The popular annual Spier Light Art will be presented again from 8 December 2019 to 19 January 2020. Each night, visitors will experience an array of light and sound artworks throughout the farm. 22 diverse artworks will be scattered across the Spier farm. Some are playful and interactive, while others invite poignant contemplation.

From 8 December 2019 to 19 January 2020, Spier Light Art will be freely accessible to the public. The best time to visit is at dusk, when you can catch both the beautiful sunset and the switching on of the lights.

• Sit down to enjoy nourishing and delicious food at Spier Farm Café.
Pre-book a picnic basket to enjoy at sunset on the lawns, or grab something delicious from the Good to Go section, open until 22:00.
• Sample accoladed vintages and enjoy a cheese or charcuterie platter in our Tasting Room, open until 21:00.
• Relax with a glass of wine and a snack on the Spier Hotel’s terrace, open until 22:00.
• Share delicious low-and-slow roasted veggie and meat dishes with friends at Vadas Smokehouse & Bakery, open until 21:00.

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Curatorial Statement

Jay Pather and Vaughn Sadie

Light not only illuminates but shapes how we think, how we feel, how we relate to our environment and to each other. Increasingly, this medium has been used and explored by artists to new heights – evoking exquisite metaphors, playful experiences and emotive symbols. Light art as a form and light art festivals have thus become a powerful addition internationally to our ever-expanding experience of art in the contemporary world. All of this was very evident at last year’s Spier Light Art – the very first exhibition devoted to such work in the country.

The artworks showcased at this year’s exhibition create a unique journey across Spier Wine Farm which is both awe-inspiring and thought provoking. Playful interventions respond with humour and wit to physical attributes of the estate, while other light installations allow for meditative interaction. A range of works reflect on South Africa’s complex and brutal past, and the persistent inequalities that frame our day-to-day reality. Many of these artworks ask for your participation in order for them to come alive – whether through touch, or other physical interaction, using your phone or even simply lying on a couch bathed in light. Watch out for these. We trust that these various experiences of light art and the range of themes, a clear expansion and extension of last year, will continue to intrigue and fascinate you. ~
Jay Pather & Vaughn Sadie



1. Family Tree

Clive van den Berg

The idea of family has undergone considerable change. In childhood Clive van den Berg loved looking at family tree diagrams, but realised that, in addition to genetic families, there are also families that we choose, particularly if we are ‘misfits’.

For van den Berg, a man who loves men, finding an echo of his desires is an important part of knowing that he exists within a community. This sculpture honours those who are family by choice and by identification.

Johannesburg based Clive van den Berg exhibits internationally. Exploring the body, eros, memory and land, much of his work focuses on the representation of suppressed histories, particularly those of men who love men. In tandem with his studio practice, van den Berg develops public projects as designer and curator, including permanent exhibitions at the Holocaust and Genocide Centre, the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Workers Museum in Johannesburg. He is the recipient of several awards including a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship and a Rockefeller Fellowship



2. Fathom I, II, III

Auckland Studio

These papier-mâché works are inspired by the existing granite boulders on site, particularly by their sculptural presence. The sculpted boulders mirror their original counterparts, but as inversions: light, hollow and buoyant. The reflective quality of water and its distortion of space and light invokes questions around perception, permanence, and the manufactured nature of the landscape.

Four individual artists, who work in a shared Cape Town studio, collaborated on this project. Dominique Edwards is interested in the repetitive activity of human labour and notions of time and place. Amber Moir works mostly with watercolour monotypes, exploring unconventional approaches to printmaking. Benjamin Stanwix looks at the ways in which we make sense of the past, and at contradictions as spaces for productive engagement. Sivan Zeffertt is a textile artist, weaver and photographer, focusing on themes of land, space and texture.



3. Songsmith

Jenna Burchell

Songsmith (The Great Karoo) is part of Burchell’s ongoing project wherein she restores broken objects and sites by embedding into them golden instruments called ‘songsmith’. The resulting sound sculptures and interventions respond to human contact by revealing songs about people, places and events as they fall into, and rise from, the vicissitudes of time.

Award-winning artist Jenna Burchell is driven to find ways to preserve the fragile and ephemeral nature of memory and experience. Often this involves fusing the digital with the natural world in order to create archives wherein the historical is subverted with narratives from the periphery. Burchell has exhibited at various international galleries, museums and institutions, including a solo project at the 20I4 National Arts Festival. Her works have been featured as special projects at select art fairs. She received the Thami Mnyele Fine Art Award (20II) and has been a resident artist at sculpture parks such as the YSP and Nirox.



4. Grondherinnering

Bronwyn Katz

Katz’s Grondherinnering reflects on the artist’s memories of childhood games. In one of the video’s frames we see the artist wash her feet with the red soil of the Northern Cape, the area from which she originates, which for Katz is a way of “reminding myself where I come from”. There is a sense of nostalgia in the work with Katz attempting to preserve her own personal history through the portrayal of these memories.

Born in Kimberley, Bronwyn Katz lives and works in Johannesburg. Incorporating sculpture, installation, video and performance, Katz’s practice engages with the concept of land as a repository of memory, reflecting on the notion of place or space as lived experience, and the ability of the land to remember and communicate the memory of its occupation.

Katz has held four solo exhibitions to date, including at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris. She was recently awarded the prestigious FNB Art Prize for 20I9. She is a founding member of iQhiya, an aII-women artist collective which has performed across various spaces, including documenta in Germany and Greece



5. Invisible

Kenneth Shandu

Kenneth Shandu’s work explores everyday experiences of economically marginalised people in South Africa. Society stereotypes homeless people as criminals, drug addicts and lazy. For Shandu, these stereotypes are harmful, closing opportunities for marginalised people and creating a dehumanising fear of them. The wire sculptures give visibility to what is invisible in society.

Durban-based artist Kenneth Shandu explores concepts of displacement and homelessness in urban areas through his art. He won the 20I9 PPC Imaginarium runner-up award for sculpture, the Emma Smith Art Scholarship award, and was a finalist for Sasol New Signature Art Competition in 20I8. He has worked as assistant curator at Durban University of Technology Art Gallery and has exhibited in a number of group exhibitions in Durban and Johannesburg. He is currently studying BTech in Fine Art and works as an assistant lecturer at the Durban University of Technology.

6 & 7

6 & 7

6 & 7. Breathe & Hugger


Goldendean presents moments of radical softness celebrating the right of bodies like theirs to be seen as beautiful, safe, and loveable – glowing, breathing sculptures to tenderly defy the social violence that would rather see them weak, traumatised, invisible and erased. Critical of tempting hypervisibility again, the artist asks how we let ourselves feel when it is safer for us to be invulnerable? In these “comfort objects”, Goldendean is developing intimate works at the intersection of art and love.

Dean Hutton is a genderqueer* trans media artist provoking dialogue about the gaze, queer bodies, love and social justice. They have worked across photojournalism, print, digital, video and social media, performance and community action since the late 1990s. Their studio practices bridge the intersecting genres of documentary, fiction and fantasy to produce radical queer counter-narratives. In an evolving public performance as Goldendean, their strategy of simple (and often improvised) disruptive actions by a “Fat Queer White Trans body” share moments of soft courage to affirm the right of all bodies to exist, be celebrated and protected.



8. Wave Machine

Roelf Daling

Energy can only be carried in two ways, with particles or via waves. Roelf’s interactive sculpture visualises the fundamental principle of wave theory. Come play and see how every single wave in our universe behaves. From the light entering your eyes to the signals our cellphones send, this is how splendid they really are.

Roelf Daling completed his Honours in Fine Arts in 20I0, a postgraduate diploma in Interactive Media Design in 20I3 and started his residency at Greatmore Studios in 20I5. Roelf has engaged in various projects, ranging from large-scale light installations to community arts projects. Currently, he uses digital new media technologies like 3D-sculpting, and also focuses on the physical mediums of cement and mycelium. He likes to experiment with unifying ‘the digital’, ‘the natural’ and the man-made.



9. The Sea Inland

Oupa Sibeko

The ocean has long represented trauma (as in the case of the transatlantic slave trade), but is also a space for longing and resistance. This work calls for us to embrace the myth of an inland sea. Deploying imagination and ‘make-believe’ becomes a means of surviving – as this myth inspires us to rethink the urban space, who belongs in it, and how they occupy it.

Oupa Sibeko works predominantly in the medium of performance art, photography and video, as well as being a writer. For his graduate work, Sibeko was awarded a Richard Haines all-rounded performer award by Wits University in 20I5. He has taken part in group and solo shows, including at the National Art Gallery of Namibia and The Freezer Hostel and Theatre in Iceland. In his work, he concentrates on the notion of an ‘in-betweenness of being’ in liminal space.



10. Split Mirror

Warther Dixon

Split Mirror speaks to the psychological defense-mechanism of splitting, where an individual polarizes their consciousness or opinion into a good or bad binary. Temporarily, this eases the discomfort of complexity, but ultimately supports a cognitive dogmatism. The viewer sees the situation from only one side. The artists hope that through the beauty of the work, the viewer will be eased into seeing nuance.

Caitlin Warther is an interdisciplinary light artist whose practice encompasses sculpture and photography in an ongoing investigation into what it means to inhabit space. She recently graduated from The Parsons School of Constructed Environments NYC with an MFA in Lighting Design.

Wendy Dixon is a creative director, designer and artist. Her work straddles design and art, blending light, mirror sculptures and installations into immersive experiences. Her professional background in design allows her to bridge rich graphic narratives with rigorous spatial design.



11. Tawuza

David Hlongwane

Born in Worcester into a politically active family, Hlongwane has firsthand experience of violence: he was incarcerated as political prisoner a number of times, a criminal attack has left him with one blind eye, and his brother was killed during political protests in I985. This installation reflects on this violence, and specifically on the practice of ‘tawuza’ in prisons. During this humiliating process, prisoners are made to jump to see whether they hold any concealed weapons.

David Hongwane first attended classes at the Community Arts Project. In I988 he won a bursary to study in Italy, graduating from the Academia di Belle Arte in Perugia. He has exhibited internationally and his work is included in collections worldwide. He has completed sculptural commissions and won the Mayibuye Centre Sculpture Competition. He teaches art as a volunteer in youth organisations and in youth prisons in order to help keep young people off the streets.



12. Harp Space

Meghan Judge, Marc Nicolson, Brendon Bussy

In an ode to play, Harp Space is an invitation for visitors of all ages to become immersed in sensory exploration. The sonic sculpture invites visitors to stay a while, becoming lost within the alternative temporalities that emerge as they touch light, feel tones and move with resonance.

Meghan Judge works predominantly with sound and film. Her works range from collaborative cross-disciplinary experiments to documentation exploring the line between the real and imagined. She is a Mellon doctoral fellow and a founding member of ANAE, which designs experimental knowledge-sharing residencies and workshops between Madagascar, the islands surrounding it and continental Africa.

Marc Nicolson co-founded designer-maker consultancy Thingking nine years ago. He has brought countless technology-based interactive projects to life, including work for WWF, Levi’s, Slow Lounge, and Woolworths. Achievements include building the world’s first Twitter activated vending machine, being nominated as one of Icon magazine’s emerging creatives of the year for 20I3, winning best stand at the COP17 in 2012, and at Design Indaba 2013.

Brendon Bussy is a special needs teacher, artist, musician and was the sonic and instrument design consultant for this artwork.



13. The Needle and Thread

Strijdom van der Merwe

With increasing ecological changes, our planet is calling for humanity to reconnect with it. The needle and thread, a seemingly mundane human invention, is here being used to depict the human element. They call on humanity to repair the wounds we have inflicted on the earth. The viewer can imagine themselves compassionately stitching the earth together.

Strijdom van der Merwe studied art at the University of Stellenbosch, Hooge School voor de Kunste (Netherlands), the Academy of Art and Architecture (Czech Republic) and the Kent Institute of Art and Design (UK). Among the many accolades he has received are the Jackson Pollock Krasner Foundation grant, a Prince Claus Grant, and a medal of honour from the South African Academy of Arts and Science. He has also received numerous local and international awards for his work in public art and has held numerous solo and group exhibitions. His work is in private and public collections locally and abroad.



14. Fire Snake

David Brits

In Spier’s werf stands an imposing 300-year-old oak. Draped in its branches, a gigantic illuminated coil is arranged in a series of curves. This light sculpture evokes the ancient symbol of the Ouroboros – a snake devouring its tail, an image without beginning or end, whose logic refutes itself and suggests a suspension of time.

David Brits’s art spans public sculpture, printmaking, drawing and video. In addition to his solo exhibitions, he has exhibited locally and internationally, including in Helsinki and Paris. He has been named as a ‘young artist to watch‘ by the South African Art Times, was awarded a residency in Switzerland and received the Golden Key Society Award for Visual Art. Brits made his curatorial debut with an exhibition held at the Michaelis Galleries, UCT, and his own work is housed in public and private collections in South Africa and abroad.



15. Negative Space

Themba Stewart & Qondiswa James

Negative Space explores the possibility of going back to the darkness, each individual holding space for the community of others who have gathered with them - as a mode of community building. Inspired by the traditional Native American ‘sweat lodge’, or Temazcal or Inipi, this installation asks of South Africans to shed our old skins and come home to the collective as we build together across race/class/gender to a state of conscious coexistence.

Qondiswa James’s practice aims to contribute to the liberation project. She has written, staged and directed performance and theatre works including A Faint Patch of Light (nominated for Best New Director, Fleur du Cap Awards 20I9) and A Howl in Makhanda (shortlisted for the 20I8 CASA award). She has also appeared in a number of award-winning, internationally screened films.

Themba Stewart currently works as the production manager for Magnet Theatre, but has been immersed in all aspects of theatre making and management since graduating with Honours in Theatre Making. He has been production and technical manager and has directed numerous plays such as Imperfect Draft (Amsterdam) and his debut authored play Red Aloes.




Pierre Fouché

The Little Binche Peacock references an 18th Century piece of lace in the notoriously difficult binche technique. Fouché has dedicated his artistic research to mastering this technique. The large scale rope-work installation of an abstracted landscape, three years in the making, is the result of this. The rope-work is infused with a perfume of flora and veld-fire. The smell implies a landscape in distress (fire, invasion), but also the promise of renewal.

Pierre Fouché is a lacemaker. His respect for technique, tradition, and innovation have earned him his place as an internationally respected practitioner and teacher of contemporary bobbin lace. His penchant for arcane media and aesthetics, has led his practice to include macramé, drawn thread embroidery, encaustic painting and pinhole photography, as well as traditional art forms. After receiving an MFA, Fouché exhibited globally, including notable exhibitions in the USA; he has also held 5 solo shows. This installation was created as part of his 2017 to 2019 participation in the Spier Artist Patronage Programme.



17. After Images

Anne Historical

The audience is immersed in a play of flickering lights and shadows, revolving around an image of film on fire. Until I951, films were produced on highly flammable nitrate stock. During the South African War a batch of captured war film reels was strewn across the veld, and left to burn. Light is both illuminating and destructive, revealing and blinding: glowing projector lamps, over-exposed film, cuts into the emulsion become metaphors for the ghosts of history’s self-igniting fires.

Bettina Malcomess is a Johannesburg/Berlinbased writer and artist, performing under the name Anne Historical. Her research practice inhabits the entanglement of memory, technology and history. Her published books, include Not No Place (Jacana, 2013). In 2018 she formed a collaborative platform for performance called the joining room, she lectures at Wits School of Arts, and is completing a PhD in Film Studies at Kings College London.



18. Spirit of '76

Bernie Searle

Searle’s work draws inspiration from an American painting, The Spirit of ’76. The sound is a digitally manipulated version of the American Centennial March, composed to honour the centenary of the 1776 Declaration of Independence. The work hints at veneration and victory, but also of potential loss – the risk of liberty fading: whether in North America, or South Africa, for which the 1976 Soweto Uprising was a key moment in the anti-apartheid Struggle.

Searle has an MA from UCT’s Michaelis School of Fine Art, where she is a Professor and Director. She has won many awards globally, including being the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Visual Art (2003). Amongst many prestigious exhibitions, her work was included in a number of Venice Biennales, and in numerous shows in the USA, UK and Germany. This year Searle is artist-in-residence at the Maitland Institute and the Featured Artist at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown.



19. The Sound of my voice

Tiago Rodrigues

The painful history of the Cape cannot be avoided. This installation encourages contemplation of this history.

The phrase of the work is taken from Brett Bailey’s 21 Gables, where the character Sannie says “Ring your bell meneer, ring it loud for soon it will be quiet”. The slave bell used to rule slaves - the installation is an attempt at changing that voice; to bring a different presence to an object that once held so much power.

Tiago Rodrigues was born in Cape Town as a first generation Portuguese foreign national. He worked intensively as a studio assistant for a number of artists before completing an Honours Degree in Fine Arts (UCT). Rodrigues recently held his debut solo show with SMAC Gallery. He incorporates his background of craftsmanship in his work, and explores masculinities, power and violence dynamics inherent in society



20. Swell II

Luan Nel

This living room from the past is allowed to slip under the current, with little resistance from anybody around. We are allowing it to disappear unceremoniously, even melodramatically. It is both comical but also unnerving as it speaks to the losing of memories and histories, and the instability and temporality of that which we thought was fixed.

Luan Nel received a fine art degree and Higher Degree in Education from Wits. In addition to numerous solo and group exhibitions, Nel won the Judges Prize in the 1994 Sasol New Signatures competition. In 1998 and 1999 he participated in an artist’s residency at The Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam and a further residency at the Dutch Institute in Rome. Nel’s work is included in many private and group collections, including the Johannesburg Art Gallery, the SABC, the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Sasol, Hollard and KPMG.



21. Keep the lights on

Qondiswa James & Themba Stewart

KEEP THE LIGHTS ON brings awareness to socio-economic (in)accessibility in the City of Cape Town. Each roof structure represents a different socio-economic typology. In low and low-to-medium income communities "95% of people are public transport users leaving home before sunrise and getting home after sunset. Public lighting in some of these areas is so bad that it makes it dangerous for residents to move around’. - Mary-Anne Gontsana, GroundUp (2019)



22. Bergson Cycle

Lyall Sprong

The fluid sky above transports shape-shifting clouds. You watch their ongoing movement. If you blink your eyes, you will create their static image. This static image is not able to contain the meaning of your experience: it will be the description of a meaning that lies within you. Through this installation we intend to explore the rhythm between meaning and description.

Lyall Sprong is a multi-disciplinary designer and artists whose work spans a plethora of mediums and technologies. From objects that are hyper-utilitarian to thought experiments, his projects are grounded in constant searching. In his design and art, he explores questions of community health, platforms for co-operation and mechanisms for empathy building. Sprong is co founder and director of Thingking, a designer-maker consultancy based in Cape Town.