As the oldest art fair in Africa, the annual FNB JoburgArtFair will return to Johannesburg’s Sandton Convention Centre for its tenth edition, from 8 – 10 September 2017.
The Fair will feature over 60 exhibitions within 5 categories, including Contemporary and Modern Art, Solo Presentations, Limited Editions and Art Platforms. The selected galleries and organisations hail from 11 countries across Africa, Europe and the United States.
Notably, six participants have exhibited in every FNB JoburgArtFair edition since 2008 – David Krut Projects, Goodman Gallery, Everard Read, Gallery MOMO and SMAC Gallery.
The Contemporary section will welcome MOV’ART (Luanda), exhibiting for the first time at the Fair, while Addis Fine Art (Addis Ababa) and Circle Art Agency (Nairobi) joining the main Contemporary section after their Fair debut last year as part of the 2016 East Africa Focus. Other new exhibitors include 50ty/50ty (Joburg) in Limited Editions, NWU Gallery (Potchefstroom) and Under Ground Contemporary (Kampala) in Art Platforms.
The solo presentations are dominated by women this year – six of the eight artists are female. South African artists include Sethembile Msezane – represented by Gallery MOMO (Joburg & Cape Town), Lady Skollie by Tyburn Gallery (London), Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi by the Mariane Ibrahim Gallery (Seattle) and Bronwyn Katz by blank projects (Cape Town). In Toto Gallery will showcase Ilana Seati, and SMAC Gallery will present a new body of Chemu Ng’ok’s work. SMITH Studios will exhibit a unique presentation of the collective HOICK and ELA – Espaço Luanda Arte will present António Ole.
“In preparing for the tenth anniversary edition,” says Mandla Sibeko, Director of the FNB JoburgArtFair, “we asked ourselves if we ever simply reflect on a scenario without imagining the potential outcomes, or envision a future without considering the past? So we used this natural moment of reflection and celebration as a framework for the focus of this year’s Fair – to interrogate how closely the acts of ‘Looking Back & Looking Forward’ are tied. We’ll be looking back at the legacy of Modern and Contemporary African Art while looking forward to the future possibilities of artistic practices, communities and markets on the continent.”
In the spirit of ‘Looking Back’, Dr. Zoe Whitley of London’s Tate Modern, will curate an exhibition within the Fair entitled ‘Truth, or some other abstraction’, which will look at how South African modern artists voiced their stories and how those stories shaped our contemporary understanding of history. Borrowing works not often on public display from Gauteng’s collections, Whitley’s curatorial investigation of the modern South African narrative will demonstrate the importance that our past plays on present realities.
The Fair welcomes back Robin Rhode – the featured artist at the very first Fair in 2008 and once again as 2017’s featured artist. Rhode’s most recent body of work resonates with the concept of ‘Looking Forward’. He obscures obvious age, race or even gender from his imagery, favouring instead the constants of geometry, balance and colour theory. The results are eerily comforting avatars in the age of globalisation – iconography with which anyone may identify.
Mari Van Niekerk, Senior Communication and Sponsorship Manager at FNB says, “The FNB JoburgArtFair continues to play a significant role in discovering the value that artists bring to society and has earned a reputation as the ideal place for those interested in African contemporary art. As a proudly South African bank with roots that extend into several other countries on the African continent and further afield, First National Bank (FNB) helps to sustain the support of art through this prestigious annual event.”
New to the FNB Joburg Art Fair, Cartier will be front and centre supporting the arts, showcasing exceptional jewellery and watch creations, and a selection of artworks created but the students of Johannesburg-based art schools, The Artists Proof Studio and The Market Photo Workshop. The exhibition, part of the Maison’s support of emerging artists in South Africa, is titled “The Ordinary Becomes Precious”, and is inspired by Cartier’s Juste un Clou collection. Juste un Clou pieces magnify the precious qualities of everyday objects in a sublime take on the ordinary, embodying boldness, modernity, and innovation by offering a creative twist on a familiar object.
“This is our inaugural year as a sponsor to the FNB Joburg Art Fair,” said Cartier Country Manager, Sheila Anne Johnston. “Cartier has always had strong ties to the world of art. In fact, the art of jewellery-making is one of the most ancient and universal forms of expression. We were driven to support the Art Fair as art and design are part of our identity. The creative spirit of Cartier resonates with that of the Art Fair.”
Also exhibiting at the Fair for the first time, BMW will present a BMW 7 Series by Ndbele artist Esther Mahlangu. Twenty-six years ago, Mahlangu was the first woman to create artwork on a BMW 525i Sedan, and in 2016 she was once again commissioned to refine a BMW 7 Series, which was exhibited at the Frieze London art fair.
As always, the FNB JoburgArtFair has planned a vibrant and informative series of special projects and events. Lalela will host the Educational Programme and Artinsure will host the Art Tours. Says Gordon Massie, MD of Artinsure, “We are excited to be involved in the walkabout program for the second year because it’s our goal to make art accessible. Professor Federico Freschi and Magkati Molebatsi will lead the walkabouts, giving art lovers an insight into some of the works on display.”
This year, the addition of a Film Programme will be headlined by the Centre For the Less Good Idea, the brainchild of acclaimed South African artist William Kentridge. On Friday 8 September, audiences can enjoy a specially curated selections of video works from The Centre Of The Less Good Idea’s first season, which will be projected on a large outdoor screen in Nelson Mandela Square.
The Talks Programme will once again take place at the Theatre on Nelson Mandela Square and highlight the exciting content at this year’s Fair. Notably, the programme includes featured artist Robin Rhode and The Armory Show (New York) Director Benjamin Genocchio – each delivering a keynote – as well as a conversation that looks at The School of Anxiety, a project by Moses Serubiri, showcased at the 10th Berlin Biennale.
“We would like to thank First National Bank for their vision and continued support”, concludes Mandla Sibeko. “Thanks also goes to our galleries, especially those who have been with us since our inception, and we welcome our new galleries and projects to this bumper edition. Further thanks is extended to our government partner, Gauteng Provincial Government, to Cartier, not only for their exquisite exhibitions, but their enthusiasm and recognition of the value that art brings to society. We are very grateful to Egon Zehnder for enabling our VIP programme, as well as Artinsure for hosting the walkabouts. We look forward to continued relationships with these prestigious organisations.”