Born 1990 in Pretoria, South Africa
Lives and works in Pretoria, South Africa
Allen Laing graduated Cum Laude with an MTech (Fine Art) at the University of Johannesburg in 2018. He was awarded with the 'Chancellor’s Medal' for the 'Most Meritorious Masters' at the University of Johannesburg, and the 'Ampersand Foundation Fellowship', New York in 2018. In 2012, Laing was also the recipient of the 'Eduardo Villa Sculpture Prize' as well as the 'Thami Mnyele New Media Merit Award'. The same year Laing attended the 'Cité Internationale des Arts Residency' in Paris, France.
Laing is a multi-disciplinary artist and expresses his creative practice through the use of performance, video, traditional woodworking techniques, or a combination thereof.
“As a ‘rational’, global, white South African I experience a lack of mystical elements in my life. Through my art I discover what I have lost as child, when fantasy and hope were still alive. Important to my work are narrative, fantasy and absurdity, used to address issues in ways that don’t burden me emotionally. Playfulness makes problems malleable.
The materials and techniques I use are rooted in a love for wood and its characteristics, and a desire to form it in the most excellent and beautiful ways that I can. In my performances I want to engage people, give scale and context to my work, and understand what I’m communicating on an intensely physical level. My costumes and contraptions are often uncomfortable and difficult to use, and the entire performance is akin to a kind of ascetic ritual.”
Laing’s works are in several prominent South African collections, including the 'Wits Art Museum' permanent collection, and the 'Jack Ginsberg Centre for Book Arts'.