the duality of experience by Lionel Smit


Laurence Graff recently acquired a fascinating new sculpture to accompany his renowned contemporary art collection at Delaire Graff Estate.

Inspired by reflection, symmetry and the psychology of the Rorschach inkblot technique, Lionel Smit’s ‘Morphous’ is an illustration of the duality of human existence, encompassed by the mirrored figure of a Cape Malay woman.


Lionel Smit:

“The concept behind the ‘Morphous’ sculpture encompasses various ideas that I have been working on, drawing them together to create a single piece. I would say that it is not only one idea, but layered ideas, becoming complex and intertwined. The central concept is of one head looking into the future while the other looks to the past. All my work evolves around the idea of identity and this piece continues to ask the same question: where do we come from and where are we going? How have we changed and almost morphed into different cultural identities?”


Located at Delaire Graff Lodges & Spa and surrounded by award-winning gardens and aromatic foliage, the work creates a dramatic impact with its physical presence.

While pursuing the textural capabilities within sculpture, ‘Morphous’ exemplifies Smit’s consistent fascination with the qualities, nuances and characteristics of paint. By mimicking the drip-like quality of spilt paint on the surface of these merged figures, the sculpture juxtaposes distinctive materials with explorative forms of art-making and show Smit’s ability to push the boundaries of bronze and paint to their limits.

The reflected figure explored through ‘Morphous’ is one who speaks of the universal concerns surrounding the self, manifested in the form of double-vision. Although retaining all their austerity and serene beauty, Smit’s figures remain highly charged with the emotive and gestural energy of the artist’s creative process. Figurative and expressive, ‘Morphous’ is at home in the landscape of Delaire Graff Estate.

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