Heading into its seventh year since its inception back in 2013 and also digging roots at a new address along trendy Illovo Boulevard, the RMB Turbine Art Fair has with ensuing time, enjoyed a growth trajectory in the leaps and bounds quotient – starting with some 2000 visitors at inception and experiencing a zenith of 10647 figures who passed through its doors in 2018.
At a media briefing held at the fair’s new and bigger premises on 10 Fricker Road Illovo, members of the Fourth Estate were let in on a presentation by Fair Founder, Glynis Hyslop, of a timeline reflecting impressive numbers in the ever increasing trend of ticket-holders – as well as the calibre of exhibitors featured annually. Experiencing a double multiplication in visitor numbers from 2013, in 2014, that year’s fair saw the introduction of what in the art world parlance is alluded to as: fresh produce – translating to artists still cutting their teeth in the industry. 2015 experienced 7542 visitors with crucial participant, JAG multiplying its exhibition and with an emerging painters’ exhibition being sold out.
In addition, a fresh produce & training for artists enjoyed a 90% sold out. That same year, also saw the announcement of the TASA 2015 artist. The Johannesburg Art Gallery then presented the works of Industrious South African artist, Diane Victor and those of yesteryear master, Francisco Goya, in 2016. Visitor figures numbering 8946 in 2017, highlights for discerning art lovers were, inter alia, the installations, Anton Taljaard: Pierneef, A Collector’s Passion exhibition – as well as the repurposed military vehicle entirely covered with millions of intricate beadwork by Ralph Ziman, known as, The Casspir Project. With ticket-holders reaching five figures (10 647) for the first time in its history, the year 2018 had RMB coming on board as the fair’s headline sponsor and its main feature for that edition was: Is there Still Life? The Work of Irma Stern.
This year sees the launch of, THINK ART.on the move.
At the media briefing, Hyslop also spelt out the Fair’s commendable market positioning, which encapsulates the powering of the imaginations of early-stage collectors; the launching of the careers of emerging artists; the boosting of young galleries and the championing of established and new talent in accessible and inclusive environments. Observed Hyslop, “South Africans have really embraced this fair since the beginning and we are delighted to be moving to a bigger venue in 2019. Visitors will be able to view exciting installations, larger gallery spaces and a more conceptually curated fair but in the relaxed environment that has always been the signature of Turbine Art Fair.”
Under the able curatorship of young and insightful Port Elizabethan, Kefiloe Siwisa, the 2019 RMB Turbine Art Fair promises to up the ante on standard of excellence witnessed at previous editions and is definitely a mid-winter warming rendezvous with more than 40 exhibitors ranging from The Bag Factory, Free State Art Collective, Artist Proof Studio, Market Photo Workshop, Candice Berman Gallery, Kalashnikovv Gallery to Straus & CO–Strauss Online – among appetising others, offering eye-lolly from paintings, sculptures and photographic prints.
This year’s fair will feature walkabouts, talks (artist talks and panel discussions), printmaking masterclasses conducted by David Krut Projects, as well as screenings featuring documentaries on Gerard Sekoto and Billy Monks. An outstanding feature, judging by slides presented pending the engagement with the media, will be the ropes and metal sculptural installations by Joburg-based artist, Nkhensani Rihlampfu. Not just a social outing for adults, fun and educative activities for children have also been incorporated into the four day programme – in the form of the Imbali Children’s art area. In addition to things art, the fair also offers visitors a pleasurable excuse to indulge in matters of gastronomy through the artisanal food and beverages – and complemented by vibrant entertainment!
Ahead of the 11 to 14 July occasion, the briefing was notified of the sad news of the passing on of veteran artist, David Koloane.
Article by Jacob Mawela for Soweto Life Mag, 10 July 2019