Pressure is an effect which occurs when a force is applied in a direction perpendicular to the surface of an object. A printing press is a device for applying pressure to an inked surface resting on a print medium, such as paper, thereby transferring the ink. Artist and printmaker Senzo Shabangu is no stranger to the concept of pressure in printmaking and takes the idea a step further in his exhibition Naked Pressure to also talk about the pressure of living and working in the city of Johannesburg. He says we’re all under pressure; we are all surrounded by the city and the pressure it constantly forces down on us. His work is something that comes from within and in some way maintains a kind of innocence even when dealing with issues such as sex workers and forced removals.
The city is naked in the way that it does not hide its problems or weaknesses from view. It exposes them openly, from the potholes and beggars in the streets to the opulence of the high-rise buildings that tower over its inhabitants. He sees the possibility of people being larger than that and being able to rise above it. Shabangu’s work looks at the pressure that drives people into the ground as being the same stress and tension that motivates people to persevere in a place that is wrought with potential. This body of prints produced at DKW bares the souls of the people and places that Shabangu encounters in his day to day life. The art works are his way of understanding himself within the chaos and infinite prospects of Joburg city