“When a house has been armed, it becomes explosive. It must be armed and disarmed several times a day. When it is armed, by the touching of keys upon a pad, it emits a whine that sends the occupants rushing out, banging the door behind them… you do not unwind into such a house, kicking off your shoes, breathing the familiar air. Every departure is precipitate, every arrival is a scraping-in.”

-Ivan Vladislavic, from Portrait with Keys

Pulling up to the driveway, fumbling for keys while checking that there’s no one in the street. Pressing the button of the remote to open the gate. Driving into the garage, closing the gate before switching off, with the car in reverse, just in case. Closing the garage and walking to the house, opening the security gate and then the front door, only to rush in to deactivate the alarm. Our lives are a constant negotiation of space and gates, security and fear.

Danielle Wepener’s work reminds us of how our lives are defined by the boundaries of our personal safety, but also become about the constant reassessment of personal and public space. The layering of paint and ink on the canvas reflect the many barriers that we are faced with daily, whether they are physical, emotional or mental. Her expression of her surroundings, living in Johannesburg, is sensitive to an increasing climate of criminal activity as well as a history of interaction and segregation between people in our country.