The approximately 16m2 sculpture was crafted by graduates of the Spier Arts Academy in South Africa and installed in the grounds of the Coop's headquarters in Albertslund on 1 May 2016. Two graduates of the academy (both who attained cum laude at the end of their studies in 2015) tendered for the job of interpreting the design of the Cirkelpigen as a three-dimensional mosaic work. After reviewing their proposals, a selection committee chose Heinrich Joemath to take on the project. Joemath and his team of 5 mosaicists crafted the installation in the Spier Farm Studio, a creative space inside the historic Cow Shed on Spier estate. The materials used included stones sourced from Spier’s vineyards.
Spier – a champion of the arts
Høgsted commissioned this work after visiting Spier and seeing Marco Cianfanelli’s large outdoor mosaic installation, The Dying Slave. The mosaic artwork was created by 10 artisans from Spier Arts Academy, who took five months to cut its 225 000 pieces of mosaic by hand. The work is based on Michaelangelo's image of a dying slave – a male figure in the ecstatic throes of dying. Cianfanelli had a vision to create the image from mosaic because of the medium's ability to create large-scale work and to explore the pixilation effect of mosaic. This is just one example of Spier’s contemporary art collection – one of the largest in South Africa. Many other works grace the farm’s public spaces and historic buildings.
Rather than just buying art for display, Spier also strives to find ways to support and stimulate the arts community in South Africa, supporting projects that acknowledge its African heritage, protect its legacy and contribute to its future. With this goal, Spier has established a number of initiatives that have greatly impacted both the performing and visual arts in South Africa since 1996, the Spier Arts Academy being one example.
“We believe that to nurture a robust artisanal culture, training is just the first step. Facilitating opportunities for artisans to practice their craft is essential. We are proud to be associated with the Cirkelpigen sculpture commission’s investment in the skilled creative talent that Heinrich and his team exemplify,” says Spier CEO Andrew Milne.
The art of wine
In addition to the sculpture, Spier is also helping Coop celebrate its birthday with a specially designed range of eight wines that pay tribute to the era-defining work of leading South African artists.
It is the only wine brand that will be a part of the birthday celebrations, recognising the special role that Spier has had with Coop since its introduction to Denmark in 1998.
ABOUT SPIER ARTS ACADEMY
Spier Arts Academy, based in Cape Town, offers employment-based training in professional mosaic to individuals from previously disadvantaged backgrounds. Since 2008, 140 apprentices have trained with the programme; 26 of those have completed the rigorous three-year course. The academy specialises in collaborative and experimental work with world-renowned artists and architects, helping to match its talented students and graduates with commissions from around the world. Students are taught artisanal skills as well as business skills with the intention of creating entrepreneurs in the South African creative field.