Lost & Found | 3 - 25 October 2019

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LOST & FOUND 3 – 25 October 2019

Bag Factory Artists’ Studios + 27 (0)11 738 687 info@bagfactoryart.org.za www.bagfactoryart.org.za 10 Mahlathini Street, Newtown, Johannesburg

Lost and found in Johannesburg Candice Allison Director Bag Factory

Lost & Found is a group exhibition of mixed media works by Bag Factory’s current studio and visiting artists. The exhibition is an exploration of process and experimentation, a snapshot of studio practice, and a reflection on the method of using ‘found’ objects, upcycled materials, and repurposed imagery so prevalent in the work of many artists who have worked at the Bag Factory and often turn to the local areas of Newtown and Fordsburg as their source of materials and inspiration. The method of re-using and upcycling materials is most evident in the works of Thonton Kabeya, whose studio is a hoarding place for the different materials and objects he collects, waiting for the time when he can imagine their new use and they find their way into an artwork or installation such as David’s Desk (2019); and in the work of Olivia Botha, who gathers objects, materials, sounds, footage, and stories from the streets for reuse in installations such as Still Looking (2019). Kagiso Patrick Mautloa’s sculptural works, themselves lost and found in the overwhelming accumulation of completed/never-completed works produced over the past twenty-seven years in his cramped studio, are created from plastic bottles, shaped, moulded, and painted to resemble different African masks and faces.

Ross Passmoor’s sculptures and paintings resemble a futuristic archaeological excavation of the waste and detritus of middleclass suburbia, while Candice Kramer’s rusted and painted metal works depicting archival images hark back to Johannesburg’s CBD in the 1950s – the rusted metal eating away at these idyllic images to reveal the fragility and social-political corrosion underpinning this so-called ‘City of Gold’. This corrosion of everyday (black) life is carried through in the work of Phumulani Ntuli, whose mixed media collage works depict banal domestic scenes. The brightly coloured palate of these works belie the erasure of his subject’s identities, haunted by the layering of found imagery depicting the 16 August 2012 massacre, which saw the South African Police Service (SAPS) open fire on a crowd of striking mineworkers at a Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana, North West Province, leaving 34 dead and 78 seriously injured. Lost & Found is a nod to the personal engagements with Johannesburg that many new artists to the city experience – an overwhelming sense of feeling misplaced/displaced and unsettled in a sprawling and, at first encounter, seemingly hostile city. Through his practice as a street artist, Sandile Radebe maps the city in his studio practice through abstract representations of alphabet lettering and labyrinthine structures. Within this cityscape, a sense of belonging can be found in the kind interactions with a glassmaker who gives away off-cuts for free, a taxi driver who bargains for liquor to return a lost wallet, the shopkeeper who knows everyone’s names and faces, and in the rhythms of a call to prayer that marks the start, middle, and end of every day. Ultimately, the Bag Factory is a community of artists that fluidly move between city and studio, past and present, here and not here. As a visiting artist, Mako Ishizuka has included a transient artwork – a transparent sticker high up on a dusty window, and a story about breakfast, light, and travelling.

Diana Hyslop has become the unofficial documenter of this community through her portraits and collaged paintings, like Once Upon a Time (2010), of the different artists who have occupied time and space here. Known predominantly as a painter, she refuses to be one-dimensional. Her witty and wry humour plays itself out in the sculptural work And How DO You Think It Feels (2018), a colourful, round, metal and glass beaded word map of feelings - positive and negative, yin and yang, searching for balance amidst all the chaos.


You Can Never Get Lost Today. Google. (diptych) 2019 Oil and rust on metal 50 x 30 cm each

Have we lost our chivalry 2019 Oil paint on found bottle 26 x 10 cm


Once Upon a Time 2010 Collage on board 37 x 37 cm

And How DO You Think It Feels 2017 Beaded wire on board 170 cm (diameter)


Urban Masks 2016 – 2019 (ongoing) Mixed media on found objects Dimensions variable

Urban Mask 2016 – 2019 (ongoing) Mixed media on found objects 78 x 63 cm


Rainbow after My Breakfast 2009 Installation (laserprint on transparent adhesive) Dimensions variable

Monologue no.5 (excerpt from anthology "New Beginnings") 2010 Text



Still Looking 2019 Digital video; mixed media installation Dimensions variable


Notes from August 12/2 (series) 2019 Acrylic on 220 gsm Arches paper 25 x 32,5 cm

Notes from August 12/2 (series) 2019 Acrylic on 220 gsm Arches paper 25 x 32,5 cm


I Spy 2019 Oil on Fabriano Tela 50 x 65 cm

“The work was inspired by indulging in women spy novels; about women who have been forgotten and lost in the history of war; women who have never been celebrated or remembered for their bravery and sacrifice. Perhaps, it is also about my new found obsession with these narratives and untold tales, so much so that I myself feel reincarnated in these female characters.�


Painted conglomerate 1, 2, 3 & 4 (detail) 2019 Found objects, acrylic paint, soil, concrete Dimensions variable

Painted conglomerate 1, 2, 3 & 4 (detail) 2019 Found objects, acrylic paint, soil, concrete Dimensions variable


Ucu oblique I - IV 2019 Spraypaint on Fabriano 75 x 51 cm (each)

Ucu oblique I - IV 2019 Spraypaint on Fabriano 75 x 51 cm (each)


Untitled (work in progress) 2019 Found objects, egg shell, wax, walnut powder 63 x 100 cm

David’s Desk 2019 Found objects and David Koloane’s desk drawers Dimensions variable 26

Bag Factory Artists’ Studios Photographs: © Courtesy of the artists Text: © Candice Allison Curator: Candice Allison Project Manager: Tiina Liebenberg