible for own responses. This does much to encourage the viewer to healthy self-assertion.
– Stanley Hermans