We exist in space but space also exists in us.

Antony Gormley, Body Space and Body Time: Living in Sculpture, 2011. 

stonewater is a collaboration between SA artist, Richard Penn, and UK writer Guinevere Glasfurd, and takes as its starting point a shared interest in ‘origins’. Both the artist and the writer have been looking back along scales of human memory and experience and beyond, toward the beginning of time and the origin of our universe itself.

Moving between memories of a childhood in North Yorkshire and the present day setting of the veld in the Cradle of Humankind, Guinevere’s text explores two landscapes – a remembered one: the North Yorkshire moors and its limestone caves and pavements, and a newly experienced one: the ancient dolomitic limestone strata and caves, visible on the veld and at Plovers’ Lake, at Nirox. The drawings explore Richard’s interest in questions that arise from depicting the very large and very small and combine  near and far, autobiographical and the imagined. The combined work opens up into a reflection on the impact of the loss of a father as a child and how that is experienced in the present.

The work takes the form of a ‘conversation’ between text and image over twenty-four days, and was produced during a residency at Nirox in August 2013. They agreed to a  single rule – for each to produce a piece of work a day. The work is in two books, one of which begins with a drawing and the other with a piece of writing. The books were swopped daily, so that drawing responded to text and text to drawing and so on. The work that emerged was a continual surprise.

stonewater was produced with funding from Arts Council England and the British Council, Artists’ International Development Fund, and was supported in South Africa by the generosity of the Nirox Arts Foundation. 

The artists would like to thank Arts Council England, the British Council, Benji Liebmann and all the staff at Nirox Arts Foundation for their support.

The work is dedicated to Duncan Glasfurd (killed 15th August, 1969) and to the stones and caves that tell us so much about who we are and where we have come from.