Art Fair shows off South Africa’s contemporary art

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More than 100 galleries and exhibitors from around Africa and the world took part in the seventh edition of the Investec Cape Town Art Fair 2019, at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) this month. On display was work representing the forefront of contemporary art and the event offered industry talks covering topics such as “the rising popularity of collecting digital arts”.

What struck me most was the different textures and experimental mediums (contemporary at its best). From toothpicks that looked like soft and lumicious fur, images created from hundreds of dice, reconstituted paint, sequins, luminous vinyl textures, recycled materials and sculptures from giant metal shards.

Artwork from reconstituted paint

Two galleries that stood out for me were NIL Paris, with a beautiful abstract piece that changed colour depending on where you stood, and the Goodman Gallery featuring a large expressive artwork by Penny Siopis, whom I studied in matric.

Grant admiring a Goodman Gallery piece

An exciting part of the fair was the Tomorrows/Today section, which aims to place a spotlight on emerging and under-represented artists, one of which was SA artist Chris Soal with his “Orbits of Relating” pieces that explore the concept of materiality. His textile works are visceral and inviting, like a fur rug on a manor floor, which you just want to touch… but upon closer inspection, you see it’s millions of tiny toothpicks!

It was a rewarding experience, with so many treasures to look at and something for everyone. The experience highlighted for me how personal art is to everyone. What pieces drew me were personal to my experiences, what was satisfying to look at and what repulsed me.. I love bold colour blocking, a friend liked a piece that looked like millions of eyes – she said it reminded her of being a child and finding patterns in everything. The overall impression was thought provoking, reflecting our local culture, our history, and the wildest dreams of our most creative.

Sculpture by Jake Singer

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