Grand scale

PHOTOS Micky Hoyle WORDS Malibongwe Tyilo and Liani van der Westhuizen

Lees in Afrikaans.

An installation at Spier in the Stellenbosch winelands is a reminder that you don’t have to visit a gallery to be exposed to art. The large-scale piece by Marco Cianfanelli features a mosaic image set on nine tall columns and takes art into the realm of architecture, giving it a functional quality and inviting viewers to submerge themselves in the work.

The Dying Slave by Marco Cianfanelli sits at the junction of two footpaths on the Spier wine farm. Like Marco’s acclaimed Madiba sculpture, the work features columns that together create the completed picture.

Marco based his large-scale image on Michelangelo’s well-known figure of a male slave in the throes of death. It was created digitally, using a photographic source, and then digitised into lines of pixels, which were created in mosaic by artists from Spier Architectural Arts, working in conjunction with the Spier Arts Academy to offer employment-based training in contemporary mosaic.

“Initially, I was concerned that the roughness of stone mosaic used would not be conducive to achieving a slick digital effect,” says Marco. “After seeing the first sample created by the studio, I realised that the richness of texture and the intense colour of glass added an incredible dimension that made perfect sense with the concept.”