To provide a gateway to the greater art world for emerging artists and galleries, the event does special programming that brings new names to the fore. This year marks the third year of Emerging painters: The Graduate Show, an exhibition curated by acclaimed painter Jessica Webster, highlighting the best of newly graduate painters from universities across the country.
It also marks the 4th year of the exhibition Fresh Produce curated by Rolihlahla Mhlanga and supported by Rand Merchant Bank. The show is the culmination of a six-month mentorship programme leading up to the fair. For emergent connoisseurs, there’s collector Anton Taljaard’s exhibition of works by Jacobus Hendrik Pierneef shown in association with Strauss & Co and Artinsure. Taljaard’s biography informs us that, inspired by his parents who were avid collectors themselves, he accompanied them to collect a work by Pierneef that they had acquired from a prominent Johannesburg gallery. It was then that he promptly bought his first Pierneef linocut, at the tender age of 13.
Taljaard and a host of committed local collectors will be sharing their strategies and secrets on the TAF Artinsure talks curated by art consultant Makgati Molebatsi. The programme also includes two fine documentaries: Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict directed by Lisa Immordino Vreeland in 2015 as well as Herb & Dorothy directed by Megumi Sasaki in 2008. Both show how a passion for collecting takes over the lives of individuals albeit from different sides of the wealth divide.
While the booths of galleries will be showing their finest and most reasonably priced future stars, as well as some deceased ones, there will be two mixed media installations that could open visitors minds up to different possibilities of expression and acquisition.
Lizamore & Associates of Johannesburg will be showing an aspect of artist Hannelie Coetzee’s installation from her previous show Watermense/Water People and Sulger-Buel Lovell of Cape Town will present their artist Neill Wright.
Coetzee leads what she calls a “site responsive practice.” She sees herself as an “ecological artist that studies the effects of man-made systems on the natural environment.” In the exhibition Watermense she focused on the use, abuse and distribution of water and in preparation walked along the natural streams crisscrossing Johannesburg interacting with individuals and communities she encountered there. She listened to their stories and photographed them and their surroundings. These images have found form through engravings of portraits on discarded doors. The doors will be installed at the art fair this year.