MATTERS OF OBSESSION
What to see at the FNB Art Joburg fair
Innovation is at the forefront of this year’s FNB Art Joburg fair, where local and international gallery walls will be accessible to all, for free.
This year’s online FNB Art Joburg fair, from 6 November until 18 November, will merge art and technology, providing art lovers with an innovative virtual experience. The fair will be free and open to the general public.
Nicole Siegenthaler, fair manager, explains that, “(The fair’s) team, like many individuals and businesses this year, has had to very quickly put aside what we know and brainstorm a new format. There, of course, have been some daunting moments but overall we’ve been inspired. And learning a lot about tech!
“It was important for us to work with technology, not in spite of it, to create a user-friendly experience. Although we’ve definitely been out of our comfort zone, it also feels we’ve been able to grow the platform in some exciting directions previously never imagined.”
The online art fair will feature two sections – the main section and the Gallery LAB.
In the main section will be featured many well-known South African galleries like Everard Read, the Goodman Gallery and Gallery MOMO. However, there will also be galleries from further abroad, including First Floor Gallery from Harare, Jahmek Contemporary Art from Luanda, October Gallery from London. Artworks will be accessible for viewing online, with more detailed information on each work made available through simple clicks and easy navigation; the shift from “on-site” to digital exhibition now allowing for more people and potential buyers to view – and possibly acquire – the works of artists from local and international galleries.
The main section will feature work by South African artist Lady Skollie who was recently announced as the winner of the 10th annual FNB Art Prize.
The virtual page at the fair will feature installation images from the 2019 solo presentation of Lady Skollie, GOOD AND EVIL at Everard Read Johannesburg, in anticipation of her upcoming solo exhibition, BOUND, opening on 11 November at Everard Read Cape Town.
Each gallery in the main section will also have some artworks designed in augmented reality in addition to the traditional online presentation. Should you want to go through the exhibition via AR, you’ll just need to scan the QR code on the website and your camera will launch and reveal the artwork to scale, allowing you to pin the artwork to your own home’s wall.
Gallery LAB is the more experimental section of the fair, allowing for non-traditional exhibition spaces, emerging galleries and a place for new artists and business models to be tested.
This year, Gallery LAB asked artists to include ways of incorporating augmented reality into their proposals, which led to an exciting use of technology in the art world.
Says Siegenthaler, “I’m looking forward to users interacting with the Instagram augmented-reality galleries that will feature in Gallery LAB. Each LAB exhibitor has conceptualised a different experience — there are filters, AR installations that cast you as a character in the artists’ work, imagined paradises and recreated memories for users to interact with and navigate. It’s really not your traditional online viewing room experience, it’s next-level.”
If you’re in Johannesburg and in the mood for an in-person experience, make sure to visit Hyde Park Corner shopping centre where a series of walls will be on display, curated by the team at Art Joburg. The walls have only white squares and where artworks should have been exhibited, there will be QR codes that can be scanned, allowing visitors to project the artworks directly onto the wall.
Finally, FNB Art Joburg is organising what they dubbed “a gallery hop” – starting at Kalashnikovv Gallery on Saturday, 7 November at 10am, guests will then attend a walkabout with the artists at the BKhz art gallery. The next day, visitors will be able to view artworks at August House Open Studios in Doornfontein from 11am to 5pm.
The fair will also feature guided tours of galleries, panel discussions and interactive sessions with artists, although details had not been confirmed at time of publication. DM/ ML