one small seed portfolio issues 14 - 16


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Portofolio of work from Issue 14 - 16 of one small seed magazine.

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one small seed portfolio issues 14 - 16

  1. 1. FEATURE: INTERIOR DESIGN WORDS: Jessica Manim PHOTOGRAPHY: Robin Sprong THE NEWSPACE Nip-TuckiNg The Old VicTOriaN lady 44 Long Street, affectionately known as the Old Victorian Lady, has lived many lives. Originally home to the Sea Point tramways when she was born in the 1860s, she has also housed a variety of different projects – from the YMCA to the original Space Theatre to the Parks Board. This building’s life has been more varied and colourful than Winnie Mandela’s hat collection. Throughout its life it has been fortunate to have very little damage done to its Victorian architecture and it is now protected by Cultural Heritage status. Currently home to NewSpace Theatre, the interior of the building has been invigorated by contemporary additions by Kubik – a company specialising in “imagineered” design solutions – complimenting and contrasting the heritage and history of the building with its modern vision and direction. The NewSpace Theatre, though bearing a similar name, is by no means a rebirth of the famous Space Theatre of the 1970s and ‘80s – one of the grand old ladies of South African fringe theatre. It was founded in 1972 by theatre photographer Brian Astbury and his actress wife, Yvonne Bryceland, in Bloem Street and at the time was known as The Space Theatre. From its conception, The Space Theatre was a site of anti-Apartheid activism, highlighting and interrogating the injustices of the Nationalist government. In a time when it was unlawful for different races to share the same beach – never mind the same stage – a group came together to create an (illegal) space where skin colour didn’t matter. It was the first non-racial venue in South Africa, although more were to follow during the ‘70s. Initially The Space Theatre was more a collective of people than a locatable space but it soon took physical roots when it moved to 44 Long Street in 1976, and the name became The People’s Space/ Die Ruimte/ Indawo Ye Zizwe. In late 1983, the theatre was forced to close its doors for economic reasons. Twenty years on and the Old Victorian Lady is putting her name back in lights and returning to her former cultural life. Fred Ab- rahamse, Artistic Director of NewSpace, is quick to point out that they’re not trying to recreate the old days of the theatre but rather to create a new cultural space for South Africans. While its main function will be to develop plays and nurture acting talent, NewSpace will also accommodate a variety of activities, from lectures to film exhibitions, creating a hub of cultural activity in one of Cape Town’s hottest party streets. Abrahamse points out that the refurbishment of the building, headed by Robin Sprong, has created “a space in the old for the new”. 44 one small seed one small seed 45
  2. 2. Although very little damage had been done to the architecture of the building in its previous lives, it was in serious need of a makeover. Architect Kristof Basson, who worked on NewSpace, incorporated a modular anodised alu- minium construction system. Aluminium extrusions are cut precisely to size and assembled into square frames in Kubik’s Cape Town factory. These squares are locked together to form large panels that are multifunctional in their design – being used as anything from walls to doors, windows to floors. Panels are then cut and fitted into the frames. The panels can be made from an almost unlimited variety of materials. The central light well of the building was installed after the building was built, and thus the architect envisioned the centre of the building to be ‘new’, the perfect place to incorporate Kubik elements into the architecture. “The Old Victorian Lady has been given a new heart,” explains Basson. The surround- ing areas were kept in their original Victorian style. The building is home to other small businesses besides The NewSpace, including a restaurant, tea shop, dance studio, art gallery and more. In order to separate the theatre from the rest of the building, Kubik used clusters of Tivoli lights, reminiscent of the globes that framed make-up mirrors in the theatre dressing rooms of bygone eras. The theatre’s bathrooms are also distinguished from the others in the building by an illuminated ceiling complete with Victorian patterning to echo the original architectural style of the building. There are plans to build an illuminated rooftop lounge/bar, the likes of which have not been seen on the continent. It will overlook Long Street with a view to Lion’s Head. The entire venue will be illuminated – floors, walls, fountains and bars. Bars and all illuminated aspects will be synchronised with subtle light effects to create a magical nighttime experience. The Old Victorian Lady’s nips-and-tucks have brought new life to an old lass, a revival that will hopefully inspire the growth of a cultural epicentre to ac- company the night club hot spots that keep Long Street alive. 46 one small seed one small seed 47
  3. 3. ASHA ZERO MEANING IN PIECES A marriage of Abstraction and Realism, Asha’s paintings appear discordant at first. Yet the longer they are gazed upon, the more the pieces pull together to form a coherent whole. Meaning is assembled from fragments – a mirror to the way in which identity is constructed in the modern era. Asha Zero is an artistic avatar crafted beyond the confines of gender, age and race so that the “What happens in our current society, especially with the social artworks can speak for themselves uninhibited. Executed in acrylics, careful brushstrokes imitate the ripped edges of a page while flicks of paint carve the tears. It would be easy to mistake these networking phenomenon, is that you have this virtual identity,” paintings for carefully constructed collages. This kind of optical illusion uses the technique of explains Asha. “It’s put together with bits and pieces which form trompe-l’oeil (‘trick of the eye’), a new world painting genre and extreme form of realism that something coherent. Although it was put together through a allows the artwork to bend the fine line demarcating reality. complete jumble, it’s this ‘something’ that people see on your profile.” WORDS: jessica manim While many critics have praised Asha’s work as a deconstruc- tion of identity, seeing its fragmentary nature as representative of a self fractured by information overload, there is also an element of sublime celebration in the paintings. They are Dada- esque, not in the sense that they rebel against popular modern modes of creative expression, but in the nonsensical and intuitive aspect of the term. The pieces laud the atomised way in which identity is formed as a necessary, rather than a negative process. As Asha says, “The statement, though it’s not linked to me, is that we’re really only pieces.” Combining skill with enjoyment, Asha creates a mode of painting that dissolves the boundary between fine art and the everyman’s creative expression. Utilising a highly accessible medium like collage as his starting point, the works are seem- ingly within anyone’s creative capabilities. After all, we live in an age where just about anyone can call themselves an artist at the click of a mouse. Yet the level of skill required to translate paper to paint is tremendous. Thus, uniquely positioned, the paintings oscillate between the practicable and the removed. The process of translation crafts onion layers of overlapping meaning and empowers the works, imbuing them with deep- er levels of meaning. As Asha describes it, “A mass produced media image gets translated into a painting with some sort of romantic sentiment… Paint in its physicality has an emotional connection.” Asha’s works reignite a childlike excitement. The eye is con- tinuously drawn across the canvas, darting from one segment of creative shrapnel to the next until a glimmer of meaning starts to coalesce. Then all of a sudden it disappears amidst the visual cacophony, and we are forced to re-evaluate the intricately structured composition. Like an alleyway wall coated with a decade’s worth of glued and torn poster advertisements, the beautiful decay seems to add up to some elusive composite history; A story in pieces, that evolves every time we pass it. LEFT mouse over text (2008) 100 x 120cm I acrylic on board RIGHT assorted bystander (no2) (2008) 60 x 45cm I acrylic on board 24 one small seed one small seed 25
  4. 4. competacletz (2008) dart (2008) 30 x 40cm I acrylic on board 30 x 40cm I acrylic on board 26 one small seed one small seed 27
  5. 5. THE DIGITAl DREAMS OF RUDI SIlBERMANN Recently, a startling collection of work was uploaded to one small seed’s community network site. We, in the one small seed of- fice, were stunned by the portfolio’s technical wizardry and its delicate, otherworldly com- positions. Jessica Manim investigated the digital dreams and found Rudi Silbermann, a thoroughbred South African talent. WORDS: jessica manim 24 one small seed one small seed 25
  6. 6. Magical and breathtaking, Rudi’s talent is the kind you’d expect Like illustrations of childhood fairytales or snapshots from a lucid to see grown on international soil. But, raised at the mouth of dream, Rudi’s images instantly call up a narrative in one’s mind. the Breede River, he’s testament to the rapidly growing South Whether one views each piece in isolation or as a series of related African digital art scene. He states he’s always had a fervent artworks, they’re definitely more than just ‘pretty pictures’. There’s interest in the power of visual constructions and that as a a sense that each element he includes is vital to the final product, child he was deeply intrigued by the layout of magazines. This although he does not always choose them consciously. From cast obsession with design led him to study photolithography, after aside masks to distant buildings, each part seems to bring a keen which he worked in the printing industry for six years. It was sense of balance and power to the overall composition. He often during this time that Rudi met an architect who introduced feels that they are all predetermined, as ideas will often pop wholly him to the craft of making artistic impressions for architectural formed into his mind. “Sometimes I feel that the images I make are projects. Instantly attracted to the vocation, he began dabbling just lying there, waiting to be created,” he says. “It’s like they were in Photoshop. It wasn’t long before he discovered 3D modelling just meant to be.” and became hooked on developing digital masterpieces. Recently, Rudi has been working in conjunction with Ian Mitchinson, Working primarily in Photoshop and Maxon Cinema 4D, a Capetonian fine art photographer, on The Cherish Series. The Rudi combines photographs with 3D-modelled elements collaboration pushes the limits of portrait photography, which to build dreamy landscapes that whisper fantastical stories is often conventionally stifling. The idea is to take that which is and whimsical dreams. Each piece carefully balances the most dear to the subject and transform it from the expected to the delicate and the dark, contrasting soft lighting with sombre, fantastical, imbuing it with tangible emotional tones. From wedding warm colours. From abandoned houses set against barren dresses to hobbies and the jovial to the serious, the collection landscapes to exquisite women wrapped in mist, his works are celebrates life’s revered moments. And while Rudi and Ian cherish at once foreign and yet familiar, leaving an open doorway the moments of others, this is clearly one South African talent who’s through which to discover meaning. “The key thing I try to worthy of being cherished himself. create is a space where the viewer can develop their own story ABOVE: Nates Tune about what they see,” explains Rudi. “My images are meant to RIGHT: Sister of Night invoke emotion and thought. Sometimes the things we dream PREVIOUS PAGE: Journey do feel real, and this is what the artworks are about.” FOLLOWING PAGE: Next Level 26 one small seed
  7. 7. “Sometimes we dream and things do feel real, and this is what the artwork is about.” 28 one small seed one small seed 29
  8. 8. COMPASSION IN A DARK REALM Sasan is a man intrigued by the darker side of the hu- man mind. his artworks exist in a realm of palpable fear and tension; and yet he takes no sadistic pleasure in them, only a profound contemplation in the possi- bility of their existence. Although his portfolio includes a variety of formats, his mixed media works are the most intriguing. They combine his work’s finest aspects, creating pieces that captivate the mind and invoke the most primal of emotions. WORDS: jessica manim Red Thinker X 30 one small seed
  9. 9. The Capetonian artist’s world is a stark one, created primarily in black and white, the linework swims in heavy layers of crimson. He positions his subjects centrally before slowly building up their surroundings. His figures are always alone, lost within an oppressively dim realm without a companion. A sense of rejection surrounds them, a feeling that they are social outcasts due to some form of deformity. Which makes sense when one learns that one of his major sources of inspiration is Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis. The novella famously tells the story of Gregor Samsa, a pressurised salesman who transforms into an insect overnight, only to be rejected by those who once loved him. Sasan explains the connection to this seminal modernist work: “I’m trying to tap into the dark and melancholic parts of the mind. As humans we are visual creatures and love beauty. We don’t like ugliness.” Areas of intricate detail are sharply contrasted with achingly open spaces in most of Sasan’s mixed media works. Vacant spaces draw you into the surrounding areas, heavily populated by intense crosshatching. “The very simple linework can be followed like a road until you get to the busy area,” says Sasan. “I choose my shading and light source in a way that allows me to have a lot of dark areas as the focus point.” Whether he draws your attention to the foreground figure or the background scenery, the effect is powerful, forcing one aspect of an image to pop out while others recede. Several symbols recur throughout Sasan’s portfolio of personal work. Two that predominate are masks and insects. The masks reference the medieval Schandmasken (Shameful Masks) that were used to publicly discipline and ridicule those who had committed minor offences. Metal masks in the shape of animal heads were strapped to the head before the offender was forced into public to be mocked by his community. It’s no surprise then that they have become such a strong feature in the work of a man who explores the twisted ways in which humans interact with one another. However, his work doesn’t enter into the ridicule; instead it pulsates with a powerful feeling of compassion. The use of insects prevails as, for Sasan, they straddle the delicate line between the grotesque and the magnificent. While most humans react with automatic repulsion towards insects, Sasan spent many years drawing them professionally and finds them intensely alluring. Obsessed with the darker side of humans yet beating with a gentle sense of compassion, Sasan’s works delve the depths of the hidden territory of the heart. While one may be shocked or even revolted by his subjects’ suffering, it’s impossible to withdraw from them. Instead, his works provoke a prolonged contemplation, a silent analysis not only of the subject’s situation but an exploration of one’s own murkier acts and intentions. Vogue 32 one small seed
  10. 10. Cape Town Port Hermann 34 one small seed one small seed 35