Inside the Cape Town art foundation that’s rewriting all the rules
a new art foundation is set to shake things up
In Cape Town, where abandoned buildings turned art galleries have become the new kale juice, what sets the a4 arts Foundation apart? ‘We see this place as a lab,’ explains Foundation director Josh ginsburg from their newly opened space, a – you guessed it – restored warehouse in the city’s downtown area. ‘We’re experimenting with ways of producing and sharing knowledge – so expect some play.’
This is the culmination of a six-year collaboration between Josh and south africanborn arts patron and recently elected president of the solomon r. guggenheim Foundation Board of Trustees, Wendy Fisher. ‘Wendy and I began working together with a view to build better support structures for artists and explore ways in which the public could engage with these artists,’ says Josh. In short, a gallery for the artists as much as it is for the people, a place that could be accessible, engaging and transforming in the broader sense of the ‘local arts-ecology’.
To this end, the building is occupied over three levels: a ground-floor library, the main exhibition space on the first floor (both floors are free and open to the public), and finally the third-floor work spaces that are used by the artists.
Curated by Ziphozenkosi dayile and Kemang Wa Lehulere, the Foundation’s inaugural exhibition, titled You & I, features works by a wide range of artists including Zanele Muholi and Yoko ono. It’s a self-reflective move on the part of the Foundation – Josh describes it as an exhibition that ‘explores the conditions and dynamics of collectivity’ – but also brilliantly achieves their goal to question, engage and connect.
Follow upcoming exhibitions at a4 arts Foundation on Houseandgarden.co.za
clockwise, from top left Haroon Gunnsalie and James matthews’ Amongst men; the a4 arts Foundation in cape town; Yoko ono’s mend Piece; robert Hodgins’ Untitled; the library