It’s time again for the Cape Town Art Fair, this year in its fourth instalment and the first that didn’t require the organisers to seriously MacGyver the venue. It is also new fair director Matthew Partridge’s first stint in the pilot seat, bringing along some significant shifts in the fair’s model (read about his plans for the fair in ArtThrob’s interview).
Here’s what ArtThrob’s looking forward to seeing at CTAF 2016:
Everything in its right place
Split between two spaces which were pretty far apart, last year’s CTAF proved a bit of a game of hide-and-seek for some. Shifted to the Cape Town International Convention Centre – with more than enough room for everyone – CTAF2016 is nicely filed and compartmentalised for the viewer’s convenience. Special attention has been given to the way in which particular works are contextualised as well, separating the contemporary and Modern art sections and the specially curated project.
We stand to correction, but up until now CTAF hasn’t really undertaken any major curatorial projects. For 2016 they’ve enlisted the help of Ruth Simbao (NRF Chair in ‘Geopolitics and the Arts of Africa’ and Professor at Rhodes University) and Azu Nwagbogu (Director, Lagos Photo and founder & director of the African Artists’ Foundation, Nigeria) to bring together a unique showcase of solo presentations from eight emerging artists from around the continent. ‘Consuming Us’ will include presentations spanning a diverse array of media from Thania Petersen, Rehema Chachage, Gresham Tapiwa Nyaude, Masimba Hwati, Laura Windvogel (AKA Lady Skollie), ruby onyinyechi amanze, Kyle Morland and Mathias Chirombo.
You can read ArtThrob’s interview with the curators here.
Depending on who you ask, this is likely to either be the section where ‘the real art’ is or where ‘the boring stuff’ is tucked away where it can’t bother anyone. The move towards historical categorisation and contextualisation is an interesting approach and we’re keen to see how it all plays out. Expect investment-friendly artists like Battiss, Pierneef, Stern, Skotnes and, apparently, Steven Cohen (think Chandelier).
Manageable Talks Schedule
Facing the vast sprawl of an art fair talks schedule for the first time can be akin to experiencing the sublime terror of the Total Perspective Vortex. In keeping with their new concise approach to everything, CTAF have streamlined their talks schedule to five sixty minute talks; two on Friday and Saturday and one on Sunday. It’s concise, it’s focussed, it’s manageable; we like it.
The talks are relevant to each other and there’s an overarching focus running throughout about the role of various structures (biennales, museums and cultural institutions) in a globalised artworld which should make for some insightful discussion. All of them sound interesting. You can view the full schedule of talks (and book seats) here.
Special mention that on Sunday at 3:30pm, ArtThrob’s founding editor Sue Williamson will be discussing her shiny new Skira monograph Sue Williamson: Life and Work with Sean O’Toole and Mark Gevisser.
International Gallery Participation
While serving up a generous helping of South Africa’s leading galleries, it’s heartening to see the increase in the number of international galleries which have joined CTAF 2016. It is obviously a defining trait of the Platonic art fair to be a hub of international art activity (well, that and surplus red stickers) and it’s clear that situating Cape Town in this global conversation has been a priority for the fair team. This year’s fair includes representation from the South African, Zimbabwean and Namibian National Galleries along with a fine assortment of galleries from across the globe including:
Art First (London), ARTCO (Germany), Carpe Diem Gallery (Mali), Circle Art Gallery (Nairobi), Doula’Art (Cameroon), First Floor Gallery (Zimbabwe), Galerie Caroline Smulders (France), Galerie Pascal Janssens (Belgium), Gallerie Seippel (Germany), Gallerie Continua (Italy), Mariane Ibrahim Gallery (USA), Sulger-Buel Lovell (UK)
District Six Museum
In a move that should be applauded, the District Six Museum have been given space to present their mobile storytelling campaign at the fair, re-launching the museum’s oral history programme to mark 50 years since District Six was declared a White Group Area. Former residents of District Six have been invited to share their stories of displacement through objects and photo albums placed in old suitcases that will move around to various places associated with forced removals.
Related to this, the District Six Museum, in collaboration with Cape Town Art Fair 2016, SMAC Gallery, Fiera Milano and the Italian Consulate in Cape Town, will be showing work by Italian artist Giovanni Ozzola at the District Six Museum Homecoming Centre.
The collective Gallerist hangover on Sunday morning
blank and Stevenson’s Saturday night CTAF after parties have become the stuff of legend. If you’re at the fair early on Sunday morning, make sure to be extra-energetic and talkative. We hear Grandpa headache tablets and a strong cup of coffee can sometimes be used as legal tender for discounted artworks.
The ArtThrob Booth
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