Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg
08.09 – 10.09.2018
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:
The recipient of the 2018 FNB Art Prize, artist and activist Haroon Gunn-Salie has really been moving from strength to strength in recent years. This year, his prescient sculptural installation Senzenina has been ubiquitous, showing at the New Museum Triennial in New York City, and Frieze Sculpture fair 2018 in London, receiving extensive media coverage along the way. Gunn-Salie’s haunting installation of 17 headless figures on their haunches references the initial bout of killings at Marikana and expertly encapsulates the pull between quiet protest and silenced screams which is so powerfully embedded in his work. Needless to say, his solo booth, featuring an extended installation of Senzenina is not to be missed.
Zander Blom solo booth and The Bad Reviews
Apparently a continuation of Blom’s rather nifty Paintings and Posters exhibition from earlier this year, we’re interested to see what’s in store for the artist’s solo booth. Emerging out of a frustration with the limitations of abstraction (“With abstraction you can’t really make jokes”, Blom laments [although…]), this new work marks a consolidation of his deceptively astute engagement with the history of Modern painting with Blom’s idiosyncratic low-fi humour.
While you’re at it, hop on over to Bad Paper, who are launching Eina!, the debut vinyl release from The Bad Reviews, Blom’s bizarre af (like reaaaally bizarre) collaboration with critic Sean O’Toole. Since accidentally stumbling upon their Instagram page, images of delicious monsters and Sean in a batman suit haunt our dreams. *shudder*
Featured Artist: Billie Zangewa
Billie Zangewa’s work is based in silk and fabric, with collage, stitching and tapestry featuring heavily. As the featured artist at this year’s fair, Zangewa has a dedicated booth, but which is gorgeously, and a little mysteriously, filled with plants. We’re keen to explore this mini-jungle!
We loved Aida Muluneh’s work when we first saw it at JAF in 2016. Her graphic colour and crisp sense of line and composition is visually gripping, but her approach to self-portraiture remains enigmatic. The pull between these two opposites keeps you thinking on them long after you’ve left the work. We’re looking forward, then, to seeing her featured prominently again at this year’s Fair.
Sue Williamson’s Messages from the Atlantic Passage
Recently featured at Art Basel, Sue Williamson’s Messages from the Atlantic Passage is gracing the entrance to the Fair. Tangled in fishing nets suspended from the ceiling, are hand-engraved bottles, each commemorating a slave who made the Atlantic passage. The bottles are wet by a constant stream of water gathering into pools below. Expect to be awed and moved.
Eclectica Contemporary are relative newcomers on the scene, which always makes for exciting edgy booths. They’re featuring Ofentse Seshabela in a solo booth. The strength of this young artist’s work lies in his mix of media with a strong political message. Uniquely, his work features smoke as a medium. The greasy, fiery marks are reminiscent of things burning, but also lend his work a blurry, uncertain and ambiguous edge. We’re keen to see what he brings to the fair.
This curious hashtag has been floating around the ZA art world online hangouts for a while now, and is the result of an initiative allowing the public to nominate and vote for new and exciting talent on the African continent via the #FNBJAF20 hashtag. The nominees are a treasure trove of great stuff, with the 20 finalists due to be announced at the Fair. We’re excited!
Wait…that Art:21?? Indeed, anyone who’s studied art in the last 17 years or so will be very familiar with PBS’s stellar TV series and educational resource Art:21 – Art in the 21st Century. A special sneak preview of an upcoming Johannesburg-centric episode ( featuring David Goldblatt, Nicholas Hlobo, Zanele Muholi, and Robin Rhode) will be screened as part of the Talks schedule this year, followed by a post-game chat with Nicholas Hlobo and Dr. Same Mdluli. This is definitely not one to miss.
Being based in Cape Town has meant that TMRW (Joburg’s ambitious ‘Mixed Realities Workshop’) has been a perpetual source of FOMO for ArtThrob’s editors. Shows like Mary Sibande’s ‘A Crescendo of Ecstasy’, and that group show with William Kentridge and co. – not to mention an imminent project with Lady Skollie – are some of the most exciting shows to have surfaced in 2018. Needless to say, we were delighted to discover that they will have a presence at FNBJAF this year, and we’re holding thumbs that we can catch up on some of that virtual goodness.
Revolting Songs performance by Neo Muyanga
An unmissable addition to the Talks schedule (did Talks Programme curator Kabelo Malatsie kill it this year or what?) Soweto-born composer and musician Neo Muyanga’s musical performances are utterly incredible. Taking the idea of music as living archive as their central conceit, Muyanga’s performances narrate an engaging and affective history of the protest songs that played a key role in South Africa’s liberation. 12h45 – 13h45 at Auto & General Theater, Nelson Mandela Square. You want to be there.
Galleries from beyond South Africa
We’d really like to see an end to South African exceptionalism, and more deeper engagement with the rest of the African continent. At previous iterations of the Joburg Art Fair, some of the best work came from Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and Kenya. More please! We looking at you, Afriart, ELA, First Floor Gallery, MOV’ART, Red Door, 1957, Arte de Gema and Addis Fine Art.
Lucky Bread co. coffee
Fun fact: ArtThrob needs good coffee to live. Last year, the fabulous Lucky Bread Co. more than stepped up to the plate, whipping up cup after cup of damn fine coffee. Needless to say, we’re thrilled that they’re back again this year! <3
Kemang Wa Lehulere and Portfolio 6 at ArtThrob booth
Over at Booth B08, ArtThrob has a small surprise. We are launching our Portfolio 6, with the addition of a work by Kemang Wa Lehulere. This aquatint is hot off the Warren Edition’s presses, and features Wa Lehulere’s distinctive drawing style, reminiscent of chalk boards. We’re super excited. The portfolio contains works by William Kentridge, Zanele Muholi, Siemon Allen, Dan Halter and Pieter Hugo. Come to our booth to see.
FNB JoburgArtFair takes place at the Sandton Convention Centre:
Exhibition Hall 1, 161 Maude Street, Sandton
Dates: 7 – 9 September 2018
Friday 8 September: 11am – 8pm
Saturday 9 September: 11am – 7pm
Sunday 10 September: 11am – 5pm
For more information, please visit: www.fnbjoburgartfair.co.za