Takunda Regis Billiat: "The Vacuum of Excess" exhibition text:
Excess is a key defining feature of contemporary globalized life. We are saturated with ideas, information, images, temptations, compulsions. Even a generation ago, life was more structured, fathomable, capable of completion and comprehension. There were guides – religion, tradition, education, reliable across generations. Where are they now? In contemporary Zimbabwe, none of these former pillars of certainty are able to provide the answers and solutions desperately craved. And yet in the absence of alternatives, people keep clamouring to them for help and guidance in a catch-22, which leaves them with less, while hoping for more. These are the pain points for Takunda Regis Billiat in The Vacuum of Excess, his first solo exhibition. Distress at the situation in which the country finds itself permeates the works in the show. The question of how did we get here and where do we find the answers towards a better future hovers like a ghost yielding images of wrong paths taken, chasing wrong dreams. Moving from sculpture to installation to painting, Billiat draws insightful and sometimes surprising links between traditional media and tradition of working with different media. Fibreglass becomes a base for applying soil and pigment in a very traditional way in From Dust to Dust, while book simulacra are composed into necklaces worn by traditional healers in Chained but Broken; found objects meet history of conceptual art with a toilet bowl expelling books in The Vacuum of Excess, the title work. Placing value in tradition and history is part of what makes us human. We need to see the before and hope for an after, in order to give our lives meaning. But in today’s world the tools we have relied on for guidance have been failing us. It takes courage to admit this and to look for new answers, to fill the vacuum amid the excesses of contemporary lives.

Valerie Kabov
Curator © 2016
First Floor Gallery Harare, Zimbabwe