Launching art on a big scale

2019-09-03 06:00
David Brits with University of Cape Town vice chancellor, Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng, in front of his sculpture installed at the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation in Masiphumelele. PHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

David Brits with University of Cape Town vice chancellor, Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng, in front of his sculpture installed at the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation in Masiphumelele. PHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

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Local artist David Brits is delighted at showing his latest sculpture series at two major art fairs in Johannesburg during September – SculptX and Art Week Joburg.

Brits, a multi-disciplinary artist from Sea Point, with his studio in Paarden Eiland, says his Ouroboros series is his largest works of art to date. It is the culmination of three years of artistic exploration and vigorous experimentation.

Ouroboros is a Greek word describing the symbol of a snake devouring its tail.

Brits says his complex, colossal serpentine sculptures draw on his fascination with serpentine forms to trace a further inquiry into the nature of shape, scale as well as symmetry.

Sculptures from his Ouroboros series will be on show at SculptX at Melrose Arch which runs until Sunday 29 September, as well as the Latitudes Art Fair and FNB Art Joburg, both part of Art Week Joburg from Friday 13 to Sunday 15 September.

Brits says after years of trying and asking experts, what he wanted to do seemed like a huge task that could not be achieved.

“I failed many, many times. I asked a lot of experts, but no one could really help me. There was no existing technique to make the tubed or curved pieces of art,’’ he says.

After three years of prototyping and investigating the use of advanced composite materials, such as carbon fibre and innovative technologies such as 3D design as well as 3D printing, Brits found a method to successfully create complex, free-standing curves that twist in the air on a colossal scale.

Looking back on this journey he says he is incredibly proud of himself. “I’m proud that I didn’t give up and having gone so far and for so long. I’m really pleased to see the results, pleased to see this come to life in public and on such a big scale it is amazing. This is, in my eyes, incredible work,” he says.

The first sculpture of the series – of which the largest stands 3.2m high – was recently unveiled at the new aerobiology tuberculosis research facility at the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation near Masiphumelele.

Brits says he found his love for art after seeing the works of Jackson Pollock at the Tate Modern Museum in London many years ago.

“His work moved me to tears and made me realise how powerful art really is. From there, I knew this was what I wanted to do. However, over the years I had to reinvent myself and learn. I’m a trained painter, not a sculptor,” he says.

Visit www.davidbrits.com or follow @davidbrits_ on Instagram.

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