CT welcomes brand new art fair

WORDS Debbie Loots

Lovers of South African art are in for a treat when the Mother City’s first ever contemporary art fair takes place at The Lookout at the V&A Waterfront from Thursday 25 to Sunday 28 October.

The brand spanking new Cape Town Art Fair is produced by Italian exhibition giant Fiera Milano, organisers of international fairs such as MiArt Italy and Art International Istanbul, and showcases work by SA’s rainbow array of practitioners, including the recent 2014 Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner for performance art, Donna Kukama.

No less than 40 local galleries and over 130 artists – from SA’s famous and prolific to new and cutting-edge contemporary stars – will show work spanning various disciplines and genres. Director of AVA Gallery, Kirsty Cockerill “is delighted that this prestigious art fair is debuting in the Mother City. It offers a considered and expertly catalogued opportunity for serious and aspiring collectors who wish to view and engage with the current developments in South African contemporary art and the art market at large.”

One of the centrepieces of the fair will be invited artist Barend de Wet’s exhibition, A Tangled Skein, curated by senior lecturer at UCT’s Michaelis art school Andrew Lamprecht. Showcasing Barend’s recent preoccupation with knitting, Andrew says: “In a South African art context, which is in danger of becoming increasingly censorious (whether from outside or from artists themselves) and also in danger of parochialism, it gives me pleasure to present the work of an artist who is proudly South African, Cape Town-based, deeply aware of local conditions, but who also has his eyes on our place in the bigger world out there. I believe Barend shows us how our art is relevant in a wider sphere. He is also an artist who has been censored (before my very eyes) at another local art fair a few years back. I am particularly pleased that the Cape Town Art Fair has allowed him and I to ‘do our thing’ with this exhibition.”

Also look forward to an installation of new video work by Onsite Gallery, curated by Gary Cotterell, editor of Business Day’s Wanted magazine. Work of artists such as Mikhael Subotzky, Haroon Gunn-Salie, Barend de Wet, Khanyisile Mbongwe, Kudzanai Chiurai, Cameron Platter and Donna Kukama will be featured.

Inviting viewers to experience and engage with art is Stellenbosch land artist Strijdom van der Merwe, who will be assembling his onsite work at The Lookout on Wednesday and Thursday. Manufactured at his workshop, bright red cubes will be positioned to stand out against the blue-and-grey backdrop of the ocean, inviting people to walk in-and-out, in-between and through this extraordinary piece of art.

Not only will marvelling at and reaching into pockets for great art be the order of the day, the fair also promises to be jam-packed with all sorts of talks and conversations about art, giving visitors the opportunity to listen and learn as well as chat to gallerists and artists, to hear all about it, straight from the horse’s mouth. So whether it’s how to invest, what the deal at auctions is, who’s doing what in art or simply just to listen and enjoy discussions about the creative process, it’s all covered in the daily talks.

The fair will be opened by Francesco Santa, director of Fiera Milano Global, and apart from sharing the company’s future vision he will give details of an exciting sponsorship of an Italian residency program.

Good food and wine will also do the rounds throughout the weekend, ensuring this bumper Cape Town art fix indulges all the senses.

Tickets are R100 for adults and R50 for children under 12. For more information see: www.artfaircapetown.co.za