Ten Reasons to Experience Art from Africa and the W
Romina Ressia, Spaghetti (2014), Image courtesy Samuel Maenhoudt Gallery
Summer in Cape Town is set to become a centre of the art world, as multitudes of artists, gallerists, curators and collectors will encamp for events of lasting cultural significance. For the art-loving public, the combined experience will blast open stupendous new views on the visual arts.
The pivotal, anchor event will be the Investec Cape Town Art Fair, coinciding with the Art Week Cape Town, the Stellenbosch Triennale as well as major retrospectives of the career of William Kentridge and exhibitions throughout the city.
From the 14th to the 16th of February 2020, the 8th edition of Investec Cape Town Art Fair will return to the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC). Positioned as the leading art fair in Africa, the Investec Cape Town Art Fair 2020 will welcome the foremost galleries from South Africa, the African continent and abroad.
A third of the exhibitors due to showcase at the Investec Cape Town Art Fair 2020 will be new to the event, and close to 40% from the rest of the world. After almost a decade of groundwork, the fair’s consistent drive to bring together galleries and artists from Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa, United Kingdom, Europe, Middle East and the USA is yielding remarkable results.
What can the public expect? 10 must-see experiences centred on the artists, galleries and exhibitions taking place at the Investec Cape Town Art Fair.
1. TODAY HERE, TOMORROW THE WORLD
New visions of the continent and the arrival of artists from Africa and its diaspora as important participants on the international art scene can be witnessed on the main exhibitions of the Investec Cape Town Art Fair.
TOMORROWS/TODAY will be a curated section about the sociopolitical dynamics of the present day. The guest co-curators for 2020 - Nkule Mabaso (Curator at Michaelis Galleries, Cape Town) and Luigi Fassi (Artistic Director of MAN Contemporary Art Museum in Nuoro, Italy) - have curated a cross-section of the most exciting, emerging and artists from Africa and the Diaspora.
From its inception, the aim of TOMORROWS/TODAY has been to shine a light on emerging and under-represented artists; set to be tomorrow’s leading names. It is open to those working on and beyond the African continent and, as the title implies, the ongoing theme is one of transformation, and experimentation showcasing unorthodox art forms addressing current social and political issues.
Artists that will be showcased in the section are Danica Lundy (USA) of Gallery C+N Canepaneri in Italy, Amanda Mushate (Zimbabwe) of First Floor Gallery in Zimbabwe, François-Xavier Gbré (France) of Gallery Cécile Fakhoury in Ivory Coast, Senegal and Paris, Andy Robert (USA) of Hannah Hoffman in Los Angeles, Fathi Hassan (Egypt) of Gallery Lawrie Shabibi in Dubai, Ernesto Shikhani (Mozambique) of Perve Galeria in Portugal, Nnenna Okore (Australia) of Gallery Sakhile&Me in Germany, Gregory Olympio
(Togo) of Septieme Gallery in Paris, Bonolo Kavula (South Africa) of Suburbia Contemporary in Spain and Isabelle Grobler (South Africa) of Sulger-Buel Gallery in London.
2. GOING SOLO
The third iteration of the SOLO section will examine the issue of space: its politicisation through issues of geopolitics, migration, spatial practice and theory, diasporic studies and borders, national and abstract.
In anticipation of the exhibition, art fair director Laura Vincenti says that the theme has been selected to communicate how artists speak and relate to Space in their works and beyond.
“So there is a double theme in one theme -- the space inside the artwork, and how the work is placed to interact with space.” The theme of Space also gestures towards broader cultural sensitivities in the sociopolitical moment, in which there is a heated national debate about historical entitlements to Space.
The following artists have been selected for the SOLO section of the 2020 Investec Cape Art Fair:
Kirsten Beets (South Africa) of Salon Ninety-One in South Africa; Teresa Kutala Firmino (South Africa) of Everard Read Gallery in South Africa; Nina Holmes (South Africa) of Eclectica Contemporary in South Africa; Alexandra Karakashian (South Africa) of SMAC Gallery in South Africa; Mawande Ka Zenzile (South Africa) of Stevenson in South Africa; Riley Holloway (USA) of Lars Kristian Bode in Germany and Sungi Mlengeya (Tanzania) of Afriart Gallery in Uganda.
3. WELCOME TO THE WORLD STAGE
The list of great artists due to land in Cape Town is staggering, reflecting on the significance of the moment. With the proliferation of art fairs in the world, the Investec Cape Town Art Fair is the only international fair on the continent. The Investec Cape Town Art Fair stands as a medium for creating a dialogue between the northern and southern hemisphere - it is fair to say that the 2020 edition of the Investec Cape Town Art Fair presents itself as a unique and special opportunity to experience an international platform for artists from all over the world.
The Investec Cape Town Art Fair 2020 will happen on what can be described as a veritable world stage, showcasing talent, dialogue and curated display. Expect to find the works of veteran Egyptian Fathi Hassan care of Lawrie Shabibi Gallery in Dubai; Shirin Neshat care of Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg, Ghanaian painter Gideon Appiah care of Afikaris Gallery of Paris, Onyis Martin care of Circle Art Gallery in Nairobi, Luc Ming Yan care of Apalazzo Gallery in Brescia, Brazilian Beto Shwafaty care of Prometeo Gallery in Milan and local performer and sculptor Athi-Patra Ruga care of WHATIFTHEWORLD in Cape Town.
4. WELCOME TO THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF ARTE POVERA
Local visitors to the Investec Cape Town Art Fair will be introduced to the wonderful art movement Arte Povera when one of its major founders is exhibited this year.
Giorgio Persano of Torino, in Italy, opened in the 70s and was a home for Conceptual Art, Arte Povera and Minimal Art in Europe. Giorgio Persano is one of the galleries representing the masters of the Arte Povera movement: the gallery will be showcasing two representatives of the movement; Mario Merz and Michelangelo Pistoletto. Another gallery set to be showcasing this Italian art movement is Galleria Massimo Minini – Francesca Minini, representing artist Giulio Paolini. Arte Povera is the radical Italian art movement from the late 1960s to 1970s whose artists explores the relationship between artist and object, and between the cultural access of the wealthy and that of people born into poverty.
Experience the complex world of outsider art when it takes this bold step, at the art fair, towards making itself known to the broader art audience.
5. AMERICA ON POINT
Due to be featured at the Investec Cape Town Art Fair 2020, is Haitian born and New York based artist Andy Robert, represented by Los Angeles-based gallery Hannah Hoffman. Robert is based in Brooklyn, New York, and his large-scale, experimental paintings pick apart our visual reality so that we may examine the minutiae of life. The Investec Cape Town Art Fair will again host the American gallery Hannah Hoffman, forging a path for intersectional dialogue down South.
New York-born artist Amelia Etlinger, represented by Osart Gallery in Milan, was an artist associated with the Fluxus movement, visual poetry and the Italian Poesie Vivisa community. Etlinger moved with her family to Clifton Park, New York in the late 1960s. Etlinger regarded herself as a poet; after reading ee cummings, she started to create visual poetry that evolved into elaborate and collaborative works of natural material collected in the woods behind her house as well as fabric, thread, beads, costume jewelry, Japanese papers, and other found material.
At the same time, Los Angeles-born artist Riley Holloway will appear on the SOLO platform of the Investec Art Fair 2020. Represented by German gallery Lars Kristen Bode, Holloway is a prestigious Hunting Prize finalist. A figurative painter, he works out of Dallas but was born in Los Angeles. In his paintings he examines Black masculinity and asks us to imagine a world where dignity is not a privilege but a right.
6. WASTE NOT WANT NOT
Taking cognisance of our overburdened planet a host of artists exhibiting at the Investec Cape Town Art Fair 2020, are using the detritus of human life as inspiration or raw material for their work.
Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos, represented at the Investec Cape Town Art Fair by gallery Mimmo Scognamiglio in Milan, Italy. In her work she re-contextualises and de-contextualises existing objects; and is known for making a chandelier out of tampons. She rose to prominence after exhibiting at the 51stVenice Biennale in 2005, was the first woman and the youngest artist to exhibit at the Palace of Versailles, and has had a solo show at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.
Congolese artist Patrick Bongoy (represented by EBONY/CURATED of Cape Town) who will exhibit his creatures created from rubber and hessian. The Cape Town based artist’s work is a response to the global reality of literal and figurative environmental pollution. This encompasses the entire spectrum from the erosion of economic viability, the impact on a community and individual behaviour and socio-cultural decay of the rural and urban landscape.
Nigerian artist Nnenna Okore, represented by German gallery, Sakihle&Me, has received international acclaim for her richly textured abstract sculptures and installations. Her highly tactile sculptures respond to the rhythms and contours of everyday life, combining reductive methods of shredding, fraying, twisting and teasing with constructive processes of tying, weaving, stitching and dyeing. Inspired by forms, topographies, and phenomena related to place, memory, time, and language, she invites her viewers to consider and encounter earthly structures more delicately. She is deeply concerned with earth’s vulnerability amidst the wave of climate disaster in its path. In her works, she romanticizes nature’s sublimity and the essence of life.
7. IT’S ALL TALK
It’s time again for the art-going public to hear and be heard. It is customary in the art world to give artists, curators, gallerists and specialist collectors a platform upon which they can interact. Tumelo Mosaka will return to Investec Cape Town Art Fair in the capacity of guest curator for Cultural Platforms and the Talks Programme.
Commenting on the contribution of a strong Talks Programme to Investec Cape Town Art Fair, Mosaka says, “The Talks Programme is a perfect platform to explore various topics engaged by artists. It is the vehicle for generating discussion, and debate about current issues and the marketplace. It provides an opportunity to share and learn from international professionals alongside local specialists.”
Hot topics in 2020 include Philanthropy in Africa, an artists’ discussion titled Constructing Landscapes of Possibilities with Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi and Malebona Maphutse, moderated by Sharlene Khan; discussion between artist and François-Xavier Gbré of France; Museums in the 21st Century with Adriana Rispoli, an Independent Curator from Italy with Koyo Kouoh, Director of Zeitz MOCAA, and Sonia Lawson, Director of the Palais de Lomé in Togo. Other topics include Investing in Culture and the Quest for Sustainable Art Platforms.
8. NIGHT VIBES
Once again, the hugely successful Gallery Night will take visitors to explore the culture of Cape Town evenings. The Friday night event allows visitors to hop on a bus and tour the city galleries.
Visitors from beyond the Cape, who’ve identified artists and galleries from the city, at the fair, will gain a greater understanding of Cape Town and its diverse offerings.
Film fans are also in for a treat as art meets cinema at the Investec Cape Town Art Fair 2020. Don’t miss out on a curated art documentaries sundowns at the Labia Theatre, Cape Town’s renowned oldest cinema. The programme ART.DOC is the most recent edition to the fair’s programme; and is part of an initiative to educate those who are interested in art locally and internationally.
This event is sponsored by The Consulate of Italy in Cape Town, free of charge to all visitors and is on a first-come first-serve basis.
9. MODERN MASTERS
Expect a foundation course in South African art pioneers at the Past/Modern section of this year’s Fair, which will showcase work by photographers David Goldblatt, Peter Magubane and Paul Weinberg, a solo presentation by Dr. Esther Mahlangu, as well as a selection of works by the increasingly sought after Amadlozi group, Cecil Skotnes, Edoardo Villa, Sydney Kumalo and Ezrom Legae.
Curated by Cape Town veteran gallerist Joāo Ferreira, visitors can expect a panorama of works from coveted areas of historical South African art movements.
Ferreira’s curatorial statement reminds us that “Artistic expression has always been an accurate social barometer. Past / Modern will draw from South Africa’s history of late colonial, apartheid and post-apartheid years – including artists originating from formal education, community centres, self-taught or cultural tradition, who have reached consensus as to their vital contribution to the evolution of South African art history.”
10. CHAMPIONING CRUCIAL CULTURAL CAUSES
The ongoing Cultural Platform section presents the work of cultural institutions and non-profit organisations who nurture and support artistic production in the region, through exhibitions and artist residencies.
Fair visitors will be struck by the appearance of artwork by the late, great Gerard Sekoto presented by The Gerard Sekoto Foundation, under the aegis of The Norval Foundation.
The NJE Collective of Namibia, an artist-run collective initiated for artists from Southern Africa in general, will present three artists: Rudolf Seibeb (Namibia), Chuma Somdaka (South Africa) and Jo Rogge (South Africa / Namibia).
The organisation Eh!Woza will screen youth-made films examining the local HIV and TB co-epidemic. And, from KwaZulu-Natal, the KZNSA, the force behind Durban’s leading contemporary gallery, will exhibit the renowned Derrick Nxumalo and Andile Maphumulo, in a celebration of township and urban life through the expressionistic use of colour and wild geometric lines.