“We have used this opportunity during the global pandemic to look within, connect with loved ones and find joy in quiet moments of calm. But we have also sought ways to embrace the promises of the future. It would be rash not to reflect on what has happened to us all, but it must be tempered with forward-looking positivity. The artworks showcased at Spier Light Art 2022 do just that; they ask us to glance back while looking ahead, learning from the past as we stride into the future,” say the curators Jay Pather and Vaughn Sadie.
Pather and Sadie explain that while some of the works offer playful opportunities for fun others grapple with difficult themes such as social histories and our relationship with the planet.
The installations include:
· NIGHT CRUMPLE by HEDWIG BARRY: Large sculptures made from crumpled sheets of aluminium will change in appearance between night and day. Treated with automotive paints mixed with phosphorescent powder, the artwork has two lives and dramatises the relationship between force, scale and fragility. Night Crumple, which continues from an initial series of crumpled paper sheets, invites the viewer to consider the structure’s simultaneous resilience and vulnerability. Barry’s artwork explores the relationship between visibility and invisibility. Aspects of the work that are invisible by day will take on new life in the night's darkness, revealing hidden secrets. The amount of light absorbed by the phosphorescent paint in the day will affect how the work manifests at night in an ongoing and changing response to its site. The weather and the position of the earth relative to the sun will also influence the appearance of the work.
· MY SECRET DIGITAL GARDEN by NATALIE PENANG: Referencing the scene from the iconic Ophelia painting by Sir John Everett Millais, Natalie Penang’s video artwork injects fresh energy into the original artwork. The artist plays with the relationship between nature, technology and magical beings, while interrogating what it means to exist in an online universe.
· THOKOZA MAMA DAYS? by SANDILE RADEBE: Exploring the performance of ubuZulua bethu or ‘our Zuluness’ in a material culture is the core theme of this sculptural installation from Sandile Radebe. Equally important as a theme is the role abaphansi (ancestors) play in connecting the material and the spiritual world, and how they facilitate our spiritual purpose.
· PETRIFIED by BLAUKIND and THE RENDERHEADS: David Hecker, Alina Smith and Elzeth Calitz are The Renderheads and they are standing on the ground, looking into the clouds. Their interactive installation ‘Petrified’ asks the participant to question the prevailing narrative that science and technology, with their shiny light arcs and glassy interfaces, hold a place at the top of human creation. Instead, we should look at the holes in the ground from the lithium mining, the exploitation of the workers and the abuse of private data. As the participant walks through the reflective surfaces of ‘Petrified’, they will consider the ecological toll of our insatiable quest for technological development.
From 18 March to 18 April 2022, Spier Light Art will be accessible to the public and entry is free. Visitors will need to reserve a time slot online to ensure compliance with COVID-19 safety protocols and government restrictions. The best time to visit is at dusk, when you can catch the beautiful sunset and witness the lights being turned on.
Food and drink
Pre-book a sunset picnic online (collect your basket by 19:00, and return it by 21:00).
Not in the mood for a picnic? Delicious food is available from the Spier Farm Cafe, various pop-ups, the Spier Hotel Restaurant and Vadas Smokehouse & Bakery. Or just enjoy a glass of wine from the Braai Bar on the werf.
Make a night of it! Take advantage of Spier Hotel’s birthday special and receive a 21% discount on the best available rate.
With one of the largest contemporary South African art collections in the country exhibited at Spier, it should come as no surprise that supporting high-quality art is as much a part of the Spier ethos as producing award-winning food and wine. Spier believes that the visual arts are a powerful tool for transformation that spark fresh insights and inspire us to engage with the world in imaginative ways. Spier supports local artists through projects that honour our African heritage and enrich our future.