cul­ture

In­side the Cape Town art foun­da­tion that’s rewrit­ing all the rules

Condé Nast House & Garden - - CONTENTS - a4arts.org

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

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