Jozi has it down to a fine art

2011-09-23 14:37

For any cautious culture patron in Joburg, the idea of organising a yearly art fair would seem a tad too ambitious for a city that failed miserably in trying to host an art biennial in the mid-1990s.

However, art events management company Art Logic was more than ready to take up the challenge of setting up the city’s most exciting fine art event. The fair turns four this weekend and seems set to get better with age.

Sponsored by FNB, the 2011 instalment comes to a close today at the Sandton Convention Centre.

Over the past three days, starting on Thursday, art lovers were treated to some of the best art works in the South African creative economy.

The fair is arranged primarily as one large trading market. It brings together the largest number of dealers and buyers under one roof on the African continent.

At least 23 art galleries are participating in this year’s event, 12 of which are international.

But apart from the deals being made by galleries and collectors, the fair hosts a bunch of special projects – projects like commissioned work by corporate sponsors and galleries.

One of the exciting features is Mary Sibande’s work commissioned by Pirelli, the rubber-product maker famous for its car tyres.

Sibande’s new work is titled Rubber Soul: Monument of Aspiration and draws inspiration from the work that was on exhibition this past July curated by the Fondazione Pirelli at the Triennale di Milano museum.

It moves from the foundation of her iconic resin-cast alter ego, Sophie, whom she dressed in a Victorian-influenced maid’s uniform.

On one level, the new work reflects Sibande’s personal success as a young artist and, on another, Sophie’s new-found celebrity.

She has become an ubiquitous old presence in the art world. This time Sibande places her on a pedestal and she’s about to take a bow.

This work follows on the 2010 Pirelli presentation of an installation work by Willem Boshoff.

Other special projects include the Alfa Romeo series of talks, with the keynote address presented by the Goethe Institute.

This event provides an invaluable networking platform, and brings together a variety of speakers and art world players from across the continent under the Moving Africa banner.

There’s also the Southern Guild, which has been a feature of the art fair from the onset.

It aims to provide a platform for collectable, limited edition South African design. Every year, it brings together 45 diverse talents to produce new work.

The works are showcased as a collection that is premiered at the Joburg Art Fair.

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