A buzz has been palpable in the local property market as art collector, rollerblade enthusiast and Johannesburg’s funniest mute raconteur, Teut Saxon, is scouring the inner city of Johannesburg, searching for a space to house his personal collection and his ego. Saxon, whose guiding curatorial principle has been “(Lots of) Objects from Africa”, has amassed a veritable storehouse of things, from sculptures and paintings to photographs. A lot of photographs. Like, plenty of. Tons. Sommer fokken baie. And now he is seeking out that special venue, that magical flux of interior and exterior that can accommodate both the collection and his sense of self.
An insider, Vestibule Cantata, told ArtThrob on Tuesday, “He’s got art objects packed in his house. Floor to ceiling. He makes his morning Nespresso with an Anatsui in front of him, and goes to sleep each night on a bed of Roses. Tracey Roses. The Lifestyle Channel contacted him to make a documentary about his hoarding. But, of course, they’re philistines: collecting more art than you could ever gander at in one human lifetime, concentrating a continent’s cultural capital in one place with one owner, stopping the flow of objects and creating around you an economy that primarily benefits you; that’s not hoarding. It’s COLLECTING. Totally different to what the Europeans did in Africa in the 18th and 19th Centuries. Like, totes.”
Another person close to Saxon disputes criticisms that his style of collecting has been at odds with the content of much African art. Heeyacumdi Otsteppa, local flat-white aficionado and full-time Snapchat activist said in an email discussion, “Sax – I call him Sax… sometimes… not to his face – Sax doesn’t get this criticism. People are talking all kinds of smack. One person on Facebook said, ‘For centuries, the continent was ravaged by colonialism. How is a German bloke with a chequebook only marginally thicker than his accent, going around and gathering up this stuff to just have, different from what colonialism was all about?’ And, I mean, lolzies Couldn’t be further from the truth. Why? It just is. It’s not the same thing at all. I mean, Sax has helped launch careers, put people on the map; it’s not the same as drawing the map and saying, here you are, on the map, now give me your stuff. Pssh. Sax loves Africa, like in a Toto way.”
Whatever the politics of Saxon’s approach, he is now thoroughly engaged in the task of searching the city’s warehouses and abandoned buildings, to find room for his collection. Through a spokesperson, who spoke through a cell phone, which in turn was linked up to a bitcoin mining server which was powered by the peddling feet of a small group of interns, Saxon said, “What is important in this process is the undefinable, the intangible, essentially, my aura, my ‘feel’ of me. Myself. My projection into the world; that needs to be taken into account by the curators, the architects, the designers. I need to be reflected in all aspects of this building. Me. Myself. It’s the only thing I really know, you know? Huh? Egotistical? Maybe. But I’m into certainties, and I, me, myself: I’m the only certainty in my own life. Well, me and the flip value of my Fossos…”
Reports that Maboneng developers Propertuity had been emailing Saxon every hour, on the hour, with edgy design ideas consisting of cottage-pane windows, exposed face brick and faulty plumbing could not be confirmed at time of publication.