On analysing this piece I aim to make a connection with my own interests in my practice at this time.”

The Encounter


This object was viewed at the Tate Modern in the Energy and Process area. I enjoy the building; the fact that it was once a power station gives a different weight to the air within it. It has a more user-friendly feel that doesn’t alienate me as with older galleries. This old industrial building allows me to feel at home viewing the artworks within it. It has an air of inclusion.

When I saw the title of the area ‘Energy and Process’ it drew me to it. I have a curious mind. I like knowing how things work how its put together, visible means of construction, something that shows unapologetically how it fits together.

To my eye the artwork took the form of a jellyfish floating in the ocean. The complex organic structure reduced in detail to line and open fields of little detail allowing me to view the lacing together of the cut pieces and trace the tendril lines.

I read more; Nicholas Hlobo chooses his materials carefully. The rubber represents the masculine having phallic meaning; the rubber comes from bicycle inner tubes. The ribbon is representative of femininity. The use of white paper is unexplained my interpretation would be of neutrality, a ‘white out’ zone. The artist’s intention is of gender play, as a homosexual South African his work is a comment on this.

The feminine tendrils knotted laced and chains woven around the male phallus of rubber with hints of domesticity as the description refers to a kitchen sink (Greenburgh. 2010). Jellyfish floating free in an ocean lost in gender battle and domestic sink imagery.


What is the purpose?

“Ikhoko was purchased by the Tate in 2010 the year of its creation. It hangs on public view, which you can view for free and or with donation to upkeep of the museum.


Research Questions

  • Meanings in Materials
  • Framing open fields
  • Simplifying, keeping the essential.



Looking into meanings behind the process gives those who wish to know more a place to go. It moves beyond the decorative and into a more emotive perspective. It allows interpretation and discussion.

In wishing to raise awareness this is something I will need to consider. Meaning not just in the image but also in the materials selected.



Through looking deeper into the meaning the artwork grew in stature, becoming more than paper, ribbon and rubber. In reading more the intentions of the artist was revealed. Another perspective was that fluidity was revealed. And maybe my first instinct was not too far from the truth. In choosing male and female materials and combining them in this way and in using multi-meaning language the reading of the image is still malleable and open to interpretations. Allowing a blurring to occur in this case genders and the lines that form between male and female are broken down and permitted to mix while remain separate.


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