Transformation, the next group show to open at Southern Guild, Cape Town, later this month, explores the space that the collectible design gallery occupies between art and design, visionary expression and forthright purpose. Exhibiting newly commisioned work from over 15 South African designers and artists, Transformation presents experimentation in material and scale, challenging the traditional understanding of where artwork ends and functional design begins.
‘Does a sculpture become design if it offers a useful surface? Is a chair cast in bronze or carved in marble a sculpture?’ asks Southern Guild Director Julian McGowan. As curator of the exhibition, Julian challenged this select group to produce a piece that invites the audience to ask similar questions. ‘We are working in a sphere where function becomes disfunction, where location and dislocation exist side by side, and intention and disturbance converge,’ he explains.
Southern Guild stalwart Andile Dyalvane says of the show, ‘A place of exploration is important in developing definitions. It poses questions to those who choose to give themselves up to a particular journey. Collecting expressions of practicality in design, and emotive realities in artistic interpretation, is how I find paths to transcend these definitions and create work that fulfills me.’
Expanding on his work that Southern Guild will be taking to Design Miami, Andile’s ceramic piece is inspired by the granaries and silos of ancient African tribes. These useful structures were built using methods found across the African continent – from the Dogon tribe in Mali to those of Andile’s home village of Ngobozana in the Eastern Cape. His piece infuses these traditional practical designs with his personal identity and artistic spirit.
Exhibiting for the third time with Southern Guild, Stanislaw Trzebinski says that his traditional role of working predominantly as an artist rather than a designer means that Transformation offers him the exact platform on which to illustrate the blurring line between the two disciplines. ‘This space allows me to express myself in ways that I could not have done before, in a manner that lets go of the restraints that my “pure art” places on me,’ he explains.
As the contributors to South African collectible design explore the boundaries of this growing category, it is exhibitions like Transformation that define our participation in this global movement.
Transformation takes place at Southern Guild Gallery in Woodstock, Cape Town from 24 November 2016 to 20 February 2017 and will include work by Andile Dyalvane, Adam Birch, Conrad Hicks, David Krynauw, Dokter and Misses, Driaan Claassen, Guy du Toit, Jesse Ede, John Vogel, Madoda Fani, Michael MacGarry, Otto Du Plessis, Sanell Aggenbach, Stanislaw Trzebinski, Xandre Kriel and others.
Southern Guild Gallery, Unit 1, 10 Lewin Street, Woodstock, Cape Town
Opening hours: Monday-Friday 10am-5pm (Saturday by appointment only)