Beyond being the biggest and best showcase of contemporary art from Africa and the world on the continent, this year’s Investec Cape Town Art Fair, which runs from 16 – 18 February 2024 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC), offers visitors an especially rich array of special features, highlights and extras. Investec Cape Town Art Fair is in its 11th edition and to celebrate, we bring you 11 things that you simply cannot miss, including some fresh new additions to the line-up of events.
The theme for the curated sections of the 2024 edition of the fair is Unbound, aiming to break free from constrictive narratives and focus on emerging, diverse ‘unbound’ voices as a catalyst for the creation of new possibilities. More than ever, Investec Cape Town Art Fair will celebrate the city of Cape Town, Unbound, offering visitors a programme packed with opportunities to explore the artistic life of the Mother City and experience its cultural institutions, meet the artists and interact with the creative community, gaining unprecedented insight into the South African and International art world.
Fabulous first-time features will join the line up of favourite talks, walkabouts, parties, tours and opportunities to explore the Mother City’s art ecosystem, including the Yawa Off White Capsule and Lukhanyo Mdingi collab (the first of its kind at the fair), the brand-new focus on ceramics and GENERATIONS, a debut section featuring cross-generational dialogues between artists.
For the first time, five emerging artists selected from twenty artists who have been through the City of Cape Town's Emerging Artists Programme, will be represented by a dedicated booth curated by curator Igsaan Martin. Additionally Bo Kaap is set to bind the city with an activation which speaks to the theme of Unbound.
This year, for the first time, the Investec Cape Town Art Fair will present a special project on one of the most exciting artistic mediums emerging as a major force in contemporary artistic expression. Titled Cabinet|Clay, this project brings together a selection of ceramic works that showcase artists working in clay. From the refined work of master ceramicists such as Ian Garrett to those who embrace its potential to express contemporary feminist concerns, such as Frances Goodman, others who explore current evolutions of local heritage and traditional techniques, such as Madoda Fani, Chuma Maweni and Clive Sithole, and others, like architect Michal Korycki, who engage with clay’s materiality and inherent ability to express form and construction.
Cabinet|Clay explores the modern embrace of this ancient medium. Other artists include Amogelang Maepa, John Newdigate, Lisa Ringwood, Siyabonga Fani, Githan Coopoo, Jeanne Hoffman, King Houndekpinkou, Chuma Maweni, Louise Gelderblom and Geena Wilkinson.
A new GENERATION
Making its debut at this year’s fair, Generations sets artists from different generations in dialogue with each other to create intergenerational conversations and engender a deeper understanding of both emerging and established voices.
By setting off interactions between a selection of 10 artists at different stages of their careers, this section aims to bring to light new insights into both evolving concerns that span generations as well as the jumps and discontinuities, intersections and departures.
Curators Natasha Becker and Amogelang Maledu hope that such conversations will catalyse a more meaningful cultural relationship between past and present.
Participating artists include Esther Mahlangu (The Melrose Gallery) in conversation with Bonolo Kavula (SMAC Gallery), artists from Rorke’s Drift (Riaan Bolt Antiques) in conversation with Terence Maluleke (Southern Guild), Lulu Mhlana (Jonathan Carver Moore) in conversation with Sedireng Mothibatsela (Ora Loapi), Barry Salzman in conversation with Emme Pretorius (both IS Art Gallery), Kimathi Mafafo (EBONY/CURATED) in conversation with Ayobami Ogungbe (Rele Gallery).
What’s the ALTernative?
The popular ALT section, which made its debut in 2022, has been expanded this year. This fascinating section is dedicated to projects that reflect the “anti-booth”: the many ways in which newly established and non-traditional art project spaces have emerged as the art world has been forced to adapt to circumstance and invent ways that depart from conventional and traditional models.
ALT represents manifestations of emergent thinking and modes of practice that have broken away from the existing arts ecosystem to reveal the diverse, innovative and alternative artistic universe that exists in and around the continent. There are fourteen exhibitors, which include the likes of 16 Lerotholi, Art Formes, artHARARE, Borna Soglo Gallery, Vela Projects and Untitled, who make up the lineup for ALT section.
Off the WALL
This year, WALL will explore one of the hottest and most fascinating areas of recent local art history: the development of South African modernism. WALL will present an overview of work from the 1940s to the recent past that disrupted traditional modes, challenged the art market and forged the foundations of contemporary art production.
This year’s presentation begins by exploring early shifts in the palettes of the works of the likes of Gregoire Boonzaier, George Pemba and Gerard Sekoto and progresses to a more radical rethinking of representational modes in the abstract work of Cecil Skotnes, Ezrom Legae, Lucas Sithole and Edoardo Villa. It traces the early ‘scapes’ of Kenneth Bakker through to the mystical icons of Larry Scully, Douglas Portway and Kevin Atkinson and the ‘hidden universe’ made visible by Karel Nel and culminates in the woven ‘spiritualist’ statements of Igshaan Adams.
The exhibition also weaves in the narrative approaches in a selection of works by Sam Nhelengethwa, Willie Bester, Peter Clarke, Cecil Skotnes, Robert Hodgins, Sydney Kumalo and Mary Sibanda, another key component of South Africa’s artistic heritage.