By Melissa Cohen
White walls and wooden floors, with a collage of colour gracing the blank walls every now and again – this was the predominant atmosphere that I was welcomed with as I walked into the Smac Art Gallery in Stellenbosch.
This setting seems rather fitting for this particular exhibition as the focus of the ‘Paperwork’ exhibition is on contemporary South African works on paper. The white gallery walls reminded me of a blank canvas, but this emptiness was broken occasionally by frames with different art pieces created on paper contained within them.
“The reason that I chose to focus this exhibition on the concept of paper is because I love paper and how universal it has become. Paper is special because it is a live material which can be seen as a primary medium,” explained Smac Art Gallery owner Marelize Van Zyl.
The exhibition, which opened on February 13 and runs until April 26, showcases the various forms of paper and how it can be exhibited as a final product rather than a process medium. “We have used works that date back to 1972. Even though these works are old, they have been well looked after and I think they show how paper has become a democratic and versatile medium,” mentioned Van Zyl.
The exhibition features a variety of art works ranging from collages to paintings and even paper weaving pieces. ‘Paperwork’ is a contemporary portrayal of what would be seen as dated work as it focuses on modern designs and artistic elements which contrasts with the historical concept of paper.
“We tried to incorporate artists who use paper with different mediums of art. Paper is here to stay and even though computers are taking over, I believe that paper will always be present in some way,” explained Van Zyl.
Artists such as William Kentridge, Sam Nhlengethwa, Julia Rosa Clark and Ed Young, to name but a few, have used their artistic talents to inspire people to see paper as more than just a planning ground for a vision, but rather the vision itself.
* Visit www.smacgallery.com for more information.