ART FORMES_Investec Cape Town Art Fair 2024_Contemporary Clay

Art Formes presented the first retrospective exhibition of South African clay at Investec Cape Town Art Fair 2024.

Exhibiting artists: Jabulile Nala, Siyabonga Fani, Katherine Glenday, Belinda Blignaut, Ledelle Moe and Hennie Meyer.

“Art Formes aims to pioneer a new way of seeing clay within contemporary art, broadening its scope — for should we limit this artistic expression purely to the medium when fired? Or not mixed with other mediums? Art Formes pushes the limits of what has previously been defined as ‘clay’ and showcases South Africa as a global force within the radical developments of sculptural clay.” [Olivia Barrell, Art Formes Founder]

art formes at Investec cape town art fair 2024

Art Formes showcased the works of six contemporary South African artists from our recent publication, CLAY FORMES at our booth at Investec Cape Town Art Fair (16th – 18th February 2024). It was the first exhibiting stand in the history of Investec Cape Town Art Fair to exclusively focus on the medium of clay, illustrating how clay is beginning to reshape not only the landscape of contemporary South African art, but gaining wider international traction. Art Formes was delighted to showcase artists Jabulile Nala, Siyabonga Fani, Katherine Glenday, Belinda Blignaut, Ledelle Moe and Hennie Meyer. 

South Africa has long been a country deeply anchored in the artistic expression and symbolic function of clay. The Zulu ceramic tradition, exemplified by the renowned artist Nesta Nala, is a testament to clay’s significance in our country’s artistic repertoire. Since the late 1970s, Nala’s works helped redefine Zulu ceramics within both local and international art markets. Art Formes was honoured to present the works of Nesta’s daughter, Jabulile Nala, who seamlessly harmonises her inherited traditions with an innovation that demands further redefinition of Zulu ceramics. In addition, Art Formes presented ceramic master, Siyabonga Fani, an artist who masterfully channels a different essence of the South African perspective through the medium of terracotta. The rich textures of the charred clay that make up his vessels serve to imagine the drought-parched rivers of the Eastern Cape, a nod to his pastoral mirage and Xhosa identity. Adjacent to this, Fani’s work alludes to the dynamism of Gugulethu, a township in Cape Town where the artist grew up. 

There was an installation of vessels by porcelain master Katherine Glenday, whose works defy categorisation, extending into the most translucent edges of what we think porcelain should be able to do. Glenday uses clay as tableau, multiple vessels with variations in pigment, tone, lusters and form to speak together. Moreover, Art Formes aims to break away from pre-conceived definitions around ‘ceramic art’ – broadening the scope of what can be found within the artistic expression of clay. There was a large-scale earth-based installation by sculptor Ledelle Moe, who mixes found earth and concrete to carve her figures. There were works on display in ‘wild clay’ by pioneering artist Belinda Blignaut. All this, to showcase the multiple facets and forms of the beautiful versatile medium that is clay. 

Dedicated to contemporary clay and ceramics from South Africa. The first publication of its kind, published by Art Formes.