Delivered via acerbic satire, the work of Conrad Botes effects an embodied meditation on South African society, politics, and the country’s class divide, while metabolising a wider commentary on the conditions of political existence through his post-apartheid, post-pop aesthetic. Of his work he says, ‘I am using the devices I can find – seductive lines and colours, but with vulgar or almost perverse and shocking elements. I’m after a specific reaction.’ His interests in the semiotics of hell hold a reflexive derivation, in his view – images of hell hold an uncanny similitude to civilian existence for many of South Africa’s inhabitants.
Exhibited widely, notable group exhibitions include Impressions from South Africa, 1965 to Now at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, USA in 2011; Victims and Martyrs at Göteborgs Konsthall in Gothenburg, Sweden in 2011-2012; and Sharp Sharp Johannesburg at La Gaîté Lyrique in Paris, France in 2013. His solo exhibition On earth as it is in Heaven was exhibited at M Contemporary in Sydney, Australia in 2014.