Black River Studio
Unit 6B Riverside Estate
62 Carlisle rd.
Johannesburg – A shared vision of affordable, high quality art makes the RMB Turbine Art Fair a fitting exhibition platform for 50ty/50ty, who return to the art fair in Newtown’s Turbine Hall this July.
While 50ty/50ty attracts renowned artist heavyweights, the initiative’s focus is on accessibility: connecting young and emerging collectors with high calibre work at inexpensive prices. It’s a feat made possible through collaboration, the fine art of the screen print, and the digital marketplace.
Conceived by fine art printmakers Black River Studio, 50ty/50ty collaborates with artists and illustrators to create original screen prints, releasing new limited editions every month. Studio co-founder Jeanne Legrand elaborates on the motivation behind the initiative: “In collaborating with artists at the studio we recognised the absence of a platform for marketing editioned work. At the same time, we met loads of young people with a keen interest in contemporary South African art, but without the funds to make large investments just yet.”
Affordability is achieved by increasing the traditional edition number slightly (to 50, a factor that informs the projects’ name) and also by selling work exclusively online. Exhibiting at art fairs, however, offers 50ty/50ty the unique and rewarding opportunity to showcase work in-the-flesh, in vivid colour – an experience as yet unmatched by online viewing technology.
Their booth this year features exciting work by young and talented artists-of-the-hour Georgina Gratrix, Ruby Swinney and Renée Rossouw. Gratrix’s screen print is set for release at the fair, available to the public for the first time. Her work continues to attract international acclaim, with the Art Brussels’ DISCOVERY prize the latest addition to her trophy cabinet. Ruby Swinney graduated in 2015 with a sold-out exhibition and has just opened her solo show Human Nature at the prestigious Zeitz MOCAA in Cape Town. The multidisciplinary genius of Renée Rossouw – artist, architect and designer – is a third highlight of 50ty/50ty’s portfolio.
The brainchild of fine art printmakers Black River Studio, 50ty/50ty derives its name from the collaborative process between artist and printmaker in the creation of an original screen print. The name also references the number to which each print edition is limited. This slightly higher edition of 50, as well as the fact that work is sold exclusively online, is what makes the artworks affordable – with original prints ranging between R2000 and R5000 in price.
Since inception two years ago, the initiative has worked with a steady stream of creatives including renowned artists Michael Taylor, Julia Rosa Clark and Brett Murray. Wim Legrand, the studio’s Belgian-born master printmaker, works closely with the artist from initial concept through to final print, facilitating exploration of the medium while lending his technical expertise and insight throughout the process.