Category Archives: Art

THE FINALE – INVESTEC 2020


https://www.investeccapetownartfair.co.za/
I’ve enjoyed sharing my Investec 2020 visit with you, but all good things must come to an end. So I thought I would finish off with these two gloriously kitsch ceramic pieces.

 
The first piece looks like the aftermath of an explosion in a junk shop. Imagine if somebody gave you this object as a gift? The mind boggles.

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But the second piece I want to share, has made me stop and think more deeply. Initially I was going to pass off the piece as a striking example of kitsch, and comment on the lovely bright red lacquer finish, which I find very appealing.  I notice my pic shows it as a pink colour, but the original was a striking, shiny Chinese lacquer red. But when I hunted through my pics for the photo showing the artist’s name, I noticed the title of the piece, which is “Mammie”.

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I took a closer look, and enlarged the photo so I could see the woman peering hesitantly? Furtively? Shyly ? out of her frame of domestic bric-a-brac. Is the artist saying that her Mum was protected by domestic detritus? Or smothered and imprisoned by it? I’m still wondering. Thank you, Stephane E Conradie, for eye-catching and thought provoking pieces!
I hope you’ve enjoyed coming to the Investec 2020 Art event with me . I already have next year’s event highlighted on my calendar!
FOOTNOTE: INVESTEC 2019 ART Fair : If you enjoyed this series of posts on Investec 2020, please go to the archives and find my post on last year’s event; the post appeared on 20th April 2019 . Plenty of pics and commentary.

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PEOPLE & PHOTOGRAPHY https://www.investeccapetownartfair.co.za/


Part of the fun of attending a big exhibition is the opportunity to people-watch. I’ve noticed that visitors  often wear extravagant, eye-catching outfits and jewellery to this event. Whether they’re wannabe Trendies, art critics, fashionistas, or plain old exhibitionists I have no idea. I doubt very much that they’re artists. The days of flamboyant artists – think Salvador Dali with his sharp suits, hats and waxed moustache, – are over. My artist friends usually adopt the casual/scruffy/work clothes style. They’re way too busy working in their studios to be messing around with fashion statements.

Some people are working, and having a chat during a  rare quiet moment.

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Others are also standing around, but stuck on the wall:

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I spotted Mondrian socks. I want some!

 

IMG_20200214_131023_resized_20200214_040544267 (2)Delightful Minnie Mouse bows:

 

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And stunning jewellery. Or is it wearable art?

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I don’t recall seeing any hats other than these ones on the wall:

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I was admiring the  pin-striped suited gent’s textured pink socks  when I realised  the painting on the opposite wall  offered a mirror image, with the   pensive woman in an almost identical, abstracted  posture.

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Next I saw this man, working on an exhibition stand – he presented an almost ecclesiastical  image,  don’t you agree?  I think it was the thin white rim of tee-shirt at his neck, together with is clothing, lanyards around the neck, monkish haircut, and clasped hands that reminded me of a cleric.

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Then I discovered this quirky series of pics, a sort of strange amalgam of botanical illustrations and old sepia portraits by  Alida Rodrigues “The Secret History of Plants.”

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I was blown away by  a wonderful black and white series of figures, executed by  Sungi Mlengeya.  The brilliant use of negative space was dazzling.

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Tucked away in a corner I spotted these this lovely little blue retro radio. I particularly liked the knitting needle antennae – or are they ears? I’ve been a radio fan all my life, so I was enchanted by this exhibit. I have a feeling the little radio’s name is probably Max.  Whatever it is, top marks for inanimate personality!
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The next photo is a marvelous study in movement by Manuel Braun Alexandria on Stage II.
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Lastly I loved this quiet photograph of an offering of two walnuts, it exuded generosity and dignity.

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WATCH THIS SPACE, I’M NOT DONE YET! MORE TO FOLLOW .It was a very big art exhibition  and I was clicking away merrily.

P.S.  If I haven’t mentioned the artists names in some of the pics above, its because I didn’t have the presence of mind to take a pic of the display card alongside the work; in some cases I  looked but couldn’t find the card.

 

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MY FAVOURITES at Investec 2020 https://www.investeccapetownartfair.co.za/


This year, the textured items and the very colourful items were top of my list.

When it comes to colour, who could resist this vibrant display put up by Kwa Zulu Natal artists. The juxtaposition of the hot curry reds, oranges and yellows offset by the contrasting tropical greens and sky blues, screamed DURBAN at me. For northern hemisphere readers, Durban has a huge Indian population and is renowned for being Curry Central!

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And how about this Marion Arnold wool tapestry, Untitled, 265 x 377 cm, Rich colours somewhat reminiscent of a Pierneef landscape .

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And I would be remiss if I didn’t include this stunning display of traditional artist EstherMahlangu’s traditional Ndebele art work. Would you believe she uses a chicken feather as a brush?  My pic is a poor one, because so many viewers were constantly blocking my shot, but it’s the best I managed to get. Take a moment to follow the link: what a fascinating story.

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I enjoyed the next  work : textile wrapped fighting sticks and spears – I don’t know the title or artist, but I enjoyed the colours and textures

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Then I found this bold orange and yellow and black work, which ticked the colours & textures boxes very neatly. It was executed in leather and, I think, fabric; I was so enchanted by the colours and shapes, I forgot to take a pic of the signage It had a sort of snakes-and-ladders feel to it.

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A charming crocheted gecko caught my eye. I don’t want it on a wall in my house, but I thought it was fun.

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Appearances can be very deceiving. I thought the next exhibit  was a woven fibre work, but not so. Paper beads, mounted on bark cloth. What a surprise! Usage of very Africa materials.
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I enjoyed this set of 8 pictures, executed by a woman from West Africa, using natural fibres and seeds to create the textured effects.

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Artists come up with the most innovative ideas. Here’s a work, executed on graph paper, in crossstitch. The shadowy images in the work caught my eye.

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I’ve saved the best until last. Just look at the texture in this work. It had a lush, rich texture, akin to velvet turned into shag carpeting. I was fascinated. When I drew closer to the work I was stunned to discover it was composed of … wait for it … “toothpicks in polyeurethane sealant in pine wood frames” by Chris Soal. Talk about appearances being deceptive!
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Watch this space: more pix in a day or two. We’re not done yet – it was a big exhibition!

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THE ANNUAL INVESTEC CAPE TOWN ART FAIR – February 2020


This weekend I visited the Investec Art Fair  – my annual treat. I wouldn’t miss it for the world!

What a feast of art across a wide spectrum: photography, painting, sculpture, ceramics, weaving, prints, art books and more besides. Obviously the theme is African Art, but artists from the diaspora and Europe were also on show. It really is an international exhibition. This year one of the themes was to exhibit emerging artists, not only from Africa, but, including artists from the Middle East, North America and Europe. So here are my photos of some of the works that  blew me away and that I enjoyed. I’m splitting the pics into separate sections , which I’ll post at intervals, otherwise its too much to take in and appreciate.
So: at the Investec (the sponsors stand) I found this multi-media statement :

 

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And an installation, which – for once – I enjoyed. I’m not a fan of installations.

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I don’t think I would be tempted to try sitting on this sofa, it looks both flimsy and uncomfortable, but if the sign were not there, trust me, some idiot would be lowering their rear end on to the item!

 

You know you’re at an African art exhibition when you see this:
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That ubiquitous football. Africans love football!

Another ubiquitous feature of the African landscape: goats. Although I have mixed feelings about this artwork. The human figure with goat hooves left me with an uneasy feeling.

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Another Art Fair post will follow in a day or two. I hope you’ve enjoyed what you’ve seen thus far. The show was big, and I only photographed items which appealed to me, so my pics are a very individual view.

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VISITING THE 2019 INVESTEC ART FAIR


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Overall impressions: more exhibits this year;  a  far more International array of work – Angola, Kenya, Uganda, Angola, Zimbabwe, and from Europe France, Italy, Germany, Britain – I even spotted one Australian  Art Gallery’s stand! I watched dapper little men with neat van Dyk beards, clad in seersucker suits, excitedly waving their hands  and explaining the finer points of displayed works in heavily foreign accents …. No doubt about it, much more international this year.

The inventive use of mundane objects for art projects was typically African : the humble clothes peg, metal bottle tops, fabrics, woven  fibre ropes, plasticised hessian bag fabric , plus others that I ‘m sure I missed in the huge exhibition.

Last year’s centre piece was the pink polar bear wearing its blue tutu. Nothing so frivolous this time. There was centrally displayed  Teddy Bear, giant sized, in pale terracotta ceramic, in a seated position and but I didn’t take a pic – I  found the deconstructed bear showing its plastic exo skeleton very off-putting.However, I did spot this mixed media (beads and artificial flowers)  Albino   bust which  was an unusual  item. Albinism in Africa is often the subject of superstition and persecution.

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I was conscious of so much texture this time around. Some notably prickly works. I can imagine what a traffic hazard these protruding rigid wires would be in a confined space.

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I loved the vivid colours of the  plastic snake-y coils a sort of wild reinvention of mating pythons. One of my favourite pieces.

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And what looks like fabric or yarn, but is in fact a heavily textured plastic paint .

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And beautiful work crated out of coiled sisal strips – I really liked this.

 

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Not many  ceramics . but I spotted this, and pray none of my friends decide it would make a lovely gift for me!

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But I did like these little ceramic  objets d’art:

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Plenty of fabric of one sort and another :

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This quirky bicycle caught my eye
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The Feet – striking – if only I could read Arabic.

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I loved the 8 portrait series of (presumably) Toureg men .

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And the 12 small Cubist works

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Finally: a dash of colour from Angola:

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There was so much more to see and enjoy, but I couldn’t take pics of everything. For info on the Prize Winners  and other details, please go to :https://www.investeccapetownartfair.co.za/

Had I won the Lotto I would have gone mad at the Print stands.  But I went home empty handed, replete with colour, texture and adventure. The annual Investec February Art Fair is one of my favourite events – I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

 

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