Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg
09.08.2017 – 10.09.2017
It’s a particularly special edition of the FNB JoburgArtFair this year, with the fair commemorating a decade of existence. Needless to say, this is an unprecedented achievement in SA and there’s plenty on the cards that should make for a memorable fair. Here’s what ArtThrob is especially excited for:
We remember Robin Rhode’s show as the featured artist back in 2008. In particular, a crate of melted Black Label quarts, pulled into long organic forms, has really stayed with me. Rhode’s reputation has only grown since then, and his practice has developed and densified. He also rarely shows in South Africa, so we’re really excited to see what he has to offer. There is also a pleasing circularity in seeing Rhode’s work featured again 10 editions of the fair later.
Esther Mahlangu can do no wrong in our books, and needless to say we were thrilled by the announcement that Mahlangu herself would be unveiling a new project with BMW at this year’s Fair. Her revamp of a BMW 7 Series Individual in Ndebele patterns harks but to what many would consider her signature piece: a similarly jazzed-up take on a BMW 525i Sedan in 1991. At the time, she was the first non-Western person and woman to design a BMW Art Car. Fun fact: featured artist Robin Rhode joined those ranks in 2009 with his take on a Z4.
Centre for the Less Good Idea
We love the concept of William Kentridge’s Centre for the Less Good Idea, with its focus on experimentation, collaboration and interdisciplinarity. There will be a screening of the first season of work to emerge from the centre on Friday night, and we can’t wait to see.
Talks, talks, talks
The FNB JAF Talks Programme always delivers and there are some real winners lined up this time. Look out for Robin Rhode, The Armoury Show executive director Benjamin Genocchio, and a mammoth conversation around the 10th Berlin Biennale. Two group chats promise to be particularly memorable: Lady Skollie, Zohra Opoku, Peju Alatise, Sethembile Msezane (moderated by Pulane Kingston) and Penny Siopis, Sue Williamson, Mmakgabo Mapula Helen Sebidi in conversation with Dr. Zoe Whitley.
The talks will take place over the Saturday at the Theater on Nelson Mandela Square. Keep an eye out for the Public Talks (including talks, walkabouts, and book signings) which will be held in various fairs stands throughout the run of the fair.
As the winner of this year’s FNB Art Prize, Peju Alatise will have a booth dedicated to her work. Alatise, who was recently featured on the inaugural Nigerian Pavilion at Venice, works with cloth and figurative sculpture. She also has one of the most charming artist’s statements on her website. Alatise is a dynamic artist moving fluidly between media and ideas. We’re excited to see what she delivers.
Truth, or some other abstraction
One of the highlights of the fair every year is the Special Curated Project. It often offers a little bit of much needed breathing room, in opposition to the commercial side of the fair. This year’s edition, curated by Zoe Whitley from the Tate Modern, is a curiously backwards leaning exhibition, with a focus on artists as truth-tellers and historians, and work that is older. This museum-like concept will hopefully deliver that breathing room.
Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi
We’ve got such a soft spot for Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi’s distinctive and frequently confounding paintings. Imbued with a strong sense of political intrigue and ‘something’s-afoot-ness’ her works are smart, engrossing and resonant. Rumour has it that Nkosi’s display will feature new works along the lines of her Heroes series: portraits of significant and influential figures in South African history coupled with somewhat cryptic titles which deny the viewer easy captioned access to their subjects’ identities. Whatever form her presentation takes, we can’t wait to see it.
António Ole has a solo booth with Espaço Luanda Arte. Ole is a mainstay of the art world in Luanda, and has worked in mutiple media including film and large-scale installations. This solo project is focussed on his output as a photographer, which will give us a small glimpse of a medium he is less well-known for.
Bronwyn Katz has a solo booth with blank projects. Katz’ understated work creeps up on you. Made of mattress foam, stitched and torn, her sculptures have a strange combination of minimalism and intimacy. We are keen to see how her works plays out against the frenetic energy of the fair.
2017 has been one hell of a year for Msezane, including a solo exhibition at Gallery MOMO, a residency with the Sylt Foundation , stints at documenta 14 with the collective iQhiya (also including Bronwyn Katz), speaking at the TEDGlobal 2017 conference and numerous other accolades. Her solo presentation at JAF looks set to continue that streak with a selection of new works which extend her investigation into processes of commemorative practice and the absence of the black female body in the monumentalisation of public spaces.
The ArtThrob Booth
Nestled in next to Booth C20, there’s plenty going on at the ArtThrob booth. Not only will our gorgeous new William Kentridge print be making it’s Fair debut, but our founding editor Sue Williamson will be giving a Public Talk about 20 years of ArtThrob on Friday evening (8 September) at 6:30pm. Come and join us for some champagne and a chat!
The FNB JoburgArtFair takes place at the Sandton Convention Centre, Exhibition Hall 1, 161 Maude Street, Sandton.
8 – 10 September 2017
Friday, 8 September: 11am – 8pm
Saturday, 9 September: 11am – 7pm
Sunday, 10 September: 11am – 5pm