Blue Valentines 2012

Written by Anni Snyman. Posted in archive

Blue Valentines 2012

Last Updated on Monday, 21 January 2013 12:30

An exhibition of water drawings by Anni Snyman

"Endlessly I sustain the discourse of the beloved's absence; actually a preposterous situation; the other is absent as referent, present as allocutory. This singular distortion generates a kind of insupportable present; I am wedged between two tenses, that of the reference and that of the allocution: you have gone (which I lament), you are here (since I am addressing you). Whereupon I know what the present, that difficult tense, is: a pure portion of anxiety." Roland Barthes - A Lover's Discourse.


The paradoxical nature of desire is the underlying theme of 'Blue Valentines'. The absence of the beloved is essential for the artist to immerse herself in the act of making art. Yet, during these meditative, solitary sessions images of desire invoking the absent beloved invariably appear. Painting water onto paper, waiting for the process of evaporation to suggest shapes which the artist explores and allows to evaporate again, always watching for that transitory moment of resonance between water stains and mental imprint - the process of water drawing is reminiscent of a sustained series of Rorschach tests, to which the artist can only say in her defence: "I rarely think about art when making love."

Exploring the nature of desire, physicality and the mapping of intellectual erogenous zones leads into strange territories. Word associations and tactile memories morph into a visual code, filling the surface with images reminiscent of body parts, birds and cats, dogs and horses - the flow of thought and water suspended, arrested as if in a momentary x-ray revealing the nature of wanting.

This series represents a selection from many photographed water drawings created over several years. The name of the show refers to a song by Tom Waits from the album 'Asylum Years'. Many of the drawings were created while listening to these guttural, soulful songs.

Proceeds of sales will go towards the study fees of Bennett Madzie, a young man that has just enrolled at AFDA to enter the world of film.

To view the artworks, their pricing, and to place an order, please visit the online catalog

Related article: 'When is something erotic?'

Blue Valentines exhibited at the Thompson's gallery in Melville, Johannesburg on 25 February 2012 for one day only.


'She has found his hands for him, and fitted them freshly at the wrists.' (from Ted Hughes, 'Bride and Groom lay hidden for three days'). Buddha board water painting by Anni Snyman.