Over recent years, South Africa has witnessed an increased demand for sculptural works – with a notable growth in the development of foundries – and is experiencing unique dialogues around sculpture and the socio-political and economic status of certain public memorials.
For Craig Mark, the Director of the Melrose Gallery, “one of these, certainly topical issues, is the ‘Rhodes must Fall’ movement, and the questions around whether certain large sculptures – seen by many as symbols of colonialism and reminders of South Africa’s apartheid history – should remain in, or be removed from, public space.”
“Some are also questioning whether bronze as a medium for sculpture is more relevant to a Western art form than to South Africa and Africa as a whole or whether this is more the typical subject matter and casting style that creates this impression.”
SculptX has organised a panel of notable individuals within the sculpture world to present a series of dialogues and discussions around issues of relevance to South African and African sculpture which will be free and open to the public. In line with these panels, the exhibition will flow from within The Melrose Gallery to public spaces within the Melrose Arch precinct, further encouraging dialogue with those who may not be so familiar with the notion of sculpture and its role in society.
Participating Artists include: Noria Mabasa,Willie Bester, Pitika Ntuli, Wilma Cruise, Gordon Froud, Anton Smit,Chrisel Vd Merwe, Seth Falconer, Vusi Khumalo, Paul Du Toit, Martyn Schickerling, Strijdom van der Merwe, Mark L Swart, Arno Morland, Siyabulela Ndodana, Susan Woolf, Jaco Sieberhagen, Lee-At Meyerov, Jon Wreal, Stanislaw Trzebinski, Andre Stead, Carl Roberts, Christiaan Diedericks, Mhlonishwa Chiliza, Nkosinathi Khanyile, Alexander von Klitzing, Jonathan Van Der Walt, Mziwoxolo Makalima, Keith Calder, Christelle Viviers, Jessica Foli, Lothar Böttcher, Samuel Allerton, Leanne Olivier, Marina Walsh, Chris Soal, Mark Chapman, Rudolf Bitzer, Johann Nortjie, Nicola Holgate, Jessica Le Roux, Patrick Rapai, Nkosinathi Ngulube, Bridget Modema, Ella Cronje, Bev Butkow, Sifiso Mkhabela, Johannes Maswanganyi, Richard Chauke, Collen Maswanganyi, Nico Phooko, Trevor Potter, Cecilia Wilmot Ballamand Thabo Pitso.
Many of the larger sculptures on exhibition at SculptX are set to remain in the public areas for an extended period of time to create a permanent ‘urban sculpture park’. Mark reflects that “in South Africa, we don’t have a culture of visiting museums, and very few people have ever entered an art gallery.”
“By placing art in public spaces, we introduce more people to art and this hopefully touches them and encourages them to want to view more.”
SculptX aims to provide a valuable platform for both the expression of ideas and notions around sculpture in South Africa and Africa, as well as the exhibition of sculptures in public spaces – and is set to become a popular destination for local residents and tourists alike.
SculptX Fair 2018 runs from the 31st August until the 30th September 2018 at the Melrose Gallery and Melrose Arch in Johannesburg, South Africa.