South Africa's Finest Decor Magazine

Furniture & Fantasy

Porky Hefer's immersive and playful works return 'home' for the artist's first solo exhibition in Jo'burg

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Furniture & Fantasy
Furniture & Fantasy

Porky Hefer’s immersive works have become a well-loved fixture both locally and abroad. At the end of August, after touring the world circuit, his playful nest environments will return to Southern Guild gallery for his first solo show in Johannesburg.

The human scale nests and living pods are both a fantasy world and functional furniture – beautifully crafted, but alive with evocative childhood delight. ‘Porky is a designer who makes art’, says Southern Guild co-founder Julian McGowan. ‘The apparent playfulness of the work belies the depth of thinking.’

Photograph: Joe Kramm

‘Fiona Blackfish’
Photograph: Justin Patrick

‘James Brown’
Photograph: Rudi Geyser

Recurring themes in Hefer’s works are the loss of instinct, humanity’s preoccupation with received wisdom and the lessons implicit in the natural world. By engaging with these works – climbing into ‘Shell’ or perching on ‘Leopard Branch’, for example – audiences are returned to a child-like state, one of instinct and perception. He embraces the skills and processes that are readily available to him, rather than trying to emulate foreign ones. Each piece is intuitive and employs age-old techniques, working alongside local craftsmen – like the historic leather merchant Woodheads and The Cape Town Society for the Blind.

To date, Porky is the recipient of the 2013 Design Foundation Icon Award, he represented South Africa at the inaugural London Design Biennale and had a solo show at R & Company in New York in January this year (read more about it and our Q&A with him here). His ‘Fiona Blackfish’, which forms part of the show, was acquired by the National Gallery of Victoria and is the first museum acquisition in the field of collectable South African design.

The fun and not-to-miss Porky Hefer solo runs from 31 August to 4 November 2017. Visit Southern Guild Gallery in Jo’burg’s Trumpet Building, 19 Keyes Avenue, Rosebank. For more information about the exhibition visit southernguild.co.za.

‘Catherine Esca’
Photograph: Justin Patrick

‘James Brown’
Photograph: Rudi Geyser

Porky Heffer on ‘James Brown’
Photograph: Rudi Geyser

Photograph: Adriaan Louw

Featured image photography Joe Kramm’ Courtesy of Southern Guild