Launch Event in Jozi
Circa Gallery, Rosebank, Johannesburg
All systems go for 2013!
Site_Specific's Second International Land Art Biennale
by Kim Trollip
No country is better suited to land art than South Africa. Our open vistas, blue skies and ancient hills form an unrivalled muse, lending themselves to this exciting art form. And if one had to choose a region of the country in which to locate an international land art event, Plettenberg Bay and the surrounding Bitou Municipality must surely top the list.
The second Site_Specific International Land Art Biennale 2013 takes place from 10 to 17 August 2013 in Plett and was launched at Circa Gallery in Rosebank, Johannesburg last week. The invited artists – South African and international – were announced at the event.
Site_Specific is an exciting artist-led project, conceived by Strijdom van der Merwe and Anni Snyman in an attempt to create more opportunity for land art in South Africa.
Speaking at the launch, Business Day and Financial Mail editor, Peter Bruce urged business to put its muscle behind art. “Business people, help make Site_Specific even bigger! Debate and dialogue is the glue that makes South Africa stronger and art is an important part of that dialogue. The tourism aspect of this event is also important and worthy of your support.”
The project’s main sponsors thus far are the Beacon Island Resort, the Bitou Municipality, the Plettenberg Bay Tourism Association and Circa Gallery.
During his speech, Bitou Municipality executive mayor Memory Booysen – who travelled to Johannesburg for the launch – turned to event coordinator and head of sponsorship Heather Greig and said, “This project has changed people’s lives in a small coastal town. Heather and your team, you guys are magic. Strijdom, we are really looking forward to hosting Site_Specific in Plettenberg Bay once again this year and meeting the new and returning artists.”
Site_Specific is very proud of its community involvement. Not only are local artists included as invited artists, but there is also a category for a promising young artist from the area, and several events and projects in which the local people of Plettenberg Bay and surrounds are encouraged to participate.
This year’s Young Artist from Eden recipient is Lungiswa Gqunta, a hard-working, passionate, curious and skilled young artist from Port Elizabeth. Her interests are the intersection between the traditional and the urban contemporary, and what this means in terms of finding her niche as a young female artist.
Internationally-renowned South African land artist Strijdom van der Merwe announced the names of the 2013 invited artists including the two international artists namely Cornelia Konrads of Germany who creates mind-bending artworks, which appear to defy gravity, and Won-gil Jeon of South Korea who works with nature in his attempts to untangle her order.
“It is always difficult to decide which artists should be part of Site_Specific,” said Van der Merwe. “But it is a careful process and the short list has to be approved by the committee. This year we have decided to include two artists who participated in the 2011 event. They are Hannelie Coetzee, for her enthusiasm and interaction with the public, as well as Angus Taylor - the ‘super star’ sculptor of South African public spaces. We like to invite artists who come without preconceived ideas and are willing to walk the land before they decide what they are going to do.”
The remaining invited artists are: Wilma Cruise, Erynne Ewart-Phipps, Gordon Froud, David Jones, Marius Neustetter, Blessing Ngobeni, Sam Nhlengethwa, Walter Oltmann, Stephen Rosin, Malcolm Solomon, Janet Botes, Erica Lüttich, Anni Snyman, PC Janse van Rensburg and Strijdom van der Merwe.
Site_Specific links into another exciting ecological art initiative, namely the Eden to Addo Land Art Route. The unveiling of Van der Merwe’s exciting new installation along this route will sound the beginning of the Biennale on Sunday 11 August 2013.
This year, Site_Specific has opened the event to a wider group of artists to create their work alongside the core group of invited artists. The SIDES programme invites proposals for contemporary site specific land art works with the focus on using natural materials, aiming to create work that is ephemeral and embraces the natural beauty of Plettenberg Bay. A maximum of 20 SIDE artists will work independently as a “fringe” group but will receive support in locating a site for the work and getting permission from the relevant authorities. They will join the invited artists for lectures, discussions, workshops and social events. The SIDES work will be on display in the same area as those of the invited core group, and will be included in the Site_Specific catalogue documenting the event.
Public participation workshops
There are some exciting events taking place during the Site_Specific Biennale, these include a two-day beach calligraphy workshop with leading letter artist Andrew van der Merwe, who will share the tools and techniques he personally developed for this unique art form; a two-day facilitated ecological land art walk from Nature’s Valley to Keurboomstrand with Simon Max Bannister; and a three-day photography workshop with Daron Chatz and Anja Wiehl, which includes a field trip to observe and shoot the art.
Make a contribution
The Site_Specific project promotes site specific art in Africa, facilitating communities to care for and appreciate their environment, as well as supporting and coordinating art and environmental creators and patrons. It is a not-for-profit association of people who are passionate about site specific art. If you’d like to make a contribution to this worthwhile project, please look at our Land Art Passport, and make a contribution through our PayFast payment portal:
Land Art Passport
For those who are supporting and participating in the event we've developed the Site_Specific Land Art Passport which entitles the bearer to discounts at participating accommodation establishments, restaurants, and tourist attractions for the duration of the Site_Specific International Land Art Biennale in Plettenberg Bay between 10 & 17 August 2013.
Join us in August! This is a not-to-be-missed land art event, in an area where a rugged and moody coastline crashes up against majestic forests with thousand-year-old Outeniqua yellowwoods as sentinels and is surrounded by mega-reserves and blue flag beaches.