AD-Reflex are an award-winning collaborative artist duo based in South Africa.
AD-Reflex undermines the idea of flawless progress in the contemporary moment, that the right direction is always known. Instead, everything can mix with everything; everything is possible and in perpetual transformation.
Triviality mingles with glamour, banality with sophistication, and despair with beauty.
The work of AD-Reflex is about duality and unexpected juxtapositions of beauty and decay.
Their art resists and transcends perceptions of traditional boundaries on every level.
“Our collective brainstorming is our real studio, as well as the actual author of our work. Our ideas go through many kinds of filters, many twists and turns, which consistently transform the creative process to arrive at unexpected results and juxtapositions”.
The collaborative duo, AD-Reflex, was formed in 2015 and consists of contemporary South African artists Johan Conradie and KarlGustav Sevenster.
Their work is bold and striking, combining complicated techniques and processes including oil painting, digital photography, photo-manipulation software techniques, Swarovski crystals and the physical freezing of objects in ice, which are then re-photographed in a studio.
The merging of the two artists was prompted by a chance encounter. Previously KarlGustav, a computer specialist and self-taught artist, worked in isolation carving out his own artistic expression in uncharted territory at the time. Johan, on the other hand, with award-winning expertise and artistic skill, was focused on art education and helping others achieve their own artistic ambitions.
What started off as an experimental collaborative project, rapidly turned into their most important creative partnership and subsequently resulted in the creation of AD-Reflex and a permanent shift in career focus for both. The name AD-Reflex refers to the notions " 'Ascend' and 'Descend' " and how we respond accordingly.
Their work relates to the seductive forms of the sacred, deploying a sophisticated, poetic dialogue among their chosen media.
Two seemingly unrelated artistic practices collide to create a new identity and collaborative energy which both artists embrace wholeheartedly.
Johan specialised in painting and obtained his Master of Arts from the University of Pretoria in 2005, while KarlGustav is a computer specialist and self-taught digital artist. Through counterpointing painting and technology, they combine complicated techniques and processes including photography, digital art techniques, painting and Swarovski crystals in the most unexpected manner. Deploying a sophisticated, poetic dialogue among these media and plumbing the depths of art history and other cultural canons, their visual narratives explore the values, vices and conflicts of contemporary culture in the global sphere.
Their work constantly morphs between abstract and representation.
The more abstract works celebrate the mimetic qualities of 'paint' as a medium (both in its traditional form and through digital painting), together with process-led abstraction. Through the experimental nature of their processes and the use of the oil medium with various binding mediums, their work borders on the ‘alchemical’. In these works, mythological landscapes, drips and digital elements appear, then melt away in an endless mimicry, where no clear distinction can be drawn between the painterly and the digital.
In their more representational works, AD-Reflex contemplate the allure and visual history of war and martyrdom, and reminds the viewer that perpetual violence (the barbaric love and violence of power) has become a ‘natural state’ in the 21st century. Their central figures often show the scars of rituals and faithful violence.