31st Oct, 2016 20:00

Historic, Modern & Contemporary Art

 
Lot 41
 
Lot 41 - Athi-Patra Ruga (South Africa 1984-)

41

Athi-Patra Ruga (South Africa 1984-)
Convention…Procession…Elevation

acrylic wool and gold thread

Artwork date: 2013
Signature details: signed, dated, inscribed with the artist and producers' names, production location, title, medium, and 'Edition: Unique' on a label on the reverse
Exhibited: Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, AFRICA: Architecture, Culture and Identity, 25 June to 25 October 2015.
Literature: (2014). Athi-Patra Ruga: F.W.W.O.A. SAGA. Cape Town: WHATIFTHEWORLD, double page spread colour illustration on pp.101-102.

Sold for R477,456
Estimated at R300,000 - R500,000


 

acrylic wool and gold thread

Artwork date: 2013
Signature details: signed, dated, inscribed with the artist and producers' names, production location, title, medium, and 'Edition: Unique' on a label on the reverse
Exhibited: Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, AFRICA: Architecture, Culture and Identity, 25 June to 25 October 2015.
Literature: (2014). Athi-Patra Ruga: F.W.W.O.A. SAGA. Cape Town: WHATIFTHEWORLD, double page spread colour illustration on pp.101-102.

(1)

175 x 300 cm

Notes:

Athi-Patra Ruga’s tapestries refuse to be hemmed in by the visual language deployed in poverty pornography, which trades in graphic African despair. Instead, his work transforms despair, through intricate patterns and fabrics, into a kind of language that one might then use to speak about history and its lingering effects.

Convention...Procession...Elevation is such a work. It breaks with the convention of the Western gaze and its attendant stereotypes that it seeks to inscribe on things African: the landscape, the sunset, the safari, and the people. Equally, the work decouples itself from essentialist patriarchal Africanisms when it comes to questions of what it means to be black and African. What ideas formulate the African identity? Is it sexuality (imagined as only cis-gendered and straight)? Is it continentality? Or is it imagination and one’s material existence?

In this piece Ruga moves between these questions and beyond them with the skill of a craftsman and the eye of a surrealist – he collapses known forms of epistemic modalities through synthetic processing of abstraction and bodiliness in order to achieve transcendence or, if you may, Elevation.

It is true, Ruga takes the body as the primary infrastructure for producing his work but he refuses it it’s material limitations. It is with this sense that, in this work, he is able to take a site of conflict and despair – the African landscape on which so many wars have been fought and so much despair has befallen her people – and transform it into a lush canvas of imaginative possibility. It is in the pink ballooned figures that ride the sentient Zebra behind which a neon pink, blue and purple sky swims as in a waking dream.

What strikes you the most is the foregrounded figure – dishevelled and dumbstruck as though s/he/them have just been struck by the immensity of the sublime in the distance outside the frame of the viewer. There is, again, that lushness in the figure’s attire, the green strands of her hair, the terrified and total surrender in the eyes. This is a work of extreme beauty and imagination such as possible only through the threads and tapestries of Ruga.

Lwandile Fikeni

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Auction: Historic, Modern & Contemporary Art, 31st Oct, 2016

The line-up for our inaugural sale included an extraordinary selection of art. Works ranged from JH Pierneef’s breathtaking Karoo near Hofmeyer, painted in 1930, to Dan Halter’s 2006, ultraviolet light, Pefection. 

Sculptures varied from Edoardo Villa’s acknowledgment of French artist, Aristide Maillol to Wim Botha’s heads that draw on classical and contemporary sources and Ed Young’s cheeky nude self-portrait. Also included were impressive photographs by award-winners, David Goldblatt and Pieter Hugo.

The auction set an impressive standard, with an outstanding sell-through rate of over 75% across 121 lots. The top lot of the sale was Alexis Preller’s exceptional Profile Figures (Mirrored Image), selling for over  R7-million. Record sales were achieved for Villa, Goldblatt, and Hugo, amongst others.

Viewing

Friday 28 October 2016 | 10 am – 5 pm
Saturday 28 October 2016 | 10 am – 5 pm
Sunday 28 October 2016 | 10 am – 4 pm

 

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