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APRIL 2019 WWW.ARTTIMES.CO.ZA


SOLD FOR R7 283 200 SOUTH AFRICAN RECORD

Marlene Dumas, Love Lost, 1973/74 oil, collage & graphite on cotton duck


WINTER AUCTION Johannesburg, 2 June 2019

Modern & Contemporary Art VENUE Gordon Institute of Business Science 26 Melville Road, Illovo, Johannesburg

SELL WITH US. CONSIGN NOW. ENQUIRIES & VALUATIONS JOHANNESBURG +27 11 243 5243 | +27 71 675 2991 | enquiries@aspireart.net CAPE TOWN +27 21 418 0765 | +27 83 283 7427 | ct@aspireart.net

www.aspireart.net


CONTENTS

Art Times April Edition 2019 10) POWER OF SITE Winter Scuplture Fair 2019 22) EDOARDO VILLA Vertical Presence 26) ANTON SMIT AND FERRARI COLLABORATE 32) GORDON FROUD’S ABSTRAKT Sculptures on the cliffs 34) ANDREW SUTHERLAND Drifter 38) SUE GREEF Acetone veils 44) CHRISTIAAN DIEDERICKS In Search of a New King 50) BRAM REIJNDERS No more Blah Blah 60) NORVAL FOUNDATION Unveils new Wind sculpture 68) ZEITZ MOCCA APPOINTS NEW DIRECTOR 70) STRAUSS & CO SHATTERS 100 MILLION BARRIER 74) A NEW DAWN FOR STEPHAN WELZ & CO 76) ART AS AN INVESTMENT ASSET 86) NEW BLOOD FOR A NEW WORLD 102) ARTGO GUIDE APRIL 2019 APRIL 2019 COVER Cover: Wim Botha Commune: suspension of disbelief, 2001 Carved Bibles, Biblical Text, Surveillance Equipment, Life-size Andrew Sutherland, Distant Dwelling, 2019, Oil on canvas,400 x 500mm

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Letter from the editor SOUTH AFRICA’S LEADING VISUAL ARTS PUBLICATION

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he South African art market to an untrained eye must be a confusing space. On the one hand we are going through one of the longest recessions in history, while on the other hand incredible records are being achieved by the likes of Strauss & Co and Aspire. However in a sense this contradiction isnít anything new. Small and middle sized galleries open and close while new galleries open as a result of creating satellites in new speculative markets, or by going into hibernation as dealerships and re-asserting their presence at Art Fairs and online.

CONTACT ART TIMES Tel: 021 424 7733 P.O Box 428 Rondebosch 7701

The current art business model is based on an old one which still traditionally operates with the bricks and mortar model. In compensation to the latest economic slow down collectors are getting younger and market places are growing globally. Itís the bigger artists that certainly benefit from this model as larger galleries fight for bigger names to pay for rising costs of marketing and art fairs. What seems to be the largest growth point seems to be the latest establishment of the private art foundations and the management of their collections such as the Norval, Zeits and Javett art foundations and museums. These private institutions somehow overshadow their predecessors of The Corporate Collection, who in turn replaced the Municipal Art Museum such as the national galleries and museums. Private foundations seem to be far more successful and have bigger budgets, as well as less red tape to be flexible with what gallery attendees want: a good sunny day out, food, wine and a sense of association with individual vision, and being part of something great. Ultimately, regardless of economic slowdown, political instability and the dumbing down of social morals, individuals still seek a means to find answers through art and enjoy possessing (even if itís with their eyes) artwork that records and celebrates these incredibly rich times and the world we live in.

ON THE KEYS Brendan Body

Editor Gabriel Clark-Brown

EDITOR Gabriel Clark-Brown editor@arttimes.co.za

ADVERTISING & MARKETING Eugene Fisher sales@arttimes.co.za SEND AD MATERIAL sales@arttimes.co.za DIGITAL MEDIA & EVENT LISTINGS Jan Croft subs@arttimes.co.za ARTGO CONTENT info@artgo.co.za RIGHTS: THE ART TIMES MAGAZINE RESERVES THE RIGHT TO REJECT ANY MATERIAL THAT COULD BE FOUND OFFENSIVE BY ITS READERS. OPINIONS AND VIEWS EXPRESSED IN THE SA ART TIMES DO NOT NECESSARILY REPRESENT THE OFFICIAL VIEWPOINT OF THE EDITOR, STAFF OR PUBLISHER, WHILE INCLUSION OF ADVERTISING FEATURES DOES NOT IMPLY THE NEWSPAPER’S ENDORSEMENT OF ANY BUSINESS, PRODUCT OR SERVICE. COPYRIGHT OF THE ENCLOSED MATERIAL IN THIS PUBLICATION IS RESERVED.

@ARTTIMES.CO.ZA

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TM

Alexis Preller | SEYCHELLES GIRL | Estimate R 1 000 000 - R 1 500 000

Auction | Johannesburg 29 & 30 April 2019 The Killarney Country Club, 60 5th Street, Houghton Estate

Preview 26, 27 & 28 April 2019 | 10am - 5pm Walkabout conducted by Luke Crossley, Saturday 27 April, 11am www.stephanwelzandco.co.za | 011 880 3125 | jhb@stephanwelzandco.co.za Downlo ad the free Stephan Welz & Co. app


POWER OF SITE

An exhibition of sculptures, installations & performances Winter exhibition May – July 2019 / NIROX Sculpture Park Curated in collaboration with Lorena Guillén-Vaschetti (Argentina) & Adam Jeppesen (Denmark)


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nergy has engulfed humanity since it mastered control over fire in the Cradle of Humankind. Some 4mil years past, our human ancestors who had settled in the foothills of the Magaliesberg mountains, found mastery over fire, beginning a fascination with energy that has fuelled human evolution – providing at once the wonders, the horrors and the controversies we face today in its wake. Science grapples with our understanding of energy and our strategies for accessing and using it without the continuing depletion and contamination of the natural world. These efforts are entwined and often corrupted by economic, national and other vested interests. Mystics look beyond the physics for an alternative understanding of energy. Artists inspire new avenues of thought and fresh ways of seeing… Against this backdrop curators, Lorena Guillén-Vaschetti and Adam Jeppesen, invite artists to awaken our perspectives…in this place known as the Cradle of Humankind, recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site for its wealth of ancient geological and paleo-anthropological resources and its rich potential for research and education. NIROX Sculpture Park lies at its heart…

Left: Katharien de Villiers, Umhlanga Above: Raimi Gbadamosi, The Republic Faces The Sun Following Page: Angus Taylor, Morphic Resonance

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Above: Sun Boat - Moataz Nasr (Under Construction) Left: William Kentridge sculpture. Following Page: Raimi Gbadamosi ‘The Republic Faces The Sun’

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List of participating artists: Willem Boshoff (SA) Olu Oguibe (USA) Moataz Nasr (Egypt) Marina Abramović (USA) Danae Stratou (Greece) Richard Forbes (SA) Marco Meihling & Michael Mieskes (Germany) Lorena GuillÊn-Vaschetti (Argentina) James Webb (SA) Richard Long (UK) (Existing works) Rhett Martin (SA) Jake Singer (SA) Riyas Komu (India) 58 Collective: Elena Rocci (Italy) & Hester Reeve (UK) The exhibition is kicked off on May 4th with the event Long to Long - a night walk. This event brings the audience to the backcountry neighbouring the NIROX Sculpture Park, to visit a truly unique work of art, by the British artist Richard Long. Audience will experience the transition from dusk to darkness and will be provided with solar powered lanterns by the Danish/Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson, called Little Sun. The following day, May 5th will see official opening of the exhibition.

Above: Amphitheatre Right: Sean Slemon, Facing The Sun

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VERTICAL PRESENCE THE SCULPTURE OF EDOARDO VILLA Presented by True Design in partnership with Strauss & Co The Atrium, Trumpet Building, Keyes Art Mile Mid March - end April 2019

Villa first came to South Africa as a prisonerof-war in the 1940s and stayed on after Work War II ended. In an interview, he spoke of the “opportunities available for the youth, the ‘open space’ as opposed to the ‘closed’ life of a continental.” He felt that, “Everything in Europe had been done, questioned and exhausted. Here, in Africa, I felt I had the opportunity to explore”. In this exhibition, we are privileged to be able to view some of Villa’s early work, such as Seated Figure (1953, possibly referencing Alberto Giacometti), and the important work Vertical Form (1958), a sculpture that inspired the body of work Villa developed for his participation in the Venice Biennale of 1958, where he showed with Alexander Calder. 

Above: Tree, 1971, steel and paint, 1.95m Right: Vertical Forms, 1958, Bronze, 2.49m

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eldom does the public have the opportunity to explore and appreciate a curated display of the works of a single artist from a seminal private collection. Keyes Art Mile is hosting a comprehensive exhibition of the work of Edoardo Villa (1915–2011), one of South Africa’s most enduringly popular sculptors. The exhibition, Vertical Presence: The Sculpture of Edoardo Villa, facilitates the Villa dream of human participation, physical proximity and tactile engagement with his works. The Atrium forms the central home of the exhibition and sculptures flow into True Design and out onto Keyes Avenue for passersby and visitors to enjoy.    

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In the early 1960s, Villa became part of the Amadlosi Group, a collective brought together by gallerist Egon Guenther, which included such artists as Sydney Kumalo, Cecily Sash and Cecil Skotnes. The word ‘amadlosi’ means the ‘spirit of the ancestors’, and that was exactly what Villa strove for in his art. The influence of African art on his work is clearly visible in the mask-like Heraldic Figure (1963), as well as in Masai Girl (1963) and Head (1964). In the 1970s, Villa worked extensively with steel, and the sculpture Tree (1977) is a classic example from this period. The work references the early twentieth century cubist style of Picasso and Braque, as well as Mondrian’s series of increasingly abstract deconstructed trees. Villa’s imposing War Figure (1980) could be seen as a comment on the volatile political situation in South Africa at the time it was made, and his ‘solution’ to the political stalemate in the country, it can be argued, is to be found in works such as The Conversation (1980). 

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Left: Totem Winkie, 1992, Bronze, 2.02m Right: Abstract Forms, 1965, steel, 94cm

Villa constructed an indelible place for himself in the history of South African sculpture. Esmé Berman distinguishes between carvers (including sculptors such as Willem Hendrickz, Elsa Dziomba, Lucas Sithole, Moses Kottler and Lippy Lipshitz), modellers (including sculptors such as Anton van Wouw, Coert Steynberg, Sydney Kumalo, Bruce Arnott and Ezrom Legae) and the fabricators and constructors, such as Edoardo Villa (and others, including Ian Redelinghuys, Gavin Younge, Malcolm Payne and Vincent Baloyi). Villa and the other constructors were in perfect step with international trends in sculpture, spearheaded by David Smith in the US and Anthony Caro in the UK. 

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A number of learning opportunities will be hosted during the course of the exhibition so that visitors will be able to learn more about the artist and engage with the work on display in various different ways: • Educational workshops on 11 April 2019 • Walkabouts on Wednesday 17 April at 15:30 and on Saturday 20 April at 10:30 www.keyesartmile.co.za

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acetone veil

Sue Greeff

Opening 04 April 2019 +27214224145 | 69 Burg Street,Cape Town info@eclecticacontemporary.co.za | www.eclecticacontemporary.co.za

Breathe Desrae Chimes Saacks Nina Holmes Natasha Barnes Ben Coutouvidis Mary Visser Albert Coertse

Opening 04 April 2019

+27214224145 | 69 Burg Street,Cape Town info@eclecticacontemporary.co.za | www.eclecticacontemporary.co.za


FERRARI FINE ARTS EXHIBITION Featuring Anton Smit Scuderia Johannesburg official Ferrari dealer

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he synergy between Ferrari and Anton Smit was introduced and endorsed in 2018 by Scuderia South Africa’s COO, Jan Ungerer. His personal interest and admiration for Anton’s work has given rise to the inaugural showcase “Ferrari Fine Arts Exhibitionfeaturing Anton Smit”. “Each of our Ferrari models are each a work of art, similarly Anton Smit’s sculptures and collections represent power, emotion and design excellence as do our products. The collaboration with Anton Smit has allowed us to showcase the uniqueness and exclusivity of both Masterpieces in our market.

Above: Voëlvry. Right: Grace cut torso.

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Crouching Angel

Colossal Youth

Above: Jan Ungerer COO of Ferrari opening the event. Right: Run from yourself

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Oblivion of the waves

Anton’s work is captivating and larger than life. Those who have an appreciation for superior craftsmanship and luxury supercars, will share the same appreciation for these exceptional fine art pieces.”- Jan Ungerer COO Scuderia South Africa “Just like every Ferrari is a work of art, representing power, grace, emotion & design excellence, my work also strives for those things. I believe strongly that a well designed

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sculpture, with superior craftmanship, is the way to go in art. To me it is an honour to collaborate with such a great company.” - Anton Smit The Ferrari Fine Arts Exhibition was launched on 14th March 2019. Location: Scuderia Johannesburg, the official Ferrari dealer, 1 Bruton Road Bryanston.

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Bram reijnders No more blah blah

7 April - 27 April 2019

Daville baillie Gallery Victoria Yards, 16 Viljoen Street, Lorentzville, Johannesburg +27 82 412 9210 www.daville.co.za


ABSTRAKT

Sculpture on the Cliffs Fynarts, Hermanus June 2019 By Gordon Froud

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was approached by festival organizer Mary Faure to curate the Sculpture on the cliffs 2019 around the theme of abstraction. I looked back into the history of abstract sculpture from the 1920s to the present in order to contextualize this show. This included a closer reading of Modernist abstraction and later postmodern abstraction. The primary result is nonfigurative show (even though there are object that refer to the human body or its function) Abstraction is about form, shape, colour, texture, pattern and suggestion rather than the realistic portrayal of a subject matter. This might lead to abstract thought such as the metaphysical, how does one portray emotion or feeling or the idea of transcendence? I scoured the internet to look at which artists regularly work with nonfigurative work as their art practice and selected a range of work and artist that spoke about the many faces or approaches to abstraction in the South African context. Artists, all of whom have not shown on the cliffs are: Kgaogelo Mashilo (Cow Mash), Thulani Zondo, Rodan Kane Hart, Sybrand Wiechers, Izanne Wiid, Sandile Radebe, Carol Kuhn, Sifiso Mkhabela, Ian Redlinghuys and Sophia Van Wyk. The show encompasses geometric abstraction as seen in the work of Sandile Radebe and Sifiso Mkhabela, organic abstraction shown in the work by Carol Kuhn and Sophia Van Wyk as well as referential abstraction as seen in the work ‘Elevating Ego’ by Ian Redlinghuys. His piece (an oversized traditional chair) constructed in Aluminium refers to the body seated, but has no figure in it. Its scale monumentalises an everyday object and yet it can be read as a purely abstract form. Of this piece Redlinghuys says “A long held interest in this particular chair, (which is found all over Africa, and is locally referred to as “Lekgotla” chair, having no particular value, being made of scrap wood and very rarely constructed as a seat of importance,

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but nevertheless employed in the “lekgotla”, or village council to seat the elders,) becomes an apt metaphor for the individual’s ‘elevation’ or self-importance, (ego), as well as the comfort of easy seating, being elevated from the ground.” The range from across South Africa spans the Black/White/ Male/ Female parameters allowing the works to speak with a non-racial and non-gendered voice. There may of course be subtleties in the works that may hint at these classifications but this is not the important thing. The idea concept and execution should be such that it may transport the viewer to another place, realm or headspace – hopefully one of quietness, contemplation and beauty.

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Cow Mash Time capsule, heavy load, Concrete


In Conversation with

ANDREW SUTHERLAND Drifter - Salon91 03 April – 04 May 2019 www.salon91.co.za

Andrew Sutherland is inspired by wanderlust and the narratives that underlie human encounters with the natural world. His work relishes the delights of landscape in painted planes that combine graphic and illustrative elements with more traditionally painterly, expressive marks. His taste for adventure follows through with a long and explorative history of experimentation with different materials: watercolours, brush pens, acrylic paints, charcoal, ink, spray paint or collage on canvas, paper, wood, wall, and most recently oil paints and monotype prints. We catch up with The Artist as he prepares for his fifth solo exhibition at Salon Ninety One. ‘Drifter’ will open on the 3rd of April and run until the 4th of May. Natasha Norman: Has the inspiration for Drifter come from a specific experience of place, or the more general encounter with being in natural environments? Andrew Sutherland: Drifter is about a character who doesn’t settle. He wonders and that wondering is partly within painted spaces of pure imagination. I mean, pristine, untouched natural spaces – if they do exist – are few and far between. In my paintings that idea of pure landscape is able to exist. So this character is moving without anchor through these ideas of spaces. Sometimes he comes across the residue of habitation: a shelter or a dwelling, but for the most part I have struggled to let go of the desire to imagine the uninhabited.

Lake Crossing, 2019, Mixed media on canvas, 600 x 800mm

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NN: Is travel a very important part of your identity? AS: Yes. My work focuses on landscapes and I’ve found that you can look at all the photos in the world and you’ll never get the feeling of being outdoors. I think the word is ‘awe.’ When I get that feeling of awe I am unable to capture it in a photograph but I can translate something of that experience into a painting NN: Where does your process for a painting start? AS: Being in the natural world is a big part of my life. I love it and I think a lot of people do because we have an inherent connection with nature. Then I look for a visual reference. I’ll scour old books or the Internet, sometimes just for one image - an image that has a tone or an inexplicable ‘thing’ that I’m looking for. I just know that the image is right, I can’t explain it. Then I start painting. NN: You use a variety of mediums, how would you describe your painting practice? AS: I’ve always worked in acrylics but more recently I’ve started working in oil paint. It’s been really good working in oils. I was attracted

Above: ANDREW SUTHERLAND. Sauntering I, 2019. Oil on canvas. 400x300mm. Left: Campground, 2019, Mixed media on canvas, 700 x 900mm


Sauntering II, 2019. Mixed media on canvas. 900x800mm

to the lustre of them. It has something that acrylic doesn’t – the colour dries more vividly. I’ve had to use a different approach to painting in oils because there’s the drying time, but I like the different approach. I have also been making monotype prints for the first time. Every time I approach the monotype print it’s a process of rediscovery. NN: Do the different mediums elicit very different results? AS: With monotypes you can’t really see how it’s going to look until it’s printed. Oil is the most true in terms of applying colour to surface. Acrylic dries darker or lighter than it is painted. I use acrylic more because it is less toxic, there are no turpentine fumes. I’m

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only working in oils on small canvases at the moment, but I like the results in all of them. NN: Which are your favourite landscapes to paint? AS: I tend to paint lush landscapes. Painting a desert or a snow scene is the most challenging. It requires a lot of effort to paint very little. I would like to take on that challenge in terms of an exploration of South African landscape for a future project. Natasha Norman is an independent arts writer and artist working from her studio in Muizenberg, Cape Town.

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Christopher Moller Gallery 7 Kloofnek Road, Cape Town; www.christophermollerart.co.za; @christophermoller_gallery


SUE GREEFF

Solo exhibition, Acetone Veils Eclectica Contemporary www.eclecticacontemporary.co.za Story Clare Patrick

Round the cliff on a sudden came the sea, And the sun looked over the Mountain’s rim: And straight was a path of gold for him, And the need of a world of men for me. ~ Parting at Morning, Robert Browning (1812–1889) Bodies are used and loved, admired and exploited, pressured and cherished. Bodies are political, imbued with power and presence – challenging and vulnerable. Over recent years, bodies have regained attention, across media platforms and political debates. The conversation is universal because everybody has a body and every body deserves recognition and respect. In recent years, from the trial of Brett Kavanuagh to the Handmaid’s Tale and its iconographic uses in protests around the world, the manipulation and representation of womxn’s bodies has come into focus. For her solo exhibition with Eclectica Contemporary, Sue Greeff reflects on these topical issues alongside her own practice of working with latex and painting, that draw on her experiences of working as a midwife. The exhibition narrates themes of strength in the face of pain and complacency; Sue Greeff has woven motifs of fluidity and defiance, both figuratively and literally through each artwork. Working predominantly on canvas, Greeff grapples with the media of traditional painting and uses a referential visual language, looking to imagery from popular culture. In this way, she confronts both the history of a medium which has long objectified women for the male gaze, alongside contemporary critique of political and sociological concerns of the impact of patriarchal culture. Dialogue is a painting in which Sue Greeff confronts the viewer with an irrefutable presence, a gaze that reaches beyond the frame and holds an entire world. Acetone Veil, 2018, oil on canvas, 73 x 91cm

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Defiance, 2018, oil on canvas, 45 x 100 cm

The work represents the reality that confronts us when engaging with the discussions highlighted in the Handmaid’s Tale series, and is the result of a dialoguing process which Greeff undertook in meditation on the feelings it brought up for her. The silencing of women is not new and the complexities of speaking out against misogyny and hegemonic power structures are as challenging as ever. The dialogue of the piece confronts the audience with questions around the silenced voice and anonymity of women in a world that predicates patriarchy. Ultimately the works have been created to present a challenge to the viewer; considering not ‘what we want to become’ as a responsible

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society but rather, ‘what is it that we want to want’. Because art, in all aspects and outlets, has the capacity to illicit response and offers the opportunity for contemplation, pause and reassessment. This exhibition is both a response to the triggers of recent media and global events and an urgent call to take stock. Greeff’s artistic trajectory leans into conversations of actions and consequences, with her experience of midwifery, motherhood and involved artistic practice forming a strong basis from which to work. Her deep involvement and commitment to research, both sociological and art historical, has informed the layered references embedded in this exhibition. This is particularly evident in Lying Down, which honours a painting created by Sir William Rothenstein created in 1891.

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In reflecting on artworks across centuries, there is a line of enquiry that asks and pushes the viewer to think further about feminine representation how history informs where we are today. Her painting, Acetone Veil is a pointed investigation into the associations we may make through looking. While barring facial confrontation of the subjects in the piece, Greeff plays with visual cues that hint towards aspects of popular culture across realms of making, from television to Instagram to news footage of protests. The exhibition works across realism and abstraction – flirting with the responses and associations that can arise from either expression. Her abstract pieces accentuate the

technical propensity that the more figurative pieces depict while the confidence of obscured realisms in her more figurative pieces correlate to the intent observable in her abstractions. What this exhibition conveys is that there are no simple answers. With this body of work, Sue Greeff has lifted critical images representative of the feminine which highlight cycles of recurrence and aim to call these dynamics into question. As such, Greeff prompts further thinking through these artworks, with the awareness that there can be no easy outcome, but a hope to bring more people into the crucial and necessary conversations of our time.


CHRISTIAAN DIEDERICKS

In Search Of A New King Melrose Gallery, JHB 9 May – 9 June 2019

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he Melrose Gallery is proud to present the upcoming solo exhibition by Christiaan Diedericks – In Search Of A New King, to be held between 9 May and 9th June.

Diedericks, one of South Africa’s most widely exhibited fine artists and print makers, both locally and internationally, is known for capturing beauty in poignant, thoughtprovoking, and often painful themes. Always pushing boundaries politically, socially and religiously, as well as personally, he is as unafraid of laying down his own truth as he is of the worlds…and In Search Of A New King is one of his most personal and indeed, important exhibitions to date. For many years the artist has addressed issues of gender, sexual orientation, masculinity, body politics and environment in his work, and his audience may be forgiven for expecting similar themes in his new collective. In Search Of A New King puts issues such as poverty, the possible failure of Capitalism, power, race, racism, the appalling legacy of Apartheid and colonisation in Africa, patriarchy, global slavery, (modern corporate slavery) under a critical spotlight. Weight

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The Ferryman

In doing so, his work continues to play devil’s advocate to not only spark debate, but also to question his own position as a privileged white, Western, gay man in his country of choice. The artist realises he is only scratching the surface and continues to have many questions, having been positioned as an educated, and rather sheltered younger man who was perhaps blinded by his own upbringing. One specific question that continues to be a theme through this exhibition is “What is wrong with Africa?”

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The vast and complex answers make writing an informed exhibition statement an impossible task. Growing up with the instinctive feeling that his white forefathers and kin were intrinsically wrong, the realisation that it was indeed, immoral only came much later. The exhibition addresses more than ‘white guilt’ that so many men from his generation hold. It takes a deep responsibility for his part. In Search Of A New King attempts to address the pressing issue of ‘decolonising our minds’

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as a condition for thought insofar as it refers to the depth, rather than the superficiality involved in knowledge building communication – a depth that reflects respect rather than contempt, trust rather than suspicion. “Small stories and little truths” is paramount, one big master narrative should never prevail. We are one race – the human race. And through his work and personal admittance of fault it has become clear that many white South African men are at the stage where they need to listen, rather than

to dictate. This statement is powerful in itself, but that being said, a more comprehensive understanding is also needed. Crime and corruption in South Africa is out of hand, not to mention poverty and unemployment. After twenty years of democracy, people in South Africa of all cultures seem to be angrier than ever. While this may very well be a direct side effect of colonisation , slavery and oppression, we may now need an insurrection from black people against government lining their own pockets at the expense of the entire nation.


Redemption

The vast majority of black people are currently living under the breadline in South Africa while a handful of whites and some black people are spending millions on luxury homes, cars and extravagant lifestyles.

The aim of the exhibition is just that – to spark debate, rather than provide answers, without inviting pain and anger. Debate about possible ways forward, without adding to anyone’s past plights.

The canyon between rich and poor grows bigger every day. This, amongst many others, are just some of the themes that are laid bare in Diederick’s work.

Ultimately to learn from each others’ cultures. An undeniably powerful collection of work, In Search Of A New King is one of Diedericks’ finest solos to date. This 41-piece plus strong exhibition has enough shock value to ensure radical awareness, and more than enough beauty to awe even the most hardened art critic. This is a must-see exhibition.

One final explanation of any of the work in In Search Of A New King can ever exist. Any conversation about an artwork enriches its conceptual content and ultimately sparks conversation and debate – something this rich and controversial, but highly necessary body of work does with every offering.

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Modern & Contemporary African Art Madison Avenue, New York | 2 May 2019

ENQUIRIES Giles Peppiatt + 44 (0) 20 7468 8355 macaa@bonhams.com

MOHAU MODISAKENG (SOUTH AFRICAN, BORN 1986) Untitled (Frame X), 2012 $9,000 – 12,000


BRAM REIJNDERS No more blah blah Daville Baillie Gallery JHB 07 - 27 April 2019 www.daville.co.za

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he Dutch artist Bram Reijnders, who holds his first South African exhibition in April, roams the world capturing incidental spaces in his photography. These he constructs into large, three dimensional, pop-inspired wall hangings. In his own words he is, “inhaling impressions of our times and exhaling these impressions as an aesthetic.” Here he talks about his upcoming exhibition.

You have been an art dealer before you became full time practicing artist. How have these two roles interfaced with each other? In 2000, I travelled around the world and when I came in a small fishing village and I saw a fantastic painting. I was in love with it. I reserved that work of art, but the next day when I came back to buy it, it was already sold to someone else. My head ached for two days. Then I realized that if art could touch me that way I wanted to spend the rest of my life dealing with art. Before I started my art career I first wanted to learn, so I started an art gallery, importing artists from Brazil, young artists, to Europe. I grew a gallery called Abraham Art. It is now the largest gallery and art lease in the Benelux. But I wanted to create as well as sell art. I’m only 44, and I think that through my travels and exhibitions I have, in these years, more or less covered the world. There has only been one piece of the puzzle lacking, and that is representation in Africa. So I have struck up a relationship with Daville Baillie Gallery that shares some of my vision. What is your ambition around your presence here in South Africa? I think my work has developed so far that I am doing something with a unique technique. I think that technique should carry the process of appealing to people; and while

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I like marketing and I can do my own PR, it has been important in these five years to focus on the technical aspect, something I feel that can be lacking in the contemporary art world. Marketing becomes more important than the basics. So what is your technique? I basically take very big layers from billboards on the streets. These are kind of urban jungle leftovers of people who want to show some message. So I think it is symbolic, and it has life itself. I don’t start with a canvas I start with these things that I take at night from the street. I always hope that the police won’t catch me. This material gives me an opportunity. There are so many layers that you can work on it in a completely different way to canvas. So there are layers upon layers, sometimes 20 layers, of images almost peeling away. It becomes sculptural. The works are large and can reach up to two metres. I work with several themes. I like to work in in the pop art scene, but I see pop art as a more or less an American thing, like Mickey Mouse and Campbell’s soup and so on. But I try to take more international subjects to a universal level. So, in South Africa I hope I will be ready with a series based on the things I see here. My photography is a representation of ordinary things I have encountered in my travels, and I think there is, everywhere, a pop rhythm that you can find. I think it’s a little bit boring to be just sticking to the American idiom. Through my photography and constructions, I build stories about society. They’re not just decorative pieces. So I did a show around the inauguration of Trump and it was dubbed Truth is a Product, showing the business of truth as a product of entertainment. Other than that I take in the whole world when I travel. I take pieces of the whole world, and I think this is contemporary pop art, but just not using the American language, but using a different language. Etcetera II, 70 x 70cm, Photography, resin, Found objects, Paint, Layers

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Crossing of Cultivation, 200cm X 100cm, Photography, resin, Found objects, Paint, Layers

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Beacon of life I, 130cm x 130cm, Photography, resin, Found objects, Paint, Layers

And why is the South African show called No more blah blah? I think we live in a world with a lot of opinions. And I think sometimes we -– including myself –- should shut up and listen better. How does your method and the work on exhibition actually speak to that title? I work around the subject in different ways; so I have pop items, pop metaphors that I’m using to describe the message. So sometimes you will see in the background the words “Blah Blah Blah” with Mickey Mouse flying through the cosmos looking for a new universe, with planets that are called Blah Blah. You’ll see a famous actress putting her finger in front of her mouth telling us to no more blah blah.

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You use photography from your world travels, and so what have you used from your visit to South Africa to create your 3D sculpture? I have made two big pieces that concern my journey to South Africa. As I’ve said, Pop art is so often related to the American imaginary that I have gone in the opposite direction and made some pieces based on what I found. I have been able to get great pop elements from fruit stalls I photographed in Soweto. These are big pieces and they use many elements to celebrate the moment with a contemporary pop feeling. No more blah blah runs at the Daville Baillie Gallery, Victoria Yards, Lorentzville from 7 to 27 April 2019. More info www.daville.co.za

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E X HI B I T I O N S • Franschoek Gallery - Grande Provence • Knysna Knysna Fine Arts • Hermanus Rossouw Modern • Pretoria Menlyn Boutique Hotel Menlyn Maine Precinct • Rosebank JHB Melrose Arch Gallery • Bryanston Scuderia Ferrari


SASOL NEW SIGNATURES ART COMPETITION www.sasolsignatures.co.za

How limitless is your artistic reach? Entries now open for Sasol New Signatures 2019. Johannesburg, South Africa – Entries are now officially open for the annual Sasol New Signatures Art Competition. Being the longest running competition of its kind in South Africa, Sasol New Signatures has over the years provided a platform for unknown artists to break into the mainstream. In 2019 Sasol celebrates 30 years of sponsoring the competition. Elton Fortuin, Sasol Vice President for Group Communication and Brand Management said: “Over the last three decades of Sasol’s involvement, working in partnership with the Association of Arts Pretoria, the competition has produced deserving winners, many of whom are now household names in the South African and global art world”. This annual competition is open to all South African artists who are 18 years and older who have not yet held a solo exhibition. Artists who have held a solo exhibition for academic purposes, i.e. a Masters Degree exhibition, are allowed to enter. Artists are able to submit artworks in all artistic mediums including photography, performance art, video and installations. Since 2001, the Sasol New Signatures Art Competition has hosted Information Sessions for potential entrants, with the aim of giving them the opportunity to gain much needed technical information regarding format, size, media and layout of entered works, as well as valuable advice regarding the presentation of competition standard work. Acclaimed artist, judge and Sasol New Signatures Chairperson, Dr Pieter Binsbergen, said: “The Information Sessions

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offer a platform for entrants to understand the genre in which the competition falls, in order to remain internationally recognised as cutting edge. Taking the form of an informal panel discussion regarding trends in contemporary visual communication, artists have the opportunity to pose questions regarding the conceptual process and execution of their proposed entries. Discussions will centre on the choice of mode, the challenges of concept and form meeting materiality, and the end product functioning as vehicle for contemporary visual communication”. There are also national Feedback Sessions, where those entering the competition are given feedback on the spot by the judges as to why certain entries were accepted and others not. “Sasol is aware of the benefits of visual art and the impact it has on social justice and cohesion as well as encouraging artists to be

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Winners 2018 with Dr Pieter Binsbergen at Pretoria Art Museum

fearless in their artistry, challenging society to evaluate the lenses through which it views the world and to strive for a limitless approach to contemporary art. Artists no longer just contemplate life, but rather they engage, they comment on and seek to challenge existing ideas, as well as established artistic practices. Today’s artists work in a culturally diverse global environment aided by an even faster changing technological environment” added Elton Fortuin. Contemporary, innovative and emerging artists with winning aspirations are invited to submit their artworks at one of several collection points around the country between 10h00 and 16h00 on Tuesday, 18 June 2019 and Wednesday, 19 June 2019. The winner of the Sasol New Signatures Art Competition will be announced on 21 August at a gala event, after which the winning works will be displayed at the prestigious Pretoria Art Museum from Thursday, 22 August 2019 to Sunday, 29 September 2019. The winner

will receive R100 000 and a solo exhibition at next year’s exhibition, with the runner up winning R25 000 and the five merit award winners receiving R10 000 each. Jessica Kapp, 2018 winner, will hold her first solo exhibition within the official Sasol New Signatures exhibition. Kapp had this to say to artists thinking of entering in 2019: “Put your best foot forward and enter! There is nothing to lose and so much to gain by putting yourself out there, and exposing your work to a larger audience. It is an amazing platform and you learn a lot about yourself and your aspirations” For more information on the exhibition and works for sale, visit: www.sasolsignatures. co.za Or contact: Nandi Hilliard from the Association of Arts Pretoria on 012 346 3100, 083 288 5117 or artspta@mweb.co.za. Twitter: #SasolNewSignatures


YINKA SHONIBARE WIND SCULPTURE REVEALED At Norval Foundation, in a first for South Africa

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Yinka Shonibare CBE exhibition is now open at Norval Foundation, Cape Town’s hottest new art destination. Trade Winds: Yinka Shonibare CBE traces the works of the British-Nigerian artist best known for his monumental Wind Sculptures. These sculptures are displayed in spectacular locations worldwide, from Central Park in New York to Trafalgar Square in London and now at the inaugural Cape Town exhibition. A central piece of this exhibition is the monumental Wind Sculpture (SG)III, recently acquired by Norval Foundation, which will be permanently installed in the Sculpture Garden. “I am thrilled that Wind Sculpture (SG)

III has been acquired by Norval Foundation, bringing visibility to my work in Africa,” says Shonibare.”The principle of this acquisition will resonate far beyond the institution itself. I can’t tell you how proud I am.” This exhibition brings together a series of Yinka Shonibare CBE work including sculptures, photographs and a major installation, created between 2008 and 2018, all connected by the golden thread of Dutch Wax fabric. Trade Winds: Yinka Shonibare CBE takes as its starting point an appreciation for the fabric’s materiality and the conceptual as well as historical meanings associated with it. Another highlight of this exhibition is Shonibare’s African Library (2018), the most recent iteration

Right: Yinka Shonibare CBE, Wind Sculpture SG (III), 2018, Steel armature with hand painted fibreglass resin cast, 700 x 254 x 200 cm Above: Michele Mathison, Volition, 2017, Steel, 375 x 95 x 162cm 60

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120 W W W. A R T G O . C O . Z A Wim Botha, Study for the Epic Mundane, 2013, Books, wood, steel rods and hardware


Wim Botha, Study for the Epic Mundane, 2013, Books, wood, steel rods and hardware 64

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Left: Nandipha Mntambo, Ophelia, Brass. Above: Victor Ehikhamenor, Isimagodo (The Unknowable), 2016, Enamel paint and steel, 450 x 200 x 150 cm

of his library series honouring first or second generation immigrants who have shaped a country’s social, political or cultural life. Approximately 4,900 books, covered in Dutch Wax fabric, are emblazoned with the names of immigrants in gold on the spines of key books. African Library includes a reading area where biographical details of these notable Africans can be accessed along with archival footage of leaders of African independence movements. Alongside African Library, Shonibare’s five part photographic series Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters (2008) is included in Trade Winds: Yinka Shonibare CBE. Drawing upon the eighteenth-century Spanish artist Francisco Goya’s satiric etching of the same name, which is part of Goya’s seminal Los Caprichos (17971799) suite of etchings, Shonibare’s works are similarly critical of humanity’s ability to be truly rational. Each of Shonibare’s five photographs relate to a specific continent, acting as personifications of these land masses. Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters (Asia) for example features a figure of African descent who is attired in Dutch Wax fabric.


Brett Murray, Again Again, 2015, Bronze, 250x 80x260cm

Shonibare reminds us that within the context of globalisation, peoples and cultures move across the world, influencing and shaping one another – unsettling simplistic understandings of identity, place and culture. The two figurative sculptures included in this exhibition, Boy Balancing Knowledge II (2016) and Butterfly Kid (Girl) IV (2017), while playful, nonetheless suggest significant subjects for the next generation: escape from an environmentally compromised planet, and the weight and precariousness of our systems of knowledge.

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“Yinka Shonibare’s aesthetically and conceptually diverse body of artwork emphasises the human figure as a site of investigation, which sculpturally results in a chimeric mythical figure, clad in the wings of a butterfly and globe for a head in Butterfly Kid (Girl) IV,”says Portia Malatjie, Adjunct Curator. As locals and visitors alike prepare to celebrate art during the Cape Town Art Fair, be sure to visit Cape Town’s newest art destination Norval Foundation and experience this powerful exhibition by Yinka Shonibare CBE in a first for South Africa.

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Business Art News

KOYO KOUOH

Zeitz MOCAA’s new executive director, chief curator zeitzmocaa.museum

A passionate visionary Active in the critical field of the arts community in a Pan-African and international scope, she has a remarkable list of publications under her name, including the upcoming “RAW Académie: A Matter of Knowledge”, “Word! Word? Word! Issa Samb and The Undecipherable Form” (2013) and “Condition Report on Building Art Institutions in Africa” (2012) to name a few.

Koyo Kouoh is Zeitz MOCAA’s new executive director, chief curator

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oyo Kouoh will serve as the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa’s (Zeitz MOCAA) new executive director and chief curator. Although the appointment is effective immediately, her full-time position as executive director and chief curator will commence on 6 May 2019 - from the on, the wider executive team of Zeitz MOCAA will comprise of Koyo Kouoh, executive director and chief curator; Brooke Minto, director of institutional advancement; and Fawaz Mustapha, director of operations. Kouoh brings two decades of experience as an international curator and cultural producer to her new role. As the founding artistic director of the RAW Material Company, a centre for art, knowledge and society in Dakar, she developed numerous art programmes and published widely on contemporary art. She has served as curator of the educational and artistic programme of 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair for eight consecutive editions in London and New York, as well as on the curatorial teams for Documenta 12 and 13.

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“Koyo is an outstanding leader and a passionate visionary who has an exemplary competence and extended network in all capacities of institutional operations with the arts in Africa and globally. She will be invaluable to Zeitz MOCAA in writing a progressive vision for the museum,” said Jochen Zeitz and David Green, co-founders and co-chairpeople of Zeitz MOCAA. “I have known and worked with Koyo for many years on projects related to the contemporary art of Africa and much more. I believe that she will be a huge contributor to the further development of Zeitz MOCAA as an institution as her knowledge of the continent’s contemporary players contributing to Africa’s cultural history will help the museum with its core intentions of being a major voice in the field of visual culture. The trustees have made a bold and daring choice that indicates the museum’s ambitions,” said Gavin Jantjes, chair of the Zeitz MOCAA curatorial advisory group. On her appointment, Kouoh said: “I am thrilled to be joining Zeitz MOCAA in an executive and curatorial capacity at this crucial time in the museum’s development. It is an unprecedented opportunity to create a strong home for the production, exhibition, discussion and collection of contemporary art in Africa.”

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WE ARE INVITING CONSIGNMENTS FOR OUR

MONTHLY AUCTIONS

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Business Art News

STRAUSS & CO SHATTERS R100-MILLION BARRIER www.straussart.com

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ape Town: A packed salesroom punctuated by enthusiastic applause acknowledged the fierce rivalry among collectors for top paintings, unseen in decades, at Strauss & Co’s red-letter autumn sale. The sale culminated in a record-breaking tally of R106 million in sales at a value sell-through rate of 93%. This performance is unrivalled in the marketplace.

Irma Stern cemented her status as the most sought-after South African artist at auction when three paintings from her celebrated Zanzibar period (1939–45) sold for a combined value of R52 million. Adding to the buoyant mood was the sale of Alexis Preller’s seminal cabinet painting Collected Images (Orchestration of Themes) for just over R10 million, a new South African record. Frank Kilbourn, Strauss & Co’s chairman, said: “This is the first-ever art auction in South Africa to achieve over R100 million in sales. The sellthrough rate of 93% is also unprecedented. It is a historic moment for the company and a wonderful way to celebrate our tenth year of business.” Kilbourn added: “This outstanding result is a major vote of confidence for Strauss & Co and the South African art market in general. We are especially grateful to our clients, both buyers and sellers, for entrusting their works with us.” The top-selling lot at Strauss & Co’s sale was a previously unrecorded Stern portrait of an Omani nobleman from the court of the Sultanate of Zanzibar. Painted during Stern’s second visit to Zanzibar in 1945 and acquired directly from the artist by the late collector Sol Munitz, Stern’s painting Arab sold to a telephone bidder for R20 484 000.

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The Munitz Collection consigned 15 lots to the sale, including Stern’s The Mauve Sari from 1946, which sold for R14 794 000, and Gerard Sekoto’s Saturday Afternoon, a bucolic street scene from his esteemed Eastwood period, which sold for R3 072 600. Paintings consigned from the Shill Collection also achieved outstanding prices. They included the world-record Preller work, as well as Stern’s 1939 portrait of a young woman wearing a yellow headscarf, Meditation, Zanzibar, which sold for R17 070 000 attracting the attention of a first-time Stern buyer. Also from the Shill Collection, Gwelo Goodman’s Interior Looking Out, Stellenrust sold for R216 220 and a small bronze of a bull by sculptor Sydney Kumalo achieved R421 060. The sale also included two important collections of decorative arts, notably a fine selection of Chinese and Japanese ceramics and works art from the Dr J.R. and Mary Strong Collection. International bidders vied by telephone for the Chinese pieces. A celadon and beige jade twohandled vase with five-clawed dragon motifs from the late Qing dynasty sold R227 600. A robin’s egg blue-glazed vase trounced the presale estimate, achieving R136 560, while a pale celadon jade brush washer fetched R96 730. There was also considerable interest in the Strong Collection’s carved pieces. A trio of Chinese snuff bottles, including a pink tourmaline example depicting a qilin (mythological hoofed creature), sold for R54 624. A nineteenth-century wood netsuke depicting a seated tiger achieved R34 140, the top price for a netsuke. The top lot from the Dr Johan Bolt Collection of important Cape furniture was a rare Southern Cape Neoclassical jonkmanskas from the early 19th century, which sold for R512 100. Right: Irma Stern, SOUTH AFRICAN 1894-1966, Arab, R 12 000 000 - 16 000 000, Sold R 20 484 000, The Sol Munitz Collection

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Irma Stern, 1894-1966, Meditation, Zanzibar, R 15 000 000 - 20 000 000, Sold R 17 070 000, The Shill Collection

An important south-western Cape Neoclassical settee exhibited at the Gemeentemuseum, Den Haag, in 2002 sold for R227 600. Bina Genovese, Strauss & Co’s joint managing director, said: “This sale further underscores Strauss & Co’s ability to handle top works from important single-owner collections. Our business is fundamentally about relationships. Consigning major collections for auction takes years, often decades of dedicated commitment to a single client.” Vanessa Phillips, Strauss & Co’s joint managing director, first met Dr Strong in 1978. Her association with collectors Mavis and Louis Shill dates back to the late 1990s.

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These longstanding relationships with toptier collectors are a hallmark Strauss & Co’s business model, which emphasises provenance and quality. Added Genovese: “Many of the top lots had not traded hands in decades. We were greatly encouraged by the public response to our preview exhibition, which drew unprecedented numbers of visitors and bidders to the Vineyard Hotel to view these important pieces. Presentation, along with the Strauss & Co modus operandi contributed to the success of this sale.” Visiting British auctioneer and art specialist Dendy Easton handled the premier evening

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Landscape, an evening-coloured oil on board painted in 1926, sold for R398 300. An Extensive Mountain Landscape, formerly owned by the Scottish family Linney, achieved R 375 540. Post-war artists Peter Clarke, Erik Laubscher and Cecil Skotnes also drew strong bids. Painted in 1960, Clarke’s architectural landscape, Farm House, sold for R284 500. Icon, a tall carved, incised and painted wood panel by Skotnes from 1965, sold for R512 100. Laubscher’s mid-period Still Life with Jug, Bowl and Fruit from the 1960s confirmed his status at auction and sold for R910 400.

Irma Stern, 1894-1966, Still Life with Ginger Plant, R 2 000 000 - 3 000 000, Sold R 6 145 200

Stern performed remarkably well across all categories of her work. A 1937 work titled Still Life with Ginger Plant sold for R6 145 000. All six works consigned by the Irma Stern Trust Collection found buyers, including two gouaches, both titled Two Women, from 1953 and 1961, which fetched R153 630 and R142 250 respectively. Other notable sales included a strong performance by painters Judith Mason and Walter Meyer, both represented by four works apiece. Mason’s oil on board Horse was her best performing work, selling for R204 840, while Meyer’s sunburnt study of Smithfield in the Free State sold for R108 100.

Alexis Preller, 1911-1975, Collected Images (Orchestration of Themes), R 7 000 000 - 9 000 000, Sold R 10 014 400, SA RECORD, The Shill Collection

session at Strauss & Co’s pacesetting sale, which noticeably bucked a recent trend of sluggish bidding. Buyer appetite for quality works was immediately evident when Easton opened the session with two impressive oils by Gwelo Goodman. Both works achieved solid prices: a historic picture of the Old Town House in Cape Town sold for R546 240, while a landscape titled Full of Flushed Heat – Tulbagh sold for R512 100. JH Pierneef is Strauss & Co’s second-highest grossing artist and once again demonstrated his broad appeal. There was a palpable buzz in the salesroom when his 11 by 13,5cm casein, Golden Gate, came up for sale – the work eventually sold for R227 600. Extensive

The daylong sale commenced with three sessions devoted to the decorative arts. A painted and glazed ceramic by Esias Bosch depicting a vase of indigenous flowers in a landscape, sold for R739 700, doubling the previous record achieved at Strauss & Co’s October 2018 sale. The decorative arts catalogue brought in a total of R10.6 million in sales, underscoring the importance of this discriminating collector category. Founded in 2009, Strauss & Co is the world’s leading auction house for South African art. Its next sale will be held at the Wanderers Club in Johannesburg in May. Following November’s well-received focus on under appreciated artists working in the period between 1910 and 1994, the forthcoming sale will cast a spotlight on influential art teachers and their students. Entries close end March. www.straussart.co.za


Business Art News

STEPHAN WELZ & CO A New Dawn

www.stephanwelzandco.co.za

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ur autumn 2019 auction marks the first auction Stephan Welz & Co. will hold under new ownership. This new venture has marked wonderful new changes for Stephan Welz & Co. as we look forward to exciting new, category specific auctions, and expanding the horizons for our operations, both for ourselves and our committed collector base.

Our first premium auction in JHB will be held on the 29 and 30th of April at the Killarney Country Club. We are excited to feature names such as Alexis Preller, Jacob Pierneef, Sydney Kumalo, Adriaan Boshoff, William Kentridge, Frans Oerder, Maurice van Essche and Irma Stern along with a strong showing from our regular departments such as books, cars, stamps, silver, and furniture among others.

Alexis Preller, Seychelles Girl, signed and dated ‘49, oil on canvas laid down on board, 49,5 by 50,5cm, R 1 000 000 – R 1 500 000

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Jacob Hendrik Pierneef, Winterveld, signed, oil on canvas, 34,5 by 44,5cm, R600 000 – R900 000

A Solitaire Diamond Ring, 7.37 Carats, R595 000 – R695 000

Jaguar XK14034, C Type Head, R2 000 000 – R2 200 000

The first online, timed auction will be held from 14-21 May. This will be an art and art book auction, featuring an extensive range of desirable objects. Our winter sale in Cape Town will be held on the 10th and 11th of June at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens and we welcome new consignments for departments such as books, cars, fine art, silver and furniture among others. We are currently consigning art and objects for our mid-year auction in Johannesburg and extend an open invitation to all interested collectors to contact us for a confidential and obligationfree evaluation of their collectables.

Sydney Alex Kumalo, Seated Figure, bronze, signed and numbered, R250 000 – R350 000


Business Art News

ART AS AN INVESTMENT ASSET www.aspireart.net

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rtists, art lovers and the vast majority of serious collectors make or buy art for the love of it. And that’s how it should be. But there remains a fascination with art’s investment potential, and how much it can be worth at the very top end of the international and domestic South African markets. While it’s true that it’s often difficult to quantify the enormous investment possibilities of art, recent research offers us a more accurate big picture. Last year the total art market was valued at $67.4bn – an increase of 6% year on year. Among the individual sales contributing to that revenue was perhaps the most famous single art sale of recent years, the purchase of the last Leonardo da Vinci to be held in private hands, for $450m (R6.5bn) at Christie’s New York in 2017. These massive individual sales are in fact relatively unusual, since such works are generally owned by museums and public collections and don’t appear at auctions. Perhaps more persuasive from an investment point of view is the case of a work by living artist Richard Prince: acquired for $38,125 in May 2000 at Sotheby’s in New York, the painting All I’ve heard (1988) sold for over $2.5 million in November 2017. For the seller, that’s a return of +6,550% in just over 17 years, or an average annual ROI of +28%. Even more impressive is the return on a painting by New York artist Jean Michel Basquiat, who also holds the record price for a work of contemporary art, when his painting Untitled (1984) sold for $110.5m in 2017. His Jim Crow (1986) sold for $136 362 at Christie’s in London in 1992 – in 2017 the same work sold at Christie’s in Paris for $17.7m. Basquiat, Jim Crow Image courtesy Christie’s (www.christies.com)

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Marlene Dumas, Love Lost Sold at Aspire 2019, R7 283 200

These huge numbers at the top end of the market indicate the growing international trend to acquire top examples of contemporary art, largely debunking the starving artist myth of previous centuries. The trend is no less true in South Africa. In terms of actual investment returns, the contemporary art segment is one of the best alternatives to traditional financial investments. In the segment the average annual yield is +8.1%, and the average holding period for a work of contemporary art (i.e. between its acquisition at an auction and its sale at another auction) is only nine years. This means that the contemporary art segment is fuelled by a market continuously supplied with new works. Other segments suffer a progressive contraction of prices as the major pieces gradually disappear from the market to join museum collections, with an inevitable negative impact on the segments’ overall quality. Since January 2000, the price index for contemporary art globally has increased +88%, compared with +85% for the S&P 500. Over 18 years, the two indices have posted roughly equivalent gains of +3.5% per year, on average. The segment therefore performs as well as US equities, and outperforms

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George Pemba, Revival, Sold at Aspire 2017, R454 720

both the CAC40 and the FTSE 100 over that time. It provides the perfect opportunity for an alternative investment to diversify an investment portfolio. In the South African market, comparable returns on investment are achievable as this market grows at an even higher rate than that of its American and European counterparts.

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But no matter where in the world it is, the key to successful investment in art is targeting and acquiring the right signatures and works. There are only four South African artists who appear in the Global Top 500, gauged by auction turnover: J.H. Pierneef, Irma Stern, William Kentridge and Marlene Dumas. The fact that all of these artists have an established

collector profile and performance level at auction means that the barrier to entry in their markets is relatively high, at least for rare and high-quality works by each artist. The sale of a work by Dumas in South Africa, at a recent Aspire auction in Cape town, established a new local auction record of R7 283 200, an indication of the price levels at which works by these artists changes hands.


Outside of these top global South African signatures, an artist like Alexis Preller is a good example of potential returns from investment in art locally. Largely only known and collected in South Africa, Preller’s work showed no great investment profile until relatively recently. Between his death in 1975 and a work achieving a price of R1.5m in 2008, his market had been flat. With the appearance of an authoritative visual biography in 2010 helping to develop and grow his market, prices steadily increased, surpassing the R9m mark in October 2018 at an Aspire sale in Johannesburg for a work entitled Adam (1972). For other art in the South African canon, the under-represented work of various black artists during the mid- to late-twentieth century is becoming steadily more collectable, helped by the recent exhibition The Black Aesthetic, which brought the best work of artists like Dumile Feni, Sydney Kumalo and George Pemba together in a major show for the first time in many years. The collectable value of a particular artist is of course never guaranteed, particularly in an auction environment where pricing is transparently set by previous auction precedent. But much can be done to evaluate which art and artists might become a good investment for the future. Where an artist has been doing well and showing at prestigious venues, this will help the resale and auction prices achieved. This is true, for example, of Cape Town-based contemporary artist Athi-Patra Ruga, whose prices have escalated by hundreds of thousands in a few short years since his debut at auction in 2016. Collectors also need to pay attention to the quality of works within a particular artist’s oeuvre in order to realize resale value. Education and advice are always available and close attention to the markets, as with any other asset class, is vital.

Dumile Feni, Children Under Apartheid (Detail) Sold at Aspire 2017, R1 250 480

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We’re searching for South Africa’s best artistic talent. Enter now.

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WHY BUY AT AUCTION?

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Above: Christiaan Nice (SA 1939-) Donkey Cart at the local shop, signed, oil on canvas on board, 44 by 60cm - Sold for R28 830. Right: Eagle, Arend Eloff (SA 1964-) BLACK EAGLE, signed and numbered 2/15, bronze, height (excl base): 78cm Sold for R96 100

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uctions have been around since the dawn of time, and still, there are many people that are firstly not aware of the auction market, and secondly there are many stigmas attached to it. The general impressions is that auctions are either for property or cattle, people talk exceptionally fast, if you sneeze you bought it, and that there are people sitting in the audience bidding against you…..but nothing can be further from the truth. Auctions are a one-of-a-kind buying experience that has a lot of perks. Yet, only a percentage of consumers take advantage of the auction process. The good news is there are a million reasons to jump in and realize the benefits of buying at auction. Read on to discover a few reasons why to buy anything and everything at auction.

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Variety Auctions deal in the rare, unique, and priceless as well as staples. Mixed amongst the paintings, sturdy oak tables, and vinyl records are gems for every taste.This is where the notion of “picking” comes from. Pickers search through the everyday items for the surprising stuff. From diamond jewelry to ancient Central American pottery, from Hot Wheels to Model T’s – auctions sell it all. You can buy items to furnish and decorate your home, adorn a loved one, drive in, and play with….Once you learn to see it, you’ll find novelty everywhere Great deals The chief rule of auction buying is never pay more than you want. Unlike retail buying where prices are set in stone, auction prices

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(Detail) J H Pierneef (SA 1886-1957) Farm House In A Vast Landscape, signed and dated 19, watercolour over pencil on paper, 14 by 18,5cm - Sold for R36 038

are set by how much buyers are willing to pay. At auctions and in retail, all buyers have a super power–the power to walk away. A buyer walks into the auction knowing how much they want to pay for an item. If the bidding goes above that price, the bidder walks away and the item goes home with someone who got it for the price they wanted. If you follow that principle, you will never pay more than you want for an item at auction, and you might just pay less. If you miss out on the item of your choice, hold onto your shorts; a similar item will always come back to the auction sooner or later. Transparency Auctions are transparent. Every sale, from tiny trinkets to dream homes, happens in public in front of all interested parties usually with terms of sale clearly laid out in accessible

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written form. The price is set right before your eyes, not in a corporate office or a private meeting. Commissions payable are always noted in the terms and conditions and staff are available to talk to if more information is needed. Instant Gratification Like retail shopping, you get to take home your winnings the same day. Auctioning a single item takes merely minutes. There is nothing like instant gratification. Excitement Buying at auction is exciting because they are fast-paced and competitive. Like sports, auctions are great live entertainment. Each item grabs your attention as you listen with all your senses to figure out who bid how much, and who got what deal, before they move onto

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the next item. Beyond sheer entertainment they can satisfy that competitive bone some people have in their bodies. Reliability Some auction house schedules are extremely reliable. Meaning, they hold auctions on a regular predictable schedule. Resellers appreciate reliability so they can always stock up on new merchandise. It also comes in handy for the average shopper. Online catalogues are available on the website pre the auction to check out the items and pre auction viewings are generally scheduled a few days before the auction for on-site viewing. Time Tested Auctions are one of the oldest ways to buy. They were very popular in the Roman economy and have had two thousand years to sort out

how they work and make them better. In the 20th and 21st Centuries the process has been refined by associations like NAA to be fair, efficient, transparent, fast, convenient, and reliable. Combine that exceptional process with great deals and continuous novelty and entertainment– you can’t go wrong. So, find an auction house near you, and give it a try. Old Johannesburg Warehouse Auctioneers are all off the above rolled into one. With monthly scheduled auctions, more than 1200 varied lots per auction, online catalogues, reliable service and great staff; visit our website today: www.oldjwauctioneers.com or call us 011 836 1560 for more information on buying or selling.


Art Times Presents

NEW BLOOD FOR A NEW WORLD

www.arttimes.co.za/newblood APRIL NEWBLOOD WINNER!

Sian Lawrenson, Grade 12, Untitled, Herschel Well Done Sian! Best, Gabriel Clark-Brown, Editor: SA Art Times

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Piet Tohlang, Grade 12, Untitled, Abbotts College


Kylie Townsend, Grade 12, See the wood for the trees, Somerset College


Elizabeth Seth Flaum, Meyer, Grade Fantasy 10, world, Untitled, Treverton Hyde Park College, Mooiriver, KZN


Torey Wiget-Beattie, Grade 12, Vulnerability, Springfield Convent


Carla Wolhuter, Grade 12, War, Hoerskool Zwartkop


Nelie Lotter, grade 11, joyful, Collegiate


W W W. A R T T I M E S . C O . Z A Calista Graham, Grade 11, Passion for fashion, Collegiate


Rose Schafermann, Grade 11, Untitled, Saint Mary’s, Kloof


Kirsty Roberts,Grade 12, Smile, pencil on paper, Krugersdorp High


Olivia Black, Grade 11, In Focus, Fish Hoek High

Simthandile Witbooi, Grade 12, Rustenberg Girls High School


Uandi Turner, Grade 12, Her Guardian, Westering High

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E-MAIL YOUR ARTWORK TO NEWBLOOD AND STAND A CHANCE TO WIN R 1000 E-mail your artwork direct to newblood@arttimes.co.za Please include your name, age, grade and school and stand a chance to win R1000 and have your artwork uploaded onto the Newblood website.


James Hund, grade11, Untitled, St Johns

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EXHIBITIONS & GALLERY GUIDE: APRIL 2019 • Ongoing Shows: April 2019 • Opening Exhibitions: April 2019

Andrew Sutherland, Ramble, 2019, Oil On Canvas, 420 X 290mm


ARTGO.CO.ZA

ONGOING SHOWS: APRIL 2019

SMITH AFTERIMAGE BY KATHERINE BULL UNTIL 06/04/2019

THE MELROSE GALLERY OUT OF THE FURNACE WILLIE BESTER AND WOLF WERDIGIER UNTIL 14/04/2019

WWW.SMITHSTUDIO.CO.ZA

OLIEWENHUIS ART MUSEUM LIGHT CONVERSATIONS CURATED BY THE ART MUSEUM GUIDES UNTIL 07/04/2019 WWW.NASMUS.CO.ZA

UNTIL 06/04/2019

UNTIL 07/04/2019

UNTIL 14/04/2019

OLIEWENHUIS ART MUSEUM #5WOMENARTISTS CAMPAIGN UNTIL 08/05/2019

STEVENSON CT WIM BOTHA UNTIL 11/05/2019

SMAC JHB GROUP EXHIBITION HOLDING STILL - PSYCHOLOGY AND PORTRAITURE UNTIL 19/04/2019

WWW.NASMUS.CO.ZA

WWW.STEVENSON.INFO

WWW.SMACGALLERY.COM

UNTIL 08/05/2019

UNTIL 11/05/2019

UNTIL 19/04/2019

IS ART GALLERY RALPH JOHNSON AND HANNES VAN ZYL CERAMIC AND PAINTING EXHIBITION UNTIL 21 APRIL

SMAC STELLENBOSCH BELINDA BLIGNAUT WORKING FROM THE INSIDE UNTIL 26/04/2019

OLIEWENHUIS ART MUSEUM CENTENNIAL, A CENTURY OF SOUTH AFRICAN ART FROM THE SANLAM ART COLLECTION, 1918 - 2018 14/03/2019 UNTIL 28/04/2019 WWW.NASMUS.CO.ZA

UNTIL 21 APRIL 104

WWW.SMACGALLERY.COM UNTIL 26/04/2019 W W W. A R T G O . C O . Z A

WWW.THEMELROSEGALLERY.CO.ZA

UNTIL 28/04/2019


5 th Avenue Fine Art Auctioneers Pierneef, Casein ~ On Auction 7th April 2019

We are now inviting entries for this auction. Closing date 20th March 2019

www.5thaveauctions.co.za

Enquiries: stuart@5aa.co.za ~ 011 781 2040 Art, antiques, objets d’art, furniture, and jewellery wanted for forthcoming auctions

Gerard Sekoto, oil on board SOLD R155,000 View previous auction results at www.rkauctioneers.co.za

011 789 7422 • 083 675 8468 • 12 Allan Road, Bordeaux, Johannesburg


ARTGO.CO.ZA

ONGOING SHOWS: APRIL 2019

ART@AFRICA POST PARIS:REDISCOVERING AFRICA A SOLO BY MAUREEN QUIN UNTIL 30/04/2019 WWW.ARTATAFRICA.ART UNTIL 30/04/ 2019

UNTIL 30/04/2019

UNTIL 30.04.2019

UNTIL 30/04/2019

ECLECTICA ART AND ANTIQUES TERENCE JOHN MCCAW - PORTRAIT OF AN ARAB SHEIKH 01/04/2019 UNTIL 30/04/2019 WWW.ECLECTICAARTANDANTIQUES.CO.ZA

INFIN ART 9 WOLFE ST, CHELSEA, WYNBERG, CAPE TOWN, 7800 021 761 2816 01/04/2019 UNTIL 30/04/2019 WWW.INFINART.CO.ZA

UNTIL 30/04/2019

UNTIL 30/04/2019

UNTIL 30/05/2019

UNTIL 31/07/2019

MARITZ MUSEUM NICOLAAS MARITZ 01/04/2019 UNTIL 30/04/2019 HTTPS://SITES.GOOGLE.COM/VIEW/ NICOLAASMARITZGALLERY

UNTIL 30/04/2019 106

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WWW.ARTGO.CO.ZA

OPENING EXHIBITIONS

APRIL 2019 WEEKS 1-4 Artwork: Bram Reijnders - Soweto Style - 200 x 105


WWW.ARTGO.CO.ZA OPENING EXHIBITIONS: APRIL 2019 WEEKS 1-4

CANDICE BERMAN GALLERY NEW BLOOD 01/04/2019 UNTIL 30/04/2019 WWW.CANDICEBERMANGALLERY.COM

01/04/2019 UNTIL 30/04/2019 WEEK 1 APRIL

01/04/2019 UNTIL 30/04/2019 WEEK 1 APRIL

01/04/2019 UNTIL 01/04/2019 WEEK 1 APRIL

SALON NINETY ONE DRIFTER. AN EXHIBITION BY ANDREW SUTHERLAND 03/04/2019 UNTIL 04/05/2019

ART@AFRICA WATERWALL A SOLO EXHIBITION BY MARELIZE 04/04/2019 UNTIL 04/05/2019

WWW.SALON91.CO.ZA

WWW.ARTATAFRICA.ART

03/04/2019 UNTIL 04/05/2019 WEEK 1 APRIL

04/04/2019 UNTIL 04/05/2019 WEEK 1 APRIL

ECLECTICA COLLECTION A GROUP SHOW FEATURING: DESRAE CHIMES SAACKS, NINA HOLMES, NATASHA BARNES, BEN COUTOUVIDIS MARY VISSER, ALBERT COERTSE OPENS 04/04/2019 WWW.ECLECTICACONTEMPORARY.CO.ZA

HTTP://BIT.LY/2JHGP9U

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WWW.PALETTESCULPTUREGALLERY.CO.ZA

01/04/2019 UNTIL 30/04/2019 WEEK 1 APRIL

DURBAN ART GALLERY ST JOHN VISION 20/20 EXHIBITION 04/04/2019 UNTIL 30/04/2019

04/04/2019 UNTIL 30/04/2019 WEEK 1 APRIL

PALETTE FINE ART GALLERY CAPE QUARTER PIAZZA AND 68 WATERKANT STREET. BRONZE SCULPTURE AND PAINTINGS 01/04/2019 UNTIL 01/04/2019

04/04/2019 UNTIL 01/06/2019 WEEK 1 APRIL W W W. A R T G O . C O . Z A

OPENS 04/04/2019 WEEK 1 APRIL


Meandering - Bronze sculpture by Antonio da Silva Palette Art Gallery,68 Waterkant Street Cape Town - www.palettesculpturegallery.co.z 112

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PAINTINGS & PRINTS NICOLAAS MARITZ

MARITZ MUSEUM 5 Nemesia Street Darling, South Africa by appointment https://sites.google.com/view/nicolaasmaritzgallery

078 419 7093

gallery@ar�stproofstudio.co.za

011 492 1278 www.artistproofstudio.co.za

ArtistProofJHB

Nkosana Nhlapo - Nuuskierig vir Oplossings - Monotype - 2019

Artist Proof Studio


WWW.ARTGO.CO.ZA OPENING EXHIBITIONS: APRIL 2019 WEEKS 1-4

ECLECTICA CONTEMPORARY ACETONE VEIL SUE GREEFF OPENS 04/04/2019 WWW.ECLECTICACONTEMPORARY.CO.ZA

OPENS 04/04/2019 WEEK 1 APRIL

COPY NEEDED WEEK 1 APRIL

THE CAPE GALLERY XOLILE MTAKATYA 04/04/2019 UNTIL 24/05/2019

ART IN THE YARD SHADES OF THE MIRROR, SOLOMON OMOGBOYE 06/04/2019 UNTIL 02/05/2019

WWW.CAPEGALLERY.CO.ZA

WWW.ARTINTHEYARD.CO.ZA

04/04/2019 UNTIL 24/05/2019 WEEK 1 APRIL

06/04/2019 UNTIL 02/05/2019 WEEK 1 APRIL

06/04/2019 UNTIL 25/05/2019 WEEK 1 APRIL

UNISA IF DEMOCRACY COULD TALK UNISA ART COLLECTION RECENT ACQUISITIONS 06/04/2019 UNTIL 10/05/2019

ART@AFRICA THE GREATEST MAASAI MARA 07/04/2019 UNTIL 09/04/2019

DAVILLE BAILLIE BRAM REIJNDERS NO MORE BLAH BLAH 07/04/2019 UNTIL 27/04/2019

WWW.ARTATAFRICA.ART

WWW.DAVILLE.CO.ZA

07/04/2019 UNTIL 09/04/2019 WEEK 1 APRIL

07/04/2019 UNTIL 27/04/2019 WEEK 1 APRIL

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04/04/2019 UNTIL 120/04/2019 WEEK 1 APRIL


CONVERSATIONS A selection of oils, pastels and silk-screens by XOLILE MTAKATYA will be on view 4th April - 24th May.

THE CAPE GALLERY

60 Church Street, Cape Town, 021 423 5309, web@capegallery.co.za open Saturday 10am - 2pm, weekdays 9.30am - 5pm

EXHIBITION | 11 APRIL - 15 MAY 2019 UJ Art Gallery, Kingsway Campus, corner Kingsway Ave and University Rd, Auckland Park

T 011 559 2556/2099

GALLERY HOURS M O N D AY – F R I D AY 09:00 – 16:00 CLOSED ON WEEKENDS + P U B L I C H O L I D AY S


WWW.ARTGO.CO.ZA OPENING EXHIBITIONS: APRIL 2019 WEEKS 1-4

RK CONTEMPORARY STILLNESS & LIGHT CLAUDIA GURWITZ, LOUISA GERRYTS, GORDON WILLIAMS 07/04/2019 UNTIL 23/04/2019 WWW.RKCONTEMPORARY.COM

WWW.RUST-EN-VREDE.COM

WWW.RUST-EN-VREDE.COM

07/04/2019 UNTIL 23/04/2019 WEEK 1 APRIL

09/04/2019 UNTIL 08/05/2019 WEEK 2 APRIL

09/04/2019 UNTIL 08/05/2019 WEEK 2 APRIL

UJ ART GALLERY PPC IMAGINARIUM 11/04/2019 UNTIL 15/05/2019

OLIEWENHUIS ART MUSEUM 10TH SAQG TRAVELLING EXHIBITION OF QUILTS 12/04/2019 UNTIL 05/05/2019

ART IN THE YARD GALLERY FOREVER WILD, SOLO EXHBITION BY ALEXANDRA SPYRATOS 13/04/2019 UNTIL 13/05/2019

WWW.UJ.AC.ZA/ARTS

WWW.NASMUS.CO.ZA

WWW.ARTINTHEYARD.CO.ZA

11/04/2019 UNTIL 15/05/2019 WEEK 2 APRIL

12/04/2019 UNTIL 05/05/2019 WEEK 2 APRIL

13/04/2019 UNTIL 13/05/2019 WEEK 2 APRIL

RUST-EN-VREDE GALLERY PALATE, PLATE, PALETTE GROUP EXHIBITION 09/04/2019 UNTIL 08/05/2019

RUST-EN-VREDE GALLERY

MADELEINE VAN MANEN - YOU FIND SILENCE WHERE YOU EXPECT NOISE SOLO EXHIBITION 09/04/2019 UNTIL 08/05/2019

EXHIBITION | 11 APRIL - 15 MAY 2019 UJ Art Gallery, Kingsway Campus, corner Kingsway Ave and University Rd, Auckland Park

T 011 559 2556/2099

GALLERY HOURS M O N D AY – F R I D AY 09:00 – 16:00 CLOSED ON WEEKENDS + P U B L I C H O L I D AY S

ART@AFRICA WATER WARS AN INSTALLATION BY WILLIAM SWEETLOVE 25/04/2019 UNTIL 25/09/2019 Christopher Moller Gallery 13/04/2019 UNTIL 11/05/2019 WEEK 2 APRIL 116

www.christophermollerart.co.za @christophermoller_gallery

DATES NEEDED WEEK 2 APRIL

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WWW.ARTATAFRICA.ART 25/04/2019 UNTIL 25/09/2019 WEEK 4 APRIL


A Good Read

THE SECRETS OF THE WORLD’S GREATEST ART THIEF Published in GQ Magazine www.gq.com/story/secrets-of-the-worlds-greatest-art-thiefThe Secrets of the World’s BY MICHAEL FINKEL February 28, 2019

Be friendly at the front desk. Buy your ticket, say hello. Once inside, Breitwieser adds, it’s essential to focus. Note the flow of visitor traffic and memorize the exits. Count the guards. Are they sitting or patrolling? Check for security cameras and see if each has a wire—sometimes they’re fake. When it comes to museum flooring, creaky old wood is ideal, so even with his back turned, Breitwieser can hear footsteps two rooms away. Carpeting is the worst. Here, at the Rubens House, in Antwerp, Belgium, it’s somewhere in between: marble. For this theft, Breitwieser has arrived with his girlfriend and frequent travel companion, Anne-Catherine Kleinklaus, who positions herself near the only doorway to a ground-floor exhibition room and coughs softly when anyone approaches. Stéphane Breitwieser at a book fair in 2006. Photo by Jef-Infojef, via Wikimedia Commons.

Stéphane Breitwieser robbed nearly 200 museums, amassed a collection of treasures worth more than $1.4 billion, and became perhaps the most prolific art thief in history. And as he reveals to GQ’s Michael Finkel, how Breitwieser managed to do all this is every bit as surprising as why. “Don’t worry about parking the car,” says the art thief. “Anywhere near the museum is fine.” When it comes to stealing from museums, Stéphane Breitwieser is virtually peerless. He is one of the most prolific and successful art thieves who have ever lived. Done right, his technique—daytime, no violence, performed like a magic trick, sometimes with guards in the room—never involves a dash to a getaway car. And done wrong, a parking spot is the least of his worries. Just make sure to get there at lunchtime, Breitwieser stresses, when the visitors thin and the security staff rotates shorthanded to eat. Dress sharply, shoes to shirt, topped by a jacket that’s tailored a little too roomy, with a Swiss Army knife stashed in a pocket.

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The museum is the former home of Peter Paul Rubens, the great Flemish painter of the 1600s. Breitwieser isn’t interested in stealing a Rubens; his paintings tend to be extremely large or too overtly religious for Breitwieser’s taste. What sets Breitwieser apart from nearly every other art thief—it’s the trait, he believes, that has facilitated his prowess—is that he will steal only pieces that stir him emotionally. And he insists that he never sells any. Stealing art for money, he says, is stupid. Money can be made with far less risk. But stealing for love, Breitwieser knows, is ecstatic. And this piece, right in front of him, is a marvel. He had discovered it during a visit to the museum two weeks previous. He wasn’t able to take it then, but its image blazed in his mind every time he sought sleep. This is why he’s returned; this has happened before. There will be no good rest until the object is his. It’s an ivory sculpture of Adam and Eve, carved in 1627 by Georg Petel, a friend of Reubens’s, who, according to Breitwieser, gifted him the piece for his 50th birthday. The carving is a masterpiece, just ten inches tall but dazzlingly detailed, the first humans gazing at each other as they move to embrace, Eve’s hair scrolling down her back, the serpent coiled around the tree trunk behind them, and the unbitten apple, cheekily, in Adam’s hand,

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Interior of The Rubens House. The Rubens House in Antwerp. The site of one of Breitwieser’s more memorable heists. Mark Renders/Getty Images

indicating his complicity in the fall of man, contrary to the book of Genesis. “It’s the most beautiful object I have ever seen,” says Breitwieser.

and theater in his work. Maybe five seconds pass before Kleinklaus coughs and he vaults away from the carving, reverting to casual-art-gazing mode.

Georg Petel’s ivory sculpture of Adam and Eve, stolen from—and later returned to—the museum at the home of Peter Paul Rubens in Antwerp.

It’s a start. He has turned the first screw twice around. Each job is different; improvisation is crucial—rigid plans do not work during daytime thefts, when there are variables too numerous to preordain. During his previous trip to the museum, he had studied how the Adam and Eve was protected and had also spotted a convenient door, reserved for guards, that opened into the central courtyard and did not appear to have an alarm.

The ivory sculpture is sealed beneath a plexiglass dome fastened to a thick base, resting on an antique dresser. Breitwieser’s first objective is to remove the two screws that connect the dome and the base. There’s no camera here, and only one guard is in motion, poking her head in every few minutes. The tourists, as usual, are the problem—too many of them, lingering. The room is filled with items Rubens had amassed during his lifetime, including marble busts of Roman philosophers, a terra-cotta sculpture of Hercules, and a scattering of 17thcentury oil paintings. Patience is needed, but a moment soon comes when it’s just Kleinklaus and Breitwieser alone, and in an instant he unfolds the screwdriver from the Swiss Army knife and sets upon the plexiglass dome. Breitwieser is shorter than average and tousle-haired, with piercing blue eyes that, for all his stealth, are often animate with expression. He is lithe and coordinated, and uses athleticism

Over the course of ten minutes, progressing fitfully, Breitwieser removes the first screw and pockets it. He does not wear gloves, trading fingerprints for dexterity. The second screw takes equally as long. Now he’s set. The security guard has already appeared three times, and at each checkin Breitwieser and Kleinklaus had stationed themselves in different spots. Still, the time elapsed in this room has reached his acceptable limit. There’s a group of visitors present, all using audio guides and studying a painting, and Breitwieser judges them appropriately distracted. He nods to his girlfriend, who slips out of the room, then lifts the plexiglass dome and sets it carefully aside. He grasps the ivory and pushes it into the waistband of his pants, at the small of his


back, adjusting his roomy jacket so the carving is covered. There’s a bit of a lump, but you’d have to be exceptionally observant to notice. Then he strides off, moving with calculation but no obvious haste. He knows that the theft will swiftly be spotted. He’d left the plexiglass bell to the side—no need to waste precious seconds replacing it—and the guard will surely initiate an emergency response. Though not, he’s betting, quickly enough. From the room with the ivory, the museum layout encourages visitors to ascend to the second floor, but Breitwieser pushes through the door he’d seen on his earlier trip, crosses the courtyard toward the main entrance, and walks past the front desk onto the streets of Antwerp. Kleinklaus rejoins him before they reach the car, a little Opel Tigra, and Breitwieser sets the ivory in the trunk and they drive slowly away, pausing at traffic lights on the route out of town. Crossing international borders is stressful but lowrisk. They travel from Belgium to Luxembourg to Germany to their home in France without incident, just another young, stylish couple out for a jaunt. It’s the first weekend of February 1997, and both are only 25 years old, though Breitwieser’s already been stealing art for a while. The road trip ends at a modest steep-roofed house built amid the sprawl of Mulhouse, an industrial city in eastern France. The ivory might be worth a million dollars, but Breitwieser is broke. He does not have a steady job—when he is employed, it’s often as a waiter. His girlfriend works in a hospital as a nurse’s aide, and the couple live in his mother’s house. Their private space is on the top floor, an attic bedroom and small living area that Breitwieser always keeps locked. They open the door now, cradling the ivory, and a wave of swirling colors seems to break over their heads as they step inside their fantasy world. The walls are lined with Renaissance paintings— portraits, landscapes, still lifes, allegories. There’s a bustling peasant scene by Dutch master Adriaen van Ostade, an idyllic pastoral by French luminary François Boucher, an open-winged bat by German genius Albrecht Dürer. A resplendent 16th-century wedding portrait, the bride’s dress threaded with pearls, by Lucas Cranach the Younger, may be worth more than all the houses on Breitwieser’s block put together, times two. In the center of the bedroom sits a grandiose canopied four-poster bed, draped with gold velour and red satin, surrounded

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by furniture stacked with riches. Silver goblets, silver platters, silver vases, silver bowls. A gold snuffbox once owned by Napoleon. A prayer book, lavishly illuminated, from the 1400s. Ornate battle weapons and rare musical instruments. Bronze miniatures and gilded teacups. Masterworks in enamel and marble and copper and brass. The hideaway shimmers with stolen treasure. “My Ali Baba’s cave,” Breitwieser calls it. Entering this place, every time, dizzies him with joy. He describes it as a sort of aesthetic rapture. Breitwieser sprawls on the bed, examining his new showpiece. The Adam and Eve ivory, after a fourcentury journey to arrive in his lair, appears more stunning than ever. It goes on the corner table, the first thing he sees when he opens his eyes. During the week, while his girlfriend is working, he visits his local libraries. He learns everything he can about the ivory, the artist, his masters, his students. He takes detailed notes. He does this with nearly all his pieces—he gets attached to them. Back home, he meticulously cleans the carving, with soapy water and lemon, his thumb passing over the sculpture’s every nubbin and ridge. But this is not enough. His love for the ivory doesn’t fade, that’s not fair to say—he just has room in his heart for a little more love. So he consults his art magazines and auction catalogs. The Zurich art fair is about to begin. He plots a route into Switzerland, avoiding tolls to save money, and early the next Saturday morning they’re back on the road. All his life, inanimate objects have had the power to seduce him. “I get smitten,” Breitwieser says. Before artwork, it was stamps and coins and old postcards, which he’d purchased with pocket money. Later it was medieval pottery fragments he’d find near archaeological sites, free for the taking. When he covets an object, says Breitwieser, he feels the emotional wallop of a coup de coeur— literally, a blow to the heart. There are just things that make him swoon. “Looking at something beautiful,” he explains, “I can’t help but weep. There are people who do not understand this, but I can cry for objects.” His interactions with the world of the living were far less fulfilling. He never really understood his peers, or almost anyone else for that matter. Popular pastimes, like sports and video games, baffled him. He’s never had any interest in drinking or drugs. He could happily spend all day alone at

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a museum—his parents often dropped him off— or touring archaeological sites, of which there are dozens in the area where he grew up, but around others he was sometimes hotheaded and temperamental. Breitwieser was born in 1971 in the Alsace region of northeastern France, where his family has deep roots. He speaks French and German and a little English. His father was a sales executive in Switzerland, just over the border, and his mother was a nurse. He’s an only child. The family, for most of his youth, was well-off, living in a grand house filled with elegant furniture—Louis XV armchairs, from the 1700s; Empire dressers, from the 1800s. His parents had hoped he’d become a lawyer, but he dropped out of university after a couple of years. His first museum heist came shortly after a family crisis. When he was 22 years old, still living at home, his parents’ marriage ended explosively. His father left and took his possessions with him, and Breitwieser and his mother tumbled down the social ladder, re-settling in a smaller place, the antiques replaced by Ikea. Cushioning the trauma was a woman Breitwieser met through an acquaintance, a fellow archeology buff. Anne-Catherine Kleinklaus was the same age as Breitwieser, and similarly introverted, with a kindred sense of curiosity and adventure. She had a sly smile and an irresistible pixie cut. They shared a passion for museums, thrilled to be immersed in beauty. Breitwieser finally experienced a coup de coeur for an actual person. “I loved her right away,” he says. Soon after Breitwieser’s father departed, Kleinklaus moved in. A few months later, the couple were visiting a museum in the French village of Thann when Breitwieser spotted an antique pistol. His first thought, he recalls, was that he should already own something like this. Breitwieser’s father had collected old weapons but had taken them when he’d left the family, not bothering to leave a single piece for his son. The firearm, exhibited in a glass case on the museum’s second floor, was handcarved around 1730. It was far nicer than anything his father had owned. He felt an urge to possess it. The museum was small, no security guard or alarm system, just a volunteer at the entrance booth. The display case itself, Breitwieser noted, was partially open. He was wearing a backpack and could easily hide the pistol in there.

“His first museum heist came shortly after a family crisis. When he was 22 years old, still living at home, his parents’ marriage ended explosively.” One must resist temptation, he knew. It even says so in the Bible, not that he was particularly religious. What our heart really wants, we must often deny. Maybe this is why so many people seem conflicted and miserable—we are taught to be at constant war with ourselves. As if that were a virtue. What would happen, he wondered, if he did not resist temptation? If, instead, he fed temptation and freed himself from society’s repressive restraints? He had no desire to physically harm anyone or so much as cause fright. He contemplated the flintlock pistol and whispered a few of these thoughts to his girlfriend. Anne-Catherine Kleinklaus has never spoken to the media about her relationship with Breitwieser and any possible role in the crimes, and neither has Breitwieser’s mother, Mireille Stengel. Though there exist supporting documents and reported accounts, much of this story is based primarily on interviews with Breitwieser. While he was in the museum, in front of the pistol, Kleinklaus’s response, the way Breitwieser remembers it, made him believe that they were destined to be together. “Go ahead,” she said. “Take it.” So he did. From that moment on, he catered to his impulses in an unimaginable way. His only goal was to obey temptation. By the time he pilfers the Adam and Eve ivory, three years after stealing the pistol, he’s amassed some 100 objects, all on display in his hideout. He is ecstatic beyond measure, cosseted like a king. He feels as though he and his girlfriend have discovered the meaning of life. A curious thing about temptation, at least in Breitwieser’s case, is that it never seems to abate. If anything, the more he feeds it, the hungrier it gets. The weekend after the ivory theft in Belgium,


Police man watching other investigators sort through canal, In a partially-drained section of the Rhone-Rhine Canal, crews search for stolen artwork that had been tossed into the murky water. Cedric Joubert/AP

Breitwieser and Kleinklaus drive through the snowstreaked Alps to the Zurich art fair. Behind a dealer’s back, quick as a cat, he steals a spectacular goblet, filigreed with silver and gold, from the 16th century. Then they head to Holland for another fair, and at one booth, while the vendor is eating lunch and not keeping careful watch, Breitwieser takes a brilliant rendering of a lake bobbing with swans, dated 1620. At another booth, again with the dealer present, he removes a 17th-century seascape painted on copper. A few weeks later, it’s back to Belgium, to a village museum with a single security guard, where he takes a valuable still life, butterflies flitting around a

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bouquet of tulips, by Flemish master Jan van Kessel the Elder. This is followed by a trip to a Paris auction, where, at the pre-sale show, he steals a painting from the school of Pieter Brueghel the Elder and Pieter Brueghel the Younger, two polestars of Renaissance art. In the annals of art crime, it’s hard to find someone who has stolen from ten different places. By Breitwieser’s calculations, he’s nearing 200 thefts and 300 stolen objects. Once again he returns to Belgium—a country whose museums, says Breitwieser, “attract me like a lover”—and filches a vivid tableau of a rural market, then over to Holland to snatch a droll 17th-century

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The collection is not random. Virtually everything he steals was made before the Industrial Revolution, in an age when items were all still formed by hand; no machines stamped out parts. Everything finely crafted in this way, Breitwieser believes, from medical instruments to kitchenware, is its own little work of art, the hand of the master visible in each chisel mark and burr. This, to Breitwieser, was the height of human civilization. Today the world is wed to mass production and efficiency, much to our benefit. But a side effect is that beauty for beauty’s sake seems increasingly quaint, and museums themselves, small ones especially, can have the whiff of the dying. Stocking pieces in his room, Breitwieser feels, is rescuing them, like pets from a shelter, giving them the love and attention they deserve. The more he steals, the better he gets. He learns, with precision, the limits of a security camera’s vision. He hones his timing and perfects his composure. “You have to control your gestures, your words, your reflexes,” Breitwieser says. “You need a predatory instinct.” He pounces the instant he senses everyone’s attention is diverted. “The pleasure of having,” says Breitwieser, “is stronger than the fear of stealing.” He tries to take only smaller pieces—with paintings, no more than about a foot by a foot—and if time allows, he prefers to remove the frame and hide it nearby, often in a bathroom, so the artwork disappears more completely beneath his jacket. He purchases new frames for most of the works. Sometimes he steals weapons, but he wouldn’t think of brandishing one. To walk into a museum with a gun, he says, is disgusting.

watercolor of house cats chasing hedgehogs, followed by a journey to the northern French city of Lille for another Renaissance oil work, and finally, for good measure, one more raid in Belgium. All of this in a matter of months. These paintings alone represent a haul worth millions of dollars. And it’s not just paintings—he also steals a gold-plated hourglass, a stained-glass windowpane, an iron alms box, a copper collection plate, a brass hunting bugle, a cavalry saber, a couple of daggers, a gilded ostrich egg, a wooden altarpiece, and a half-dozen pocket watches. Everything is crammed into the hideout, filling the walls top to bottom, overflowing the end tables, displayed in his closet’s shoe rack, leaning on chairs, stuffed under the bed.

The set of thefts he describes as the most exquisite of his career are a study in simplicity and sangfroid. They take place in Belgium, his beloved target, at the vast Art & History Museum in Brussels, which Breitwieser estimates employs 150 guards. There he and Kleinklaus spot a partly empty display case, with a laminated card inside that reads “Objects removed for study.” Nothing in the case interests them, but Breitwieser has an idea and steals the card. Breitwieser understands how security guards think. At age 19, he was employed for a month as a guard at the Historical Museum of Mulhouse, near his home. Most guards, he realized, hardly notice the art on the walls—they look only at people. Breitwieser’s brashest thefts, like the Adam and Eve ivory, are spotted in minutes, but when he’s furtive, hours often pass, and sometimes days, before anyone realizes what’s happened.


A panting of a bat. Albrecht Dürer’s gouache of a bat, which dates to 1522, was a prominent component of Breitwieser’s illicit collection.

In the Brussels Art & History Museum, he carries the “Objects removed” sign to a gallery with a display case of silver pieces from the 16th century. To break into this case, Breitwieser uses a screwdriver and levers the sliding door off its tracks. Other times, he carries a box cutter and slices open a silicone joint. For museums with antique display cabinets, he brings a ring of a dozen old skeleton keys he’s amassed— often one of his keys is able to tumble the lock. Also handy is a telescoping antenna, to nudge a ceilingmounted security camera in a different direction. He selects three silver items, a drinking stein and two figurines; then he sets the “Objects removed” card in the case and re-attaches the sliding door, and they leave the museum. They’re already at the car before he realizes he’s forgotten the lid to the stein. Breitwieser detests missing parts or any sign of restoration. The items in his collection must be original and complete. Kleinklaus knows this, says Breitwieser, and she abruptly removes one of her earrings and heads back to the museum, her boyfriend in tow. She marches up to a security guard and says she’s lost an earring and has a feeling she knows where it is. The couple are permitted back inside. They return to the case and he takes the stein’s lid and, why not, two additional goblets from another case. Two weeks later, they’re back. Kleinklaus has changed her hairstyle, and Breitwieser has grown out his beard

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and added a pair of glasses and a baseball cap. At the display case, the “Objects removed” card still there, he grabs four more items, including a two-foot-tall chalice so breathtakingly gorgeous that Breitwieser suspends his size-limitation preference and, with nowhere else to put it, stuffs the item up the left sleeve of his jacket, forcing him to walk unnaturally, his arm swinging stiffly like a soldier’s. The sheer scale of the thefts is so far beyond that of nearly every other case as to be practically inconceivable. On their way to the exit, they’re stopped by a guard. They feign calm, but Breitwieser has a terrible feeling that the end has come. The guard wants to see their entrance tickets. Breitwieser, unable to move his left arm, awkwardly reaches across his body with his right to fish the tickets from his left pocket. He wonders if the guard senses something amiss. A guilty person would cower and try to leave, so Breitwieser boldly tells the guard that he’s heading to the museum café for lunch. The guard’s suspicion is defused, and the couple actually eat at the museum, Breitwieser’s arm held rigid the entire time. For the full story and much more please visit www.arttimes.co.za

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A Century of South African Art from the Sanlam Art Collection 1918 – 2018 An exhibition of exceptional works from the Sanlam Art Collection tracing South Africa’s transformation in art over a century

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