EDITOR’S LETTER Tiaan Nagel discusses the power of art
afew weeks back, I found myself alongside writer Jonathan Cane and House and Leisure features editor Kholeka Kumalo viewing one of the largest JH Pierneef collections in existence – it’s owned by property developer and art collector Anton Taljaard. We were soon caught up in a heated discussion about what these artworks’ relevance is today – and why so many white South Africans, in particular, are fond of Pierneef’s work.
As in all the best conversations about art, we came to no final conclusions whatsoever, although of course our discussion added an extra dimension to how we experienced this remarkable collection. For me the beauty of these artworks is all wrapped up in Pierneef’s brilliant use of colour. The soft, muted tones he employs – including dirty shades of pink and lilac with sombre touches of ochre and khaki – are truly magical, and this sort of colour treatment is something that fuels my love of traditional painting. Don’t get me wrong: I’m also a big fan of contemporary art, but seeing these classic paintings up close was a real treat.
Speaking of contemporary art, I get to tick something off my bucket list in this September edition of the magazine. For the first time, House and Leisure has collaborated with the FNB JoburgArtFair, and worked closely with entrepreneur and fair director Mandla Sibeko ( left, centre) on our annual art issue. It’s the 10th anniversary of the Fair, and we celebrate this with a special section of the magazine (starting on page 37) that includes an exclusive interview with South African-born, Berlin-based conceptual artist Robin Rhode ( left, below). Part of a generation of post-apartheid artists who are navigating the art world while reflecting on the trauma of this country’s history, Rhode explores his identity and sense of place through video art and installations, and his live performance at this year’s Design Indaba is, for me, one of the cultural highlights of 2017.
This issue is also packed with inspiring homes that showcase impressive art collections. Christine and Mark Read from Everard Read gallery in Joburg share their architectural ‘tree house’ ( page 66) with us, which was created by Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens and is filled with South African art. Federico Freschi, executive dean of the faculty of art and architecture at the University of the Witwatersrand, takes us around his eclectic home in Kensington ( page 74), showing off his Andrzej Urbanski collection and rare pieces by Günther Herbst.
We also have one of Cape Town’s iconic contemporary homes ( page 58) – colloquially known as ‘ bridge house’ and designed by Van der Merwe Miszewski Architects – to share with you, as well as a beautifully renovated family home in Saxonwold, Johannesburg ( page 50), that also plays host to an incredible collection of contemporary African art.
It’s a powerful issue filled with great stories, and I hope you enjoy it.