Artist Stephen Hobbs’ conceptual and multidisciplinary art research embraces the city, using it as a tool to analyse the complexity, ambiguity and possibilities with which man is confronted in the environments he builds.
Hobbs focuses on the urban hubs of Southern Africa, such as Johannesburg – apparent spaces of dystopia, to which he, however, does not ascribe scarcity, but abundance, uncovering their wealth of diversity, adaptability and self-mockery. Extruded Buildings is part of Be Careful in the Working Radius, a series of wood- and linocut graphic prints, which, cut and reshuffled, evolve throughout the series. Hobbs has reunited the prints in a limited edition pop-up book of the same name. The images use wooden scaffolding as a basic visual element, alongside the typical grid of a billboard or advertisement board. This abstract, minimal topographic matrix provides room for imaginary constructions that stretch out horizontally. Like shadows of future buildings clamped over pre-existing structures, these shapes illuminate the making of a city through the ages: a permanent process of growth and shrinkage, an urban muddle that rises from the ground in a chaotic mingling.