‘Life in the Entropics’ by Io Makandal – embracing the Third Landscape - Bubblegum Club

‘Life in the Entropics’ by Io Makandal – embracing the Third Landscape

A quick search on the internet will reveal that: entropic is having a tendency to change from a state of order to a state of disorder.

What does it mean when we take this adjective and use it to describe an exhibition? With Life in the Entropics, Makandal examines the disorder of human activity and how this translates into space–specifically liminal space. In what way does human activity create space?

Life in the Entropics, Io Makandal’s second solo exhibition with Kalashnikovv Gallery, embraces the idea of the Third Landscape (Gilles Clément; 2004). The notion of the Third Landscape refers to areas that are overlooked by human development (liminal space) and act as ecological and genetic tanks within the environment.

Third Landscapes, [are] abandoned or transitional spaces whose fate is un-decided. The Third Landscape is not a garden; it is the genetic reservoir of the planet.

-Gilles Clément

Makandal pries open a space from which to investigate the liveliness of matter itself. This is accomplished by occupying the liminal urban space’s material potential.

With an artistic practice dedicated to bringing attention to space, Makandal’s scope lies both in the mythical and the augmented understanding of internal urban reality. Her near tangible drawings string together plants, street litter, commodity objects or industrial matter–regarded as the coming together of experiences of materials and space.

The works are reminiscent of ideas from Nathanial Stern (2018)– that matter should be known for the way it thinks, perceives and moves. Also coined by historian Nicole Ridgway (2017) as an ‘event’ of thought. Looking into the world of artistic knowledge, thinking is done through materials or matter, coming before the artwork itself and from there the thought continues (Stern 2018).

It is further explained that Makandal’s Entropics holds particular relevance in relation to the following thought by Stern; “The question is not, what does this artwork mean? It is rather, what does this artwork do?”

Making use of forms as a way of animating characters, her marks become individuals who beacon space in the exhibition itself thus asking the viewer for a different mode of understanding. This understanding could be said to be an understanding of human nature within liminal space and the way in which matter comes into play in this environment.

Think about it as evolution, not something cataclysmic, Makandal says.

Life in the Entropics takes its viewer on a journey through what remains of human commotion towards the way that such activity creates space.

Life in the Entropics is a solo exhibition by Io Makandal and runs at Kalashnikovv Gallery, Johannesburg from the 6 July 2019.



Natasha Norman,2019. Io Makandal | Life in the Entropics.

Lawrence Chua, 2005.  “Interview with Julie Mehretu” in Bomb (91) Spring 2005.

Gilles Clément, 2004. Manifesto of the Third Landscape. Éditions Sujet / Objet : Paris. 

Nicole Ridgeway, 2017. “The Hermaphroditic Image: Modern Art, Thought, and
Expérience in Michel Foucault.” In Understanding Foucault, Understanding
Modernism, edited by David Scott, 213–30. New York: Bloomsbury.

Nathaniel Stern, 2018. Ecological Aesthetics: Artful Tactics for Humans, Nature and Politics. Dartmouth College Press: Hanover, New Hampshire.

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