Volume 8 (Create) – Autumn 2023
In their own words, a new crop of local creatives explain the ways (and space) in which they work
‘In process’ feature spread in Volume 8 (Create). Photography by Kent Andreasen
Produced by Gabriel Hope, Ex Hotel creates limited edition, made-to-order collections of functional design objects and furniture. ‘I needed a place for my ideas to live so I housed them in an old hotel. In its simplest form, Ex Hotel is a fictional space that houses my ideas until they make it into the real world. As much as I spend time making physical furniture, an equal amount of time is spent on the narratives that support this fictional world that the furniture inhabits.
A large part of each furniture item is the story that comes with it – so it’s partly a writing project and partly a design project. The furniture sometimes feels like a symptom of a much larger project. Of course, the furniture is important, no one wants an empty room, fictional or not, and we all need somewhere to sit, but sometimes the furniture feels like the ground floor of a much taller building.’ @ex.hotel
BELOW Gabriel Hope, of Ex Hotel, in his Cape Town workshop where he creates limited edition custom furniture pieces.
RESERVOIR is a curatorial partnership founded by Heinrich Groenewald (above left) and Shona van der Merwe (above right) in 2021. The partners shaped their careers in commercial galleries, where they gained in-depth knowledge of the local and international art markets.
Says Heinrich, ‘We use the word “collaborate” as often as we can to develop our company’s ethos. “Collaboration” definitely has the potential to become a bit of an empty buzzword, but for us it really is the basis on which we are building RESERVOIR.
As a partnership, we benefit from playing to our own strengths. For the art industry, we believe that there are more pieces of the proverbial “pie”, where more players can benefit from single projects.
In this way we reconsider current models. We see more and more artists with a desire to work independently, yet still in need of support in their careers, which we aim to provide.’ @_reservoir_
ABOVE Heinrich Groenewald stands in front of Asemahle Ntlonti’s ‘Khaya khulu 2’ and Shona van der Merwe poses in front of Carola Friess’ ‘Safeguarding’, both wearing garments by Lukhanyo Mdingi. These artworks were on display at their ‘Home Strange Home’ exhibition, held at Twee Jonge Gezellen wine estate in Tulbagh in collaboration with WHATIFTHEWORLD Gallery and Krone. BELOW Core members of FEDE Arthouse, Ntokozo Zwane, Nthabiseng Mofokeng, Carol Khaas, Lebo Kekana and Ayanda Kanise, as seen at their recent show entitled ‘Process’.
FEDE Arthouse is an artist run nomadic gallery, with members of the collective practising in disciplines of fine art, design and architecture. ‘FEDE’s curatorial practice can be defined as spacemaking, creating alternate exhibition experiences in varying environments – exploring how the functions of spaces of art consumption can be met through experimental means outside standard practice,’ says one of the founders, Lebo Kekana.
‘For a while, I had committed myself to my art practice as a painter. ‘Collective’ FEDE Arthouse and naturally wanted to show in galleries. I had a background in science and little understanding of the art world. In addition, I had my own alternate ideas of how exhibition spaces could possibly look and feel. I decided to coordinate an independent group show, inviting other young artists who had little to no experience working within gallery spaces, and FEDE Arthouse was born.’ Held in Cape Town earlier this year, FEDE’s third exhibition, PROCESS, contemplated intersections between art, design, space and place. @fede_arthouse
Inspired by Orientalism and Impressionism, painter Lené Ehlers works in a myriad mediums, from painted murals, ceramics and floral installations, to paper, canvas and antique furniture.
‘Playfulness is a significant theme in my work. In studio I am constantly in a state of exploration, creating layers of richness and abundance and celebrating beauty. The starting point for most of my projects is wanting to create something for myself or my studio – so all of my work has a very personal touch. I currently have two spaces: a showroom and a studio. I like my work space to be white with loads of natural light, filled with all kinds of embroidered textiles, detailed suzanis and rugs, vintage treasures and antique frames, scattered around – and there’s always a foraged element present.
At the moment this element comes in the form of long fennel branches that make the whole studio smell like liquorice.’ Recently Lené collaborated with Kraak on their new venue, Kruijd. Works included handpainted tablecloths with detailed patterns and motifs, as well as custom-made plates and vases too. @leneehlers
ABOVE Lené Ehlers at work in her studio space, busy on her next series of illustrations. BELOW Small independent publisher Dream Press creates limited edition, Riso printed zines, books and art prints.
Owner Candice Ježek explains: ‘Our passions lie in all things to do with books and self-publishing – a big part of this is connecting with like-minded individuals – getting to collaborate and building a bookie community. Book design, publishing, Risograph printing, bookbinding and production management – ‘Community’ Dream Press we offer it all in house! We’re always pushing the norm of what a book can be. Books and zines make our eyes twinkle (total cheese, but it’s true!). Bookbinding is my first love, all the rest followed out of necessity to be in control of each step to get the best product out. I am still amazed and grateful that I get to do what I love everyday! Our studio is chaotic order, where old processes meet new, where colour and materials are our crack!’ @dream_press_sa
BELOW Photographed in his studio by Kent Andreasen, Samurai Farai wears local clothing brand Broke Wear. Aside from private art commisions, Farai Engelbrecht – known by the pseudonym Samurai Farai – recently collaborated with Mercedes-Benz, launched a collection of T-shirts as well as developed woven textiles using his original artworks.
Farai Engelbrecht, known by the pseudonym Samurai Farai, is a conceptual artist and independent creative. ‘I’m supposed to be able to discuss things like my mental health and mental health in the community and try to raise awareness about it. I chose art because it was the simplest tool I found to communicate how I was feeling, and it was the first tool I learned to use to express myself. It delves deeply into my childhood experiences of happiness and trauma, but it can now inspire the youth and show that a young black person can be an independent creative. It highlights important conversations of mental health and making us aware of the code-switching we use to move through life.’
‘I use a very diverse array of mediums, from spray paint, acrylic paint, oil, charcoal, pastel and crayon. I also use found objects and am even delving into decor and lifestyle items such as furniture, linen and carpets. I believe firmly in using my art to penetrate every part of people’s lives to dissolve the socio-economic status that art still encapsulates. I hate the fact that to some art is intimidating and feels like it belongs to an elite status of people in this world. I make art that is for everybody, from high art that may exist in museums, to murals that exist in busy city centres for everybody to see.’ @samurai_farai