- Published on Thursday, 10 May 2012 11:53
- Written by Chisanga Mukuka
Fringe Arts introduces the Ditto exhibition to aspiring artists to work with their idols.
The link between the art world and that of design isn’t something we often dwell on. Mention “art” and the mind conjures up abstract concepts and layer upon layer of depth.
Speak of design, on the other hand, and we think of pretty things which we throw around our homes and over our bodies. But spend a little more time on the idea and you begin to see that the areas do in fact overlap.
Chantal Louw, co-owner of the Fringe Arts store and curator of the exhibition was intrigued by the way in which artists and designers sometimes worked in similar ways, usually with no knowledge of each other.
As a celebration of these “serendipitous synergies” she asked jewellery designers to create pieces that discovered or explored their link to the art world. The resulting pieces were exhibited in an opening function on Friday, May the 4th.
Some of the designers were paired up with artists and asked to use them as inspiration, while others chose their muses and were able to collaborate with them in creating the pieces. Eon Hoon from "Eon Hoon Jewellery Design" chose to work with the Black Heart Gang, a group of local artists he admires and who’s work he felt resonated with his own “My little Black Heart” jewellery range.
His piece for the exhibition was inspired by his collaborators’ next book which centres on a feud between the moles and the bears. The piece Eon created was what he imagined the moles would scavenge after winning a battle against the bears; a Victorian inspired medallion which would be worn as a necklace.
Anna Raimundo, owner of Smith Jewellery was new to the work of her artist, Andrew Putter. Taking inspiration from the his “African Hospitality” series, in which he created portraits of 18th century Europeans who were shipwrecked and integrated into Pondoland tribes, Anna decided to design a piece that would “engage with the mix of cultures”.
Made from silver, copper, springbok skin, horn and wood, her necklace is an interesting representation of a hybrid culture and would look perfectly in place in one of Putter’s paintings.
Each of the collaborations exhibited used design to highlight unique aspects of the artwork, from turning the colour palate of Colin Payne’s landscape prints into beaded pieces by Gillian Fuller, to exploring the delicacy of pottery and ceramics through necklaces; the work explored and played with creative relationships. An idea in tune with some of the driving concepts behind the shop, a combination of an art gallery and a design store.
Chantal and her business partner, Thessa Bots, started out in 2010 as South Africa’s first “Pop-up” store and opened their permanent store on Kloof street in June of 2011, naming the store after Chantal’s hairstyle.
The owners focus on putting South African names out into the public and helping to establish artists and designers. The Fringe Arts was created as a space in which people could ‘talk’ and Chantal and Thessa make a point of introducing artists and designers to each other, creating “intimate relationships’’. The Ditto exhibition is a manifestation of this on-going creative conversation.