SHOES FROM CHINESE SHIPS

01.08 – 01.09.2012

Group exhibition featuring the work of Gabrielle Raaff, Lisa Firer, Katrine Claassens, Wessel Snyman, Colijn Strydom, Danni Liang, Elsabe Milandri, Fan Cheng, Sarah Pratt & Sunette Viljoen.

Curated by Katrine Claassens, Monique du Preez & Candice Jezek.

 

About ~ Shoes From Chinese Ships

Walking on Strand beach near Cape Town one comes across a proliferation of shoes and other plastic debris from China scattered along the high-tide mark. From the survivors of a Ming dynasty shipwreck integrating into Kenyan society, to the story of a giraffe being welcomed to China as unicorn in the early 15 th century, the history of shoreline arrivals and trade between Africa and China is a long and often mysterious one.
Taking the sea, the vehicle for the original contact between China and Africa, as a point of departure Shoes From Chinese Ships features both emerging and established Chinese and South African artists. The show is a conversation in painting, drawing, installation and sculpture between the intricate and increasingly complicated relationship between Africa and China. Interrupting the commercial import/export relationship and replacing it with an integrated one that allows for a more personal discourse with a faraway place, the exhibition includes a collaboration between some of the South African artists involved and students from the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou. Living and working all around the world the artists explore the mystery, depth and intricacy of exchanges brought about by trade between these two countries throughout the centuries.

About ~ The Artists 

Working from China, South Africa, Germany and France the artists selected for Shoes From Chinese Ships are all of South African or Chinese nationality. The artists were selected for their visual and conceptual sensibilities, particularly the elements of nostalgia, fragility, mystery and displacement that tie their works together…

(visit the “artist’s section” to find out more about the featured artists or use this “TAG”)

Students from The China Academy

Students from The China Academy of Art are participating in collaboration with the South African artists listed above. The China Academy of Art is the most influential academy of fine arts in China with the most complete range of degree offerings and programs of study. It houses a diverse pool of artistic talent, with a focus on integrating theory and practice. Combining modern technical and cultural disciplines with traditional ones, the academy encompasses fine art, architecture, film and new media.

 

MVI 0190 from Monique du Preez on Vimeo.

 

Art preview:

 

Opening night:

 

Gabrielle Raaff

Gabrielle Raaff is a painter whose subjects are subtle and nuanced, avoiding neat categorization and tending instead towards fluidity and allusion. Throughout her works she engages the relationship of the individual to the crowd in the urban landscape. The delicate conceptual space of the material qualities of ink, watercolour and oil defines her practice that consistently challenges a sense of visual surety.

Raaff’s latest body of work sees an emphasis placed on the emotive quality of the brushstroke loaded with watery paint. In some paintings the form and the landscape are brought together whereas in others the subject is severed from its context, leaving forms stranded or floating in white space.

Raaff’s visual references are photographic, drawn from local neighbourhood newspapers or her family’s pictures. One type of reference is impersonal and the other deeply nostalgic. These two states merge within the final painting where, as is characteristic of her work, the picture plane repeatedly asserts itself against the pull of illusionism. The recognisable image arises and then dissolves in the terrain of the painting. With minimal description and often very little paint, Raaff reveals just enough visual evidence to springboard an idea. Her work’s seduction lies within its suggestiveness.

Exhibitions | Awards | Residencies

2018 – Cape Town Art Fair, Smith Gallery. 2017 – ‘Trail’ (solo) Smith Gallery, Cape Town; ‘Lady Garden,’ Cavalli Gallery, Somerset West; ‘Nano. 1.2,’ Barnard Gallery, Cape Town; ‘Field,’ Salon 91 Gallery, Cape Town; ‘Salad,’ Smith Gallery Summer Show, Cape Town. 2016 – ‘Nano 1’ Barnard Gallery, Cape Town; ‘Paper is You III,’ Salon 91 Gallery. 2015 – ‘Night Watch’ (solo) Salon 91 Gallery; ‘However,’ Art Hun Gallery, London; Aperture Gallery, Paris; ‘Winter Show’ and ‘Empire’ at Everard Read Gallery, Cape Town; Turbine Art Fair with Salon 91 Gallery, Johannesburg. 2014 – Rotterdam Art Fair, The Netherlands; Turbine Art Fair with Salon 91, Johannesburg; Scintilla: An Alchemy Show at Commune 1 Gallery, Cape Town; Paper is You II, group show, Salon 91, Cape Town. 2011 – Realm at Salon91, Cape Town; People at Chagan Contemporary, London; Paper Is You, group show, Salon 91, Cape Town. 2009 – In Our Midst (solo) at The Muti Gallery, Cape Town. 2008 – Periphery (solo) at These Four Walls, Cape Town. 2007 – Finalist exhibition, Spier Contemporary Art Awards. 1998 – Unplugged at Rembrandt Van Rijn Gallery, Johannesburg.

 

 

Katrine Claassens

Katrine Claassens’ paintings reflect her interests in climate change, deep ecology and conservation. Her miniature paintings present us with tiny golden worlds where endless scenes from the natural world play out. From escaping circus ponies to jungle tigers, something truly wild always nips out from these small, but powerful works. In style and atmosphere, the paintings unite two very different painting traditions: Persian miniature paintings and 18thcentury travel paintings. Even though these traditions are removed geographically and temporally, they both reflect a recognition that small bits of paradise can be found here on earth.

Indeed, through Claassens’ works we visit unspoiled tropical islands, overgrown gardens and fire-fly filled forests,all bursting with a menagerie of creatures who have come out to play. The use of golden metallic leaf and the diminutive size of the paintings emphasises the preciousness of these places and their animals, reminding us to be better guardians of the small Edens we still have left in the world.

Katrine Claassens has a degree in Visual Arts from Stellenbosch University and master’s degree in Climate Change from the University of Cape Town. She has led workshops, given public lectures and curated exhibitions all over the world from the Arctic to Antarctica. She is a writer and illustrator for The Nature of Cities and also volunteers with CliMates. She currently lives and works in Montreal.

Selected Projects & Exhibitions:  2018 – ‘Adaptation Futures’, Cape Town International Convention Centre; ‘Trees Make Forests’, Salon91. 2017 – ‘we came at a time,’ 99 Loop Gallery (solo), Cape Town; ‘Thoughtful Planet,’ The Thought Foundation, Gatehead, UK; Art Africa Fair, DF Contemporary, Cape Town. 2016 – ‘Oracle’ at Salon91; ‘Welcome To The Internet I Will Be Your Guide’ (solo) 99 Loop Gallery; ‘Reverie,’ AGOG Gallery; ‘Artemisia,’ DF Contemporary; ‘Imago Mundi,’ Pratt Institute. 2015 – ‘The Persistence of Memory,’ Untitled Studios; ‘Golden Haze,’ Salon91. 2014 – ‘Fresh Produce,’ Turbine Art Fair; ‘Five Wolves No Pigs,’ Montreal. 2013 – ‘Between The Blue Swimming Pools,’ AVA (solo); ‘Muse,’ Casa Labia; ‘Fissure,’ Commune1; ‘In Good Company,’ Irma Stern Museum Gallery; ‘Home is Wherever You Are,’ Salon91. 2012 – ‘Die Landskap van Vrouwees,’ Grevilleas Gallery; ‘Shoes From Chinese Ships,’ Salon91; ‘I’d Rather Be Swimming,’ Salon91. 2011 – ‘The Jacaranda Girls and Other Stories,’ Salon91 (solo). 2009 – ‘The Birds/ Les Oiseaux,’ Cheap as Candy, Syndrome, Montreal (solo). 2008 -Sasol New Signatures Exhibition, Pretoria Arts Museum; ABSA Atelier, ABSA Gallery. 2007 – Greatest Hits, AVA Gallery; Timo Smuts Art Prize, University of Stellenbosch Gallery.

 

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Sarah Pratt

Sarah Pratt is a highly skilled printmaker specialising in copperplate etching, linocut, collograph and monoprint. She begins her work with an object that interests her and then imagines what unexpected relationship to build with another object. The results are mapped in the final artwork where pen, paint, print and ink materialise her subjects. Her current interest is in drawing with gouache, pen and ink, but it is the process of layering (so fundamental to printmaking) that continues to influence her aesthetic.

Pratt relishes the juxtaposition of unexpected or discordant objects and the absurdity and humour of dreams. Witty and endearing, Pratt’s works also communicate her own personal struggles with space and place, the loss of a beloved pet or humanity’s tenuous link with the natural world.

Born in Zimbabwe in 1972, Pratt spent 10 years teaching printmaking part-time at UCT’s Michaelis School of Fine Art where she completed her MFA. She is an extremely prolific artist, constantly creating and actively participating in exhibitions.

Selected Exhibitions: 2018 – ‘Migration’ solo exhibition at Salon91. 2017 – ‘The Dark Forest’ at Rust en Vrede Gallery; ‘Oracle’ at Salon91. 2016 – ‘The Fox, The Owl and the Robber,’ solo exhibition at Salon91; ‘The Grand III’ at Rust en Vrede Gallery. 2015 – ‘Dog Days,’ solo exhibition at Salon91; ‘Narratives’ at Rust en Vrede Gallery. 2014 – ‘Away,’ solo exhibition at Salon91. 2013 – ‘I’d Rather be Swimming,’ Salon91; Lytton Street studio Exhibition, Cape Town; ‘Shoes from Chinese Ships’ at Salon91.

 

 

Sunette Viljoen

Sunette Viljoen is currently living and working in Cape Town. She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Stellenbosch in 2007, after which she spent some time abroad in London and New York, before returning to South Africa in 2010. She recently completed her Masters in Fine Art at the University of Cape Town’s Michaelis School of Fine Art. Viljoen works in various mediums, incorporating printmaking, sculpture, drawing and photography in room-sized installations. She has also initiated and exhibited in various group shows since 2007. Awards include: Stiftung Künstlerdorf Schöppingen Artist residency, Germany; South African National Research Foundation Freestanding Master Scholarship (2011); South African National Arts Council Individual Bursary award (2010).

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