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Celebrate sculptural expression with SculptX at Melrose Gallery

The fifth edition of SculptX, the largest sculpture fair in South Africa, opens this Spring, offering Johannesburg art-lovers the unique opportunity to view a comprehensive and diverse collection of sculptures across various indoor and outdoor venues.

sculptX 2022 sculpture exhibition Melrose Gallery
Carol Cauldwell, Roger The Rabbit, 2019, Bronze, 5200cm

Taking place from 1 September to 16 October 2022, SculptX will present over 200 works this year, created by more than 70 sculptors. The materials they are fashioned from vary from bronze to wood, glass, crystal, steel and bone to stone, resin and other media. Similarly, the modes of expression encompassed in this vast number of sculptures vary from figurative works depicting the human body, the natural world or the built environment, to abstract works where form, texture and line entertain the eye. Works also range in scale, from a 5m Roger the Rabbit created by Carol Cauldwell and an 18 tonnes granite sculpture by Pitika Ntuli, to miniature works that weigh less than 1kg.

In this way SculptX reveals the breadths and depths that this traditional art medium can offer and the abundance of artistic talent in the country that has applied itself to this three-dimensional art form. In short, SculptX is a celebration of all manner of sculptural expression.

The annual sculpture fair was established by The Melrose Gallery in 2017 in association with Melrose Arch. This fair was conceived in response to the increased number of artists adopting this genre in response to the global demand for sculpture. This has translated into the establishment of several outdoor sculpture parks in the country by a number of art foundations and artists primarily working in this medium.

‘SculptX has grown to become a highlight of the South African arts calendar providing a valuable platform for the promotion of sculpture and those who create them,’ says Craig Mark, director of The Melrose Gallery. ‘SculptX provides many benefits to those who live, work, and play in the Melrose Arch precinct but also to the artists in terms of exposure and revenue, and collectors who wait all year for such a varied and diverse selection to choose from.’

sculptX 2022 sculpture exhibition Melrose Gallery

A diverse and well-curated combination of established and emerging artists

Development is the foundation on which SculptX was founded and it is unique in that it provides a valuable space for artists at different levels in their careers to present their artworks. Established artists – Willie Bester, Pitika Ntuli, Andre Stead, Jean Doyle and Strijdom van der Merwe among numerous others – will show alongside a younger set of artists pushing the boundaries of the medium such as Mandy Johnston, Simon Zitha, James Cook and Bridget Modema as well as other emerging and mid-career artists still exploring the possibilities of sculpture.

sculptX 2022 sculpture exhibition Melrose Gallery
Sonja Swanepoel, Avis Fractii

Women artists are represented strongly in the fair with works by Wilma Cruise, Elizabeth Balcomb, Ela Cronje, Rirhandzu Makhubele, Philiswa Lila and Sarah Richards among many others, further dispelling the myth that sculpture is primarily the preserve of male artists.

‘We have put much effort into sourcing female and young artists from previously disadvantaged communities to give them the benefit of this valuable platform as they are often overlooked and underrepresented in this genre,’ adds Mark.

A public call-out process was used to identify works for the fair and attracted proposals from many emerging artists. Curator Ruzy Rusike and her team considered more than 300 submissions before settling on 200 works by 70 artists.

‘We feel that the South African arts sector needs to be more inclusive and less exclusive in order to provide wider benefit to artists and audiences from all segments of the population and SculptX has been extremely successful in achieving this,’ says Rusike.

SculptX will take place at The Melrose Gallery and a number of other indoor and outdoor venues in Melrose Arch. This year the fair will once again be paired with an online viewing room where more details about the artworks and the artists will be available on www.themelrosegallery.com. Dialogues, walkabouts and workshops focussed on the artists and sculpture as a form of expression will be held during the run of the fair.

Entrance for SculptX is free from 1 September to 16 October 2022 at The Melrose Gallery, Melrose Arch, Johannesburg.

sculptX 2022 sculpture exhibition Melrose Gallery
Lothar Bottcher, Bison Cubed

SCULPTX 2022 HIGHLIGHTS:

Dr Esther Mahlangu Releases New Series of Sculptures:

A new series of sculptures created by Dr Esther Mahlangu will be exhibited for the first time. While many of Dr Mahlangu’s most known artworks have been created by painting on objects such as cars, planes, vodka bottles and motor bikes, this is the first time that she has focused on creating a sculpture, specifically, and not using products created for another purpose.

sculptX 2022 sculpture exhibition Melrose Gallery
Pierre Fourie, Realization

Dr Willie Bester Releases New Series of Bronzes:

Dr Willie Bester will be attending the opening of SculptX 2022 to unveil three bronze busts to the public for the first time. These works are the first in a new and natural direction for the artist who is globally acclaimed for his powerful sculptural works that are typically created from metal and found objects gathered from scrap yards in the Western Cape. Bester is globally recognised as one of South Africa’s foremost resistance artists and his assemblages speak against all types of social, economic, political, and other injustice.

Public Walkabout:

Join Dr Willie Bester and other participating artists for a walkabout and engagement around their artworks at 12:30 till 14:00 on 1 September at The Melrose Gallery, 10 The High Street, Melrose Arch, Johannesburg. RSVP essential to curator@themelrosegallery.com as space is limited.

Sculpture Workshops:

sculptX 2022 sculpture exhibition Melrose Gallery
James Cook, Entropy

Sandro Trapani will be coordinating a series of two-day sculpture workshops at Melrose Arch and at Art & Collect in Midrand as part of SculptX 2022. Previous workshops implemented by Trapani throughout South Africa have been extremely well received and those with an interest in sculpture benefitted greatly from his vast experience as a sculptor.

The workshops will take place at Melrose Arch on 30 September and 1 October and in Midrand on 14 and 15 October. The cost is R1900 per workshop, including all materials and participants will create and take home their own sculpture once complete.

For more information on these workshops and to book your space contact Sandro Trapani on 073 170 9176 or on info@sandrotrapani.com

Participating Artists:

Amita Makan, Andre Stead, Andries Botha, Arno Morland, Ben Tuge, Bridget Modema, Bronwynn Gooch, Carl Roberts, Cassian Robbertze, Chonat Getz, Chuma Maweni, Coral Bijoux, Cassian Robbertze, Carol Cauldwell, Cornelia Stoop, David Hlongwane, Debbie Farnaby, Dikeledi Mapanya, Dominique Albinski, Elizabeth Balcomb, Ella Cronje, Dr Esther Mahlangu, Eve de Jong, Gabriele Jacobs, Glen Cook, Gordon Froud, Sir Ike Nkoana, James Cook, Jean Doyle, Jenny Nijenhuis, Jimmy Law, Joe Turpin, Kenneth Shandu, Lee-at Meyerov, Lothar Bottcher, Luyanda Mkhize, Mandy Johnson, Maritza Breytenbach, Mark Chapman, Mark Swart, Millicent Hoko, Niel Jonker, Nicola Roos, Oscar Henning, Paul do Toit, Pedro Malada, Philiswa Lila, Pholile Hlongwane, Pierre Fourie, Pitika Ntuli, Rirhandzu Makhubele, Sandile Radebe, Sandra Maythem Bailey, Sandro Trapani, Sarah Richards, Simon Zitha, Siyabulele Ndodana, Sonja Swanepoel, Strijdom van der Merwe, Theophelus Rikhatso, Uwe Pfaff, Dr Willie Bester, Wilma Cruise and Xirilo Wayne Ngobeni.

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