The FNB Joburg Art Fair has achieved the significant accomplishment (in South Africa at least) of reaching its 8th instalment. A tribute to savvy directorial vision and a strong understanding of what it takes to keep a South African art fair going, JAF is arguably the preeminent art event in our country’s calendar.
Opening on Friday, there is plenty to see at the Sandton Convention Centre this weekend. Here are a few things which ArtThrob is definitely looking forward to:
Art fair previews on online art platform Artsy have become a mainstay overseas and we finally get to join the fun. Download the app (iOS only) and get acquainted with the works on the fair before your visit. Nifty!
Note: The Artsy preview will be open for VIPs on Thursday, 10 September and to the public on Friday, 11 September.
With many galleries being located in the same booths over recent years, the fair design was in need of a shake-up lest it become a tad too familiar and cosy. Ever-wily, Artlogic has collaborated with Joburg-based interior architect firm, Studium to give the fair design a facelift better suited to this year’s focus on performance and film (including a theatre).
The Johannesburg Pavilion
Amidst the uncertainty surrounding the South African National Pavilion at the beginning of this year, a band of rogues calling themselves the Johannesburg Pavilion cropped up and staged a series of videos, performances and interventions at this year’s Venice Biennale (to significant critical acclaim). For those not lucky enough to see it the first time around, the kind folks at JAF have given them a platform at this year’s fair so that the rest of us can catch up. This incarnation of the pavilion will encompass video works by Bettina Malcomess, Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi & Arya Lalloo with Chris Wessels, Michael MacGarry, Anthea Moys and a documentary conversation between the Johannesburg Pavilion and Venice
Cameron Platter’s Baboink Art Bar
Likely to raise a few eyebrows, Absolut Vodka have collaborated with Cameron Platter on a large-scale bar installation entitled The Baboink Art Bar. The installation includes a vodka bar, a vitrine housing a collection of Platter’s objects, soft sculptures to lounge on, neon signs, photographic works and a specially commissioned soundtrack. Alas, we’d only just got the earwormy soundtrack to Platter’s Black Up That White Ass II (2009) out of our heads.
As usual, Artlogic have lined up a killer variety of speakers including Gerhard Steidl, Samuel Leuenberger, Jacqueline Uhlmann, Emeka Ogboh and the members of the Johannesburg Pavilion. We’re particularly looking forward to An exploration of Art Cinema and the Collapsing of Boundaries Between Experimental Film, Moving Image Art and T.V. Entertainment — featuring Beathur Mgoza Baker, Hilke Doering, Michael MacGarry, Adejoke Tugbiyele and Gerald Machona — and Decolonising the Mind / Decolonising Museums —featuring Portia Malatjie, Thembinkosi Goniwe, Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa and Patrick Mudekereza.
For the full talk schedule, please consult the visitor’s guide.
Candice Breitz’s Him + Her
The ArtThrob editor who needs a haircut is a sucker for video installations and is looking forward to seeing Candice Breitz’s dual 7 channel video installations Him + Her. Her places 28 characters performed by Meryl Streep between 1978 – 2008 in dialogue with each other, while the Him features 23 Jack Nicholsons from 1968 – 2008. Taken out of context, the various characters form a fragmented collage of split personalities, conflicting emotions, neuroses and clichés centred around the two Hollywood stars as signifiers. Did we mention the 14 screens?
The ‘solo projects’ format has proven extremely popular in fairs such as VOLTA NY, New York and The Solo Project, Brussels and provides a welcome counter-point to those who find the sensory overload of salon-styled art fair booths exhausting. Focussing on ‘mini-solos’ by single artists, the viewer is afforded a sustained engagement with an artists’ work. Look out for presentations by Jared Ginsburg, Stephen Hobbs, Cyrus Kabiru, Moffat Takadiwa , Michael MacGarry, Jonah Sack, Luke Daniel and Jenna Burchel.
Turiya Magadlela’s Imihuzuko
The FNB Art Prize was founded in 2011, with all participating galleries in the fair submitting an artist for consideration for the award. Selected by judges Koyo Kouoh, and Bisi Silva, Turiya Magadlela is the 2015 winner. Magadlela will be presenting a featured solo exhibition entitled Imihuzuko, which will draw from Kaffersheet, her acclaimed exhibition at the Johannesburg Art Gallery earlier this year. Rumour has it that the JAF installation may comprise a number of steel institutional beds arranged in a grid and dressed with loaded materials ranging from nylon pantyhose to correctional services sheeting and uniforms.
Videos and Performance (lots of them)
Stereotypically, art fairs are a frenetic site of hyper-consumption of art. Whether this is true or not, it is interesting that JAF would focus so heavily on the two mediums least conducive to that model: performance and video. Curator Lucy MacGarry and team are certainly intent on putting the newly added theatre space to good use and have lined up a smorgasbord of videos and live performances taking place throughout the course of the fair. Our to-see list includes Mohau Modisakeng’s video To Move Mountains, Ben Patterson’s performance Paper Piece and the Shahar Marcus’ Discovery Award winning Seeds.
For the full video and performance schedule, please consult the visitor’s guide.
Art, Art and more Art
Pretty self-explanatory. With approximately 50 exhibitors from 7 different countries presenting work from over 300 artists, there is no shortage of work to take in. The galleries have been pretty quiet about who and what they will be bringing to the Sandton Convention Centre. Keep an eye on our website to see what we find there.
Needless to say ArtThrob are very excited to view some great work and hear some insightful talks, be sure to pop in and say “Hi!” at our booth (conveniently located directly behind Platter’s art bar).
FNB Joburg Art Fair runs from 11 – 13 September 2015 at the Sandton Convention Centre. For more information, please click here.