Ruarc Peffers is the MD of Aspire Art Auctions. He graduated with a BA (Fine Art) from Michaelis, UCT, after which he started working in the art auction industry under Stephan Welz and Sotheby’s stewardship. Later, Peffers completed an MSc in history, curating and criticism at the University of Edinburgh. He has worked in the arts industry his whole career, between the primary and secondary markets, including at Goodman Gallery and blank projects.
Name three artworks that you love and why.
Tough question. Only three?
Moshekwa Langa – Skins; Dan Halter – Safe as Fuck; Francis Alÿs – Bridge (Snails); Theaster Gates – Raising Goliath; Richard Wilson – 20:50; Christian Marclay – The Clock.
Name one artist you would love to meet.
What are you reading at the moment?
Georgina Adam – Dark Side of the Boom: The Excesses of the Art Market in the 21st Century.
What is in your car’s CD player?
Haven’t listened to CDs for years. Chet Faker was playing through my phone this morning.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
How have the arts industries in South Africa changed over the last ten years?
In many ways – apart from becoming more professional and globally relevant, locally they have become more inclusive, sophisticated and forward-looking. In the absence of appreciable state support, we are fortunate to have the magnanimous support of South Africans who have invested significantly in the industry in the form of public-private institutions – Norval Foundation, The Javett Art Centre, A4 Foundation, Gallery South, et al.
Name one thing you think would improve the arts and culture industry in South Africa.
State support. For the state and fiscus to acknowledge the cultural industries’ potential for job creation, revenue generation and nation-building, and support their development accordingly. Consider, for example, Tate Britain where, between the three museums, they attract more annual visitors than the Premier League.
What is your most treasured possession?
The gavel I turned with my father on his lathe.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Corruption. Or an environment that resists meritocracy.
What is it that makes you happy?
Prosperity. Positivity. My friends and family.
Describe a defining moment in your life.
The morning Kevin Handelsman and Brian Joffe took me for breakfast – the first time the concept, and possibility, of Aspire was broached.
What projects will you be busy with during 2018 and into 2019?
Our last project this year is our Holidays! online auction (20 – 27 November), full of wonderful books, fine art and collectable objects like Ardmore, whisky decanters, Chinese blue and white ceramics, etc. Our first project next year is the University of Stellenbosch Woordfees, followed by the Investec Cape Town Art Fair, during which we will conduct two events – a talk with important woman artists, and an introduction to a new arts institution in the Cape – and our first Cape Town auction – Autumn 19.
Name one goal you would like to achieve in the next twelve months.
To see our Artist’s Resale Right initiative legislated and know that artists are benefitting from their work.