By Edward Tsumele, CITYLIFE/ARTS Editor
A media unveiling of Turbine art Fair’s new venue the enticing rooftop of the boutique shopping centre Hyde Park Corner in the heart of Sandton Northern Johannesburg, on Wednesday, 5 June, 2023, Glynis Hylsop, founder of Turbine Art Fair, said something flippantly, but which in actual fact, is at the heart of the steady journey of the transformation of the art trade in the country.
“When we started Turbine Art Fair in Newtown 11 years ago, the people who came to the fair, were people like me,” she said and laughed before adding, “but today the art fair has transformed significantly, attracting a diversified audience.”
Though TAF, as it is popularly called in art circles in short, is just one of the three art fairs that take place in the country annually, it cannot though be denied that it actually almost single handily, played a central role in that transformation of the art trade, form opening space for exhibiting to new galleries as well as making attending an art fair, feel like an event that is not exclusively for those with big pockets as well as those with advanced knowledge of art.
TAF since it first took place at the Turbine Hall in Newtown in 2013, and has since moved to new venues, with the current venue being its permanent home, took away the fear and uneasiness of attending art fairs, even by those with shallow pockets and even shallower knowledge of art. The art fair has however maintained its sleek and sophisticated atmosphere, even as it opened up to new audiences, a tough balancing act in event management. Today, TAF is a space where you will find the upward mobile crowd scouring for fresh art alongside an amateur art collector vising an art fair for the first time, and both feeling at ease.
Granted, today the country boasts a number of art fairs that include the FNB Art Fair, the country’s first art fair, followed by the Turbine Art Fair, and finally Latitudes Art Fair, started in that order, and all three have played a role in cultivating the appreciation of art and the development of the art collecting culture in the country.
However what distinguishes the Turbine Art Fair from the two are art fairs are most probable two things –it is the first art fair in the country that demystified the culture of attending art fairs by putting together a sleek, but relaxed environment in which even a new amateur collector of art felt comfortable in the company of serious art connossieurs and collectors – and that it is the first art fair in the country that provided a platform where prices of art ranged from the very reasonably priced to those selling for a premium.
What that means is that there is always art for everyone – those building their collection from point zero, to those who are looking at boosting their collection by looking for new talent on the market. And there has been many such new talent unearthed at the Turbine At Fair, which in its past 10 years (this year is its 11th), through its various programmes of mentorship has exposed many a young artists to the market. An example of a successful mentorship programme of the fair being the TAF Unearthed, developed by Turbine Art Fair, a mentorship programme aimed at young artists and creatives to enable sustainable and professional practices. Under this programme artists are taken through conceptual, artistic and creative business mentorship to help solidify the foundations of their careers, resulting in a curated group exhibition at the Turbine Art Fair.
The 2022 selected artists are Aneesah Girie, Danna Margo, Gemma Sheppard, Lambi Chvambo, Lerato Ntiti, Natali Downing, Pholile Hlongwane, Themba Given Msiza, Tshegofatso Tlatsi and Thumelo Mtimkhulu and the artists were mentored by Teboho Ralesai.
The venue itself is a super venue that should make everyone who will attend enjoy viewing art, collecting it as well as listening to talks and interacting with various creative, a rewarding experience. This year’s art fair has lots of events taking place during the fair, such as food, fashion, art talks, children’s art making programmes and music among others. Because the fair is taking place in a mall, parking is plenty and one can also enjoy shopping in the mall as you come in and out of the fair. Those who enjoy views of Johannesburg, will also be able to do so, and believe you me, from the vantage spot of the rooftop, you are able to see as far as Fourways, and what a beautiful view to enjoy as you walk around the fair’s main exhibition hall.
What TAF says about this year’s programmes of events and its new home
Hyde Park Corner is the proud new home of Turbine Art Fair (TAF), and The Forumcompany, and is set to become the venue for the country’s leading events andconferencing.
Our new home at Hyde Park Corner continues the mall’s historic support of thearts since launching in 1970·
TAF has shown its ability to transform unconventional venues into exceptional spaces for engaging art. This year’s venue is no different, our move to Hyde Park Corner culminates years of TAF’s intervention with space. TAF will join art spaces like Graham’s Contemporary, Charles Greig Gallery, and several others, continuing Hyde Park Corner’s legacy of supporting the arts in Johannesburg.
.TAF moves into its next decade and celebrates 11 years of being at the epicentre of emerging art in South Africa bringing together galleries, artists, and curators from around the country to present and sell contemporary art.·The journey of TAF from Turbine Hall, 10Fricker Rd, Online, Oxford Parks to Hyde Park Corner
·Over the years TAF has positioned itself as an Art Fair that understands the importance of visibility, by championing emerging artists and galleries while showcasing established artists and providing an innovative and dynamic experience for visitors. It has become synonymous with accessible art and the innovative use of non-traditional art exhibition spaces.
·The public has embraced the ethos of TAF over the last decade we have been in existence, and they have built a long-standing, trusted relationship with the fair which provides them with a safe and curated space in which to buy good quality South African contemporary art
·.Witness the journey of emerging artists, see how artists have grown and shaped their careers from when they first exhibited at TAF.TAF Special Projects
:·TAF Capsule–Usha Seejarim: Turbine Art Fair has selected established South African artist Usha Seejarim as the 2023 TAF Capsule featured artist. The project highlights one of the goals of TAF–making art collecting accessible to young collectors and aims to engage & educate audiences on investing in art in a tangible way. it.
·TAF Unearthed: is a 6 month mentorship programme for emerging artists which covers the business of art and art mentorship and culminates in a curated group exhibition of their work.. Curated by Teboho Ralesai
· OFF THE GRID–A return to abstraction: Off the Grid is dedicated to artists outside of the main gallery circuit in an effort to support and sustain their careers. Curated by Ashraf Jamal and features Gail Behrmann, Refiloe Mnisi, Alexandra Khazin, Daniel Chimurere & Samson Minsi.
·ON THE GRID-A parallel to TAF’s Off the Grid project, On the Grid will showcase 3 artists whose careers have been launched through one of the fair programmes, and who currently have gallery representation or partnerships and have elevated their careers beyond an emerging practice. The 2023 selection of artists include Chris Soal with WHATIFTHEOWRLD Gallery, Kamyar Binestarigh with Southern Guild, Setlamargo Mashilo with EverardRead
.·TAF Talent–Curated by Shenaz Mahomed ,the fair’s annual curated graduate exhibition of the top talent from the graduating and masters classes of the SA universities and creative schools.·Bruce Murray Arnott presented by Villa Legodi Center for Sculpture-Held in partnership with Turbine Art Fair, this iteration has been scaled down to include a selection of sculptures, the sale of which would help the ArnottEstate to cast more open editions, intended for inclusion on further iterations of the exhibition, amongst them, Oskar III and Betrothal of the Arnolfini.·JAG:TAF in partnership with JAG & iToo ArtInsure will present a series of work from the Johannesburg Art Gallery Collection including the Dumile FeniCrucifixion triptych.4.International fashion superstar Thebe Magugu explores 11 cultures in aninstallation that will be a must see for every art and fashion acolyte
·Thebe Magugu “Mother and Child” Heritage Dresses-Thebe Magugu in partnership with TAF and Hyde Park corner will present Thebe’s Mother and Child heritage capsule collection in the center court of Hyde Park Corner. The collection, which is focused on celebratory and totemic studies of South African cultures, will be presented as an installation of 8m long dresses.5.TAF TALKS brings together visionaries in art, sustainability, design, and fashion to explore some of the art world’s most demanding questions.
·A curated selection of talks focused on engaging collectors, art enthusiasts and artists. The programme includes a series of fair walkabouts by selected curators, artists and creative industry experts. The 2023 programme will be curated by Palesa Segomotso Motsumi.
(·Art is Freedom: Some Artists Can Give You Two Heartbeats
.·Art is Fashion: African By Design, Slow By Nature
.·Art is By Design:African Creatives Talk Luxury and Collaborations
.·Art is Storytelling: How personal stories create brands.
·Art is Joburg: A Single Shot Tells A Story.
·Art is Personal: Being BOLD as an artist.
·Art is Education: The City As Palimpsest
.·Art is Archival: Music asan archive
·Art is Community: Building and Developing Artists.6.Expanding the art conversation beyond the white walls, TAF23 continues ourongoing engagement with fashion as art, collaborating with brands like TshepoJeans and artist Alka Dass.
·South African designer denim brand TSHEPO JEANS has collaborated with artist Alka Dass to create a piece that is both art and fashion inspired by notions of light as a window to owning, reclaiming and sharing our histories.7.Everyone can take home a piece of contemporary South African design in our curated gift shop and bookstore, from art and design books
·Aside from all the extraordinary exhibitions at this year’s fair, visitors can also look forward to the first official TAF Bookstore, that brings visitors to TAF’23some of the most beautiful art, photography, fashion and design titles from across the globe8.Celebrate life and art in our Steenberg Garden, and the Don Julio X The Forumeatery & bar
·TAF and The Forum Company, are collaborating with Steenberg Wine Farm and Don Julio to create their signature experience for TAF23 guests. Guests can anticipate an array of meticulously crafted cocktails, and a selection of wines from SteenbergVineyard.9.This year we’re unpacking musical archives, and what that means within a South African context—where erasure and unheard voices provide a new window into our past.·
When histories have been erased and voices left unheard, music can provide another window into the past for us to learn from. We look at sound archives and what they mean within a South African context. We also place emphasis on the value of sound and listening. The importance of creating a music archive as a way to bridge the gaps that history has dealt us.
Everyone is welcome at TAF, so bring the kids along for our unique arts program for the little ones, where art walkabouts and activity areas let them flex their creative muscles
·Drawing with Lamy
·Melville Mud Room