ASPIRE X PIASA highlights Modern & Contemporary African Art in Cape Town12/02/2020 - 14/02/2020
Collectors of contemporary art and photography are well catered for in the upcoming Aspire X Piasa Auction of Modern & Contemporary African Art in Cape Town.
Contemporary art currently accounts for 15% of the global secondary art market and is now the third largest collecting segment by auction turnover ($1.89 billion). Dynamic in nature, the contemporary art market represents an arena of unbounded discoveries, constantly fueled by new works and artists entering the scene. Aspire Art Auctions continues to prevail in this sector, currently holding the world auction records for works by: Moshekwa Langa, Sam Nhlengethwa, Mohau Modisakeng, Zander Blom, Georgina Gratrix and Simphiwe Ndzube amongst others. In South Africa, the auction house hold the records for works by William Kentridge, Pieter Hugo and Mikhael Subotzky.
An outstanding auction
Introducing the contemporary collection is an impressive range of drawings and sculpture by William Kentridge. Topped in value at R3–5million, Kentridge’s large scale mixed media work Whilst Reaching Down (Slowly), 2013, is a series of drawings on dictionary paper.
Filmed in sequence, they become an animation, forming a progression of images in which Kentridge explores his inter-related interests in drawing, text and film. Another drawing from this series as well as an animation with music and singing by Neo Muyanga, is currently on view in the exhibition, William Kentridge: Why Should I Hesitate? Putting Drawings to Work at Zeitz MOCAA in Cape Town.
Works by Kudzanai Chiurai (Zimbabwe), Zemba Luzamba (Congo) and Kay Hassan, as well as Wim Botha and Zander Blom alongside Mustafa Maluka’s large painting We forgot how life’s supposed to be, and Moshekwa Langa’s Untitled abstract in blue ink add to the strength of the overall contemporary offering.
Other highlights include a striking city-scape Full Moon, 2017 by the late, much celebrated David Koloane as well as delicate works on paper by Pascale Marthine Tayo (Cameroon) and Kemang Wa Lehulere.
Spotlight on a new generation
The collection also introduces a new generation of bright young stars with works by Simphiwe Ndzube, Ruby Swinney, Pierre Vermeulen and Jody Paulsen.
Aspire has made meaningful advances in developing the market for photography at auction, and the carefully curated selection of photographic works will excite discerning collectors. Included are works by some of the best-known, established and emerging, names in film and photography from Africa, some of whom are making their South African auction debut.
Rarely exhibited in South Africa is an early 1980s photograph Every Mother’s Son / Children of Suffering by the late Nigerian/British photographer Rotimi Fani-Kayode. His work investigates the body politic and queer identity – one of the first photographers to do so. Fani-Kayode’s archive is enjoying a renaissance of international critical engagement and re-assessment following his inclusion in recent survey exhibitions and publications in the UK.
Three examples from influential Benin photographer Leonce Raphael Agbodjélou draw upon his hallmark portrait vernacular. In 2013, Agbodjélou won the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize from London’s National Portrait Gallery.
Kenyan artist Cyrus Kabiru was listed among the top artists represented at Paris Photo in 2019. Macho Nne 09 (Caribbean Peacock), 2014 is a striking image, typical of his meticulously crafted self-portraits from his C-STUNNER series.
Guy Tillim’s 2008 photograph Apartment building, Avenue Bagamoyo, Beira, Mozambique holds pride of place as the cover of his lauded book Avenue Patrice Lumumba. This image has, for over a decade, served as a catalyst for institutional discussion around the relationship between photography, architecture and society in Africa, whilst enjoying a lengthy roster of international exhibitions.
Legendary photographer David Goldblatt is represented with seminal images from his famous photo books Some Afrikaners Photographed and TJ/Johannesburg Photographs including the highly sought-after work – A railway shunter who dreamed of a garden without concrete or bricks, watered by this dam, Koksoord, Randfontein. 1962. Aspire currently holds the world auction record for Goldblatt’s work and continues to dominate this market globally.
Download the e-Catalogue here.