THK Gallery in Cape Town, artist Jake Michael Singer, and RMB are proud to announce the launch of the Emergence Art Prize, to be announced on the occasion of the RMB TAF 2020.
In addition to the prize, there are 12 limited edition sculptures known as Dawn Chorus Ordinals after the iconic Dawn Chorus sculpture situated in the Think Precinct. A portion of the proceeds of these sculptures will be put towards the prize.
The Emergence Art Prize is targeted, as the name suggests, at boosting the careers of emerging artists who are yet to gain official gallery representation, the prize will be adjudicated by a prestigious professional panel and awarded at a special event during the virtual edition of the Fair. Entries from artists working in any medium will open on Tuesday July 14th and close at noon on August 14th.
The rewards and career benefits for the winner of the prize are among the most significant of their kind in the South African art world. They include a solo exhibition at sponsor gallery THK in Cape Town, a two month residency at the innovative Quartier am Hafen Studio House on the banks of the Rhine in Cologne, Germany, and an R80 000 cash prize, a portion of which will go towards airfares and a stipend while the artist is in residence.
THK and artist Jake Michael Singer, who is represented by the gallery, are the lead sponsors for the initiative. Says THK Director Linda Pyke: 'As a gallery focused on contemporary art and on developing the careers of artists we represent, a prize of this kind is a really effective way of opening up the art market to new voices, and giving emerging artists leverage in their careers. This is one reason why we invite entries from artists working in any medium, the only stipulation being that they are not represented by a gallery.'
Singer is a featured artist at RMB TAF this year. Though he works in different mediums, he is chiefly known for his sculpture, and one of his best-known pieces is Dawn Chorus, owned by RMB and a prominent feature of the bank's landmark precinct in its Johannesburg headquarters, the Think Precinct, which hosts and makes publically accessible a number of significant sculptural pieces from the RMB collection. He agrees with Pyke's assessment: 'I've been fortunate to have had opportunities in my career, but it's always crucial to be part of a community. An Art Prize like Emergence is a fantastic way to give back to the art community, but also a way to develop artists and markets. My sculptural work depends on a team I work closely with, and the emerging artists who will benefit from the Prize will have access to new networks and communities.'
In an economic environment which has seen the art industry more affected than most by the closure of venues and events such as exhibition openings and Art Fairs caused by the devastation of the coronavirus pandemic, the creation of a generous and significant new Art Prize such as the Emergence is a very welcome and laudable initiative.
Jake Michael Singer commands an exquisite mastery of sculpture–drawing inspiration from the emergent behaviour of flocking birds, where the individual is subsumed in the whole; and meditating on the timeless monumentality of the Winged Victory of Samothrace, his 'Murmurations' series speaks to our time. Andrew Kayser's intensely detailed works create an absurd, ambivalent, darkly humorous reality where you have no choice but to abandon yourself to the pleasures of the surface. Johno Mellish constructs his photographic mise-en-scènes by combining history, memory and imagination. Sourcing imagery from both traditional media channels and vernacular photographs, he composes fictional narratives which mirror our post-truth, fragmented, and data-driven society. Pierre le Riche uses thread as structural element–both a connection point, an unravelling, and a space demarcation–and evokes a complex set of ready-made associations through material and colour use: exploring permeable gender roles and liminal identities. Weaving a complex set of associations, the threads running through his practice tap into a rich seam of metaphor and ambiguity. Nonzuzo Gxekwa's approach to photography favours the everyday over the spectacular; sharing interesting and intimate moments through focusing the camera on what is around her as well as herself. Her work explores the human condition in subtle and beautiful ways. Nyasha Marovatsanga's works showcase his powerful painterly language, using gestural brushstrokes and bold colouration.
This multidisciplinary presentation puts forth diverse creations of these different artistic voices based in South Africa and Zimbabwe.