RICHARD JOHN FORBES:
NIROX COVERED SPACE. / SCREENING ROOM
10 FEB – 31 MAR 2024
Held a year after his residency at the Villa-Legodi Centre for Sculpture, Forbes returns to showcase the finished body of work, alongside glass-blown sculptures and prints produced over the course of the year. As writes Sean O’Toole for the forthcoming publication, ‘Forbes’s mesmerising rose quartz sculptures embody sculptural restraint. Often half-formed and incomplete, they showcase his understanding of moderation as a necessary gesture in sculpture.’
The exhibition also includes a new film in the Screening Room, titled Guava (2024), coupled with a cameo appearance of Shy Restrained Pink Thing (ongoing). Sometimes inflated, sometimes deflated, the latter is described by Ashraf Jamal as an ‘anthropomorphised intimate’, that makes evident the ‘wear and tear’ of life through a ‘choreography of movement and stillness, liberation and abduction’. This sense of restraint is echoed in the display of Forbes’s glass-blown works. In contrast, Forbes’s spinning-top prints, produced in collaboration with participants in different parts of the world, are ‘pulled from plates that hold the marks of the spinning tops.’ As writes Chloë Reid in her contribution to the book, ‘Minor imbalances and asymmetries in the tops, in the techniques or gestures of the participant, in the plate itself, and on the surface beneath, contribute to a field of spiralling marks, each infinitely unique... The prints have a celestial quality. Layers of marks and spherical forms revel in oblique space.’
To learn more about Forbes’s practice, and the rose quartz works on exhibition, access the catalogue by clicking the button below.
Both the exhibition and publication are supported by the Claire & Edoardo Villa Will Trust.
SEAN BLEM: RESONANCE
A TEN YEAR RETROSPECTIVE
VILLA-LEGODI CENTRE FOR SCULPTURE
17 FEB – 3 MAR 2024
Sean Blem completed his first residency at NIROX in 2014, where he created a body of work titled Hyperextension. Through sculpture and painting Blem merged his interests in communication and language — evident in earlier series like Form (2004–2011) — with anatomy and object resonance; how particular forms take on a life of their own.
On his return in 2016, Blem created the Mastaba series, cross-referencing early memories with one of the most ancient and resilient pre-pyramidic forms. That said, Blem is not one to explain his work, opting to set up the parameters for audiences to experience it on their own terms.
His work often includes hidden references or aspects that are unknown, from choice pigments and the coating of works to specific material decisions, which all contribute to Blem’s multi-referential vocabulary.
Produced from wild olive, his latest body of work continues the evolution of this engagement with materials, drawing on the structural and medicinal properties of indigenous wood and its cultural and historic resonance in South Africa and further afield.
To learn more about Blem's work, click the button below.
VILLA-LEGODI CENTRE FOR SCULPTURE
9 MARCH – 16 JUNE 2024
Global turmoil has moved artists to respond with action and empathy. The resulting tensions have severe, potentially indelible, personal impact. From 10 – 16 January 2024, a workshop was held in partnership with the Kromdraai Creativity and Impact Hub that aimed to provide sanctuary for artists, scholars, and activists to rest, read, reflect, and recoup.
The time spent highlighted the need to envision the kinds of communities we want to nurture in order to create a world that we wish to inhabit; a world in which statements like ‘You are not alone!’ – carried throughout many of the movements of the past decade – are less and less necessary, and where feelings of isolation and paralysis are met with kindness, empathy, and action.
To this end, a revolving exhibition titled CEASEFIRE (9 March – 16 June 2024) was developed. At its heart is the question of what solidarity means in this moment, foregrounding the many ways in which the continued fight for equal rights in South Africa, following our transition to democracy, does not exist in isolation from, but is intricately connected to, the struggles for freedom and human rights the world over.
The first iteration includes works by three artists: Tumelo Mtimkhulu’s One final act of love (2023), Olu Oguibe’s Sex Work is Honest Work (2023), and Serge Alain Nitegeka’s film BLACK SUBJECTS (2012). In one way or another, each explores the place of community and world-building therein, particularly the need to empathise with those we do not necessarily know or have an immediate connection with.