Sculpture

Sprout Conference 2019

Hello Cape Town!

Hello Cape Town!

In the first week of June Carien Momsen from Pureline Interior Design joined me for the #SproutConference2019 to Cape Town. It was a lightning trip packed to the brim with experiences that included art, culture, beautiful landscapes, delicious food and even time with good friends.

Our Itinerary

Our Itinerary

Our first site visit was the breathtaking Dylan Lewis Sculpture garden in Stellenbosch. A truly memorable experience that really showcases how the landscape can be a sculptural element in itself. Dylan Lewis laid the paths out over many years with great attention to detail and the recommended visitors walk allows one to appreciate the sculptures in a dynamic way from many perfectly planned angles. The planting is focused on indigenous plants, particularly fynbos, of which a large selection of unusual varieties have been sourced from Kirstenbosch. The landscape and amazing planting combinations really were a highlight of this trip!

Sculptures, water, mountains - a language of beauty and nature

Sculptures, water, mountains - a language of beauty and nature

Loved the lime green and striking red colours of these Crocosmias

Loved the lime green and striking red colours of these Crocosmias

Our celebratory lunch was held at Tokara’s restaurant where wine and fine dining was a feast for the senses. We also enjoyed the Art on display including the enormous and intricately woven tapestry (two sections, each 2.2 high x 3.5m wide) by Sayed Mahmoud from Egypt. A different type of tapestry was the woven pathways of the gardens at Babylonstoren which we explored even though it started to rain!

Fine Dining

Fine Dining

Tapestry at Tokara

Tapestry at Tokara

Our second day of exploration and inspiration started with a visit to Truth Roastery and 117Kloof for coffee and croissants as well as the Company Gardens - always a treat to visit. I love watching how people interact with this space and the different activities that take place here. The entrance to the Gardens is dominated by a massive timber Arch installed as part of the Design Indaba 2018 to honour Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.

Company Gardens

Our next stop was the impressive urban precinct known at the Silos at the V&A Waterfront, particularly the Zeitz MOCAA (Museum of Modern Contemporary Art) Art Gallery. The building feels like an artwork and has been crafted out of forty-two concrete columns, each 33 metres tall with a diameter of 5.5 metres. It was designed by London’s Heatherwick Studios and the central atrium space, polished concrete surfaces and layout of the building generates an awe-inspiring reaction.

Following our experience of the museum we had a quick delicious lunch at the restaurant on the top floor with a beautiful view over the harbour and then spent some time exploring the V&A Waterfront.

Zeitz MOCAA
Exploring the Waterfront

Exploring the Waterfront

Our final site visit was the Norval Foundation in Tokai where we again saw beautiful artwork inside and outside the building. The sculpture park has beautiful indigenous planting combinations and although it was raining at this stage we still enjoyed our time here. We had a quick coffee break at Skotnes Restaurant before heading to the airport for our flight back to Johannesburg.

A huge thank you again to my amazing, incredible Executive PA for arranging this conference! It was a wonderful experience that filled us with inspiration for the year, hopefully until #SproutConference2020 :)

View of the Wetland running adjacent the Norval Foundation

View of the Wetland running adjacent the Norval Foundation

Indigenous Planting

Indigenous Planting

Anton Smit Sculpture Park

Entrance to Anton Smit Gallery is guarded by these sentinels

Entrance to Anton Smit Gallery is guarded by these sentinels

The ILASA year end function was held at the Anton Smit Sculpture Park in Bronkhorstspruit and included a guided walk through the gallery and production area, followed by a lunch at the tea garden called Imagine Cafe.

The Gallery

The Gallery

Anton was in the Cape over this time so the tour was led by his dynamic wife Roelien who gave us insight into the working of the gallery and Anton’s thought process in creating artworks. The gallery exudes creativity and Roelien made us all feel welcome by sharing her knowledge and introducing us to the team members of the business.

The ILASA group is given a tour of how the sculptures are made

The ILASA group is given a tour of how the sculptures are made

Roelien explained that almost all of Anton’s sculptures are connected to the human body and relate to the human mind and soul. His work includes heads and monumental statues that evoke themes of suffering, reconciliation and glory and can be connected to his strong religious beliefs. He is also known for his nudes, masks, hands, angels, warriors and abstract works, using mostly steel, fibreglass and bronze.

Something beautiful at every angle

Something beautiful at every angle

The Sculpture Park allows you to get up close to the artworks

The Sculpture Park allows you to get up close to the artworks

The Sculpture Park consists of an assorted collection of his work placed in a garden setting with a bacdrop of natural limestone fomations. The largest of the sculptures can be seen when driving into the parking area and one can wander down to see these more closely. I especially liked exploring the garden and seeing a sculpture placed in a viewpoint, framed by trees, that one moved towards.

It is all about experience. What I love about his sculptures is that you can move around them, touch them and experience them from multiple angles.

040.JPG
Highly emotive, grand scale pieces welcome you to the Sculpture Park

Highly emotive, grand scale pieces welcome you to the Sculpture Park

The sculpture park is open to public, it can be accessed anytime, however the art gallery is only open during office hours Monday – Friday | 9am – 5pm, Saturday / Sunday | 9am – 1pm. For more info please visit https://www.antonsmit.co.za

Masks on the Wall

Masks on the Wall

Letná Gardens, Prague

Wonderful ceramic horse sculptures that children were playing on!

Wonderful ceramic horse sculptures that children were playing on!

Blue horse

Blue horse

I was so impressed with this large leafy green space situated North of the Old Town (The entrance is a 10 minute walk from Letenské náměstí). Not only is it loved by locals, but you will see many tourists enjoying the scenic views over the Vltava River as well as a beer from Letná Beer Garden.

Beer Garden with Views over the Old City and Vltava River

Beer Garden with Views over the Old City and Vltava River

Broad walkways with tall leafy trees make this a lovely park to explore

Broad walkways with tall leafy trees make this a lovely park to explore

This park caters for every age: we saw elderly ladies reading; moms with babies and toddlers at the children’s playgrounds; a youth group attending a class under a tree; teens learning to roller blade; hip young men skating and filming stunts; couples picnicking; people walking their dogs or sunbathing or cycling or jogging. A multi-functional space providing recreation opportunities in a safe and well maintained environment. I also saw a fenced off section that was specifically designated for dog training with obstacles where you teach your dog to do tricks.

Skateboarders are entertaining to watch

Skateboarders are entertaining to watch

People admiring the view from Letná Terasa

People admiring the view from Letná Terasa

Giant Metronome sculpture ticking away

Giant Metronome sculpture ticking away

Like most public spaces there is an element of vandalism which is particularly present at the uppermost viewing point where most of the skate-boarding takes place. This is also the platform with the best view point of the city which is dominated by a giant moving Metronome – one of the many quirky artworks dotted around the city)

I always orientate myself when I arrive somewhere by looking at the map they provide

I always orientate myself when I arrive somewhere by looking at the map they provide

Letná Gardens, Prague
Even through the graffiti it's interesting to read the Park's history

Even through the graffiti it's interesting to read the Park's history

If you need a breather form the tourist filled streets of Malá Strana, this is the perfect place to go!

Taal Monument, Paarl

It was an overcast and misty morning when I arrived at 8am at the Taal Monument after a scenic drive through the Paarl Mountain Reserve. Fortunately it was not long before the sun broke through and the monument was looking picture perfect.

Sprout visits the Taal Monument

A monument to the Afrikaans language - this made me think about the beauty of the language and the culture associated it. My mother is Afrikaans so I have learned to appreciate a number of things: the Afrikaans soapies (Egoli and 7de Laan were part of our evening routine growing up); the wonderful arts festivals (Innibos, KKNK, Aardklop); Melktert and of course South Africa wouldn’t be the same without Ouma Rusks and Biltong. Apparently rusks and biltong were originated during the South African (Anglo Boer) War as it was a way for soldiers to carry dried bread and meat as provisions during long journeys.

Sprout visits the Taal Monument

The monument itself would be more suitably described as a sculpture. The fluid lines and curves are expertly moulded out of a monochrome material (concrete) that gives it a uniformity and elegance that surprised me. Because of the curvaceous form the ‘building’ comes across as welcoming, open and generous instead of cold, stark and rigid like many concrete structures I have experienced before.

Sprout visits the Taal Monument
Sprout visits the Taal Monument

The water feature at the heart of the tower has a calming and softening effect as the light reflects up onto the smooth walls and the gurgling sound creates a serene ambience. You emerge from the tunnel onto a large circular platform where there are three large mounds. Each element of the monument represents an important influence on the Afrikaans language (Europe, Asia and Africa) as well as two authors (C.J. Langenhoven and N.P. van Wyk Louw) who inspired the architect Jan van Wijk. These three mounds represent the African continent in the form of the three African languages that influenced Afrikaans: isiXhosa, isiZulu and seSotho.

You can then explore the adjacent garden where enormous granite boulders and gnarled old olive trees are found. These boulders compliment the sculpture beautifully in their form and colour.

Sprout visits the Taal Monument
Sprout visits the Taal Monument

The tall tower, which is so prominent from a distance, does not feel foreboding when you view it from up close. It is elegant and reminds me of the Tower of Babel – people with high ambitions, reaching up to the heavens. It is certainly far from the phallic, cold concrete monument I was expecting. In my opinion Jan van Wijk created a beautiful, site sensitive timeless sculpture and I thoroughly enjoyed visiting it. 

Architectural Model of the Monument in the Museum

Architectural Model of the Monument in the Museum