Fri, 14th Feb 2020 20:00

Aspire X PIASA | Modern & Contemporary African Art

Lot 71
Lot 71 - Kay Hassan (South Africa 1956-)


Kay Hassan (South Africa 1956-)

paper construction

Artwork date: 1998
Signature details: signed and dated on the reverse

Sold for R136,560
Estimated at R120,000 - R180,000

Condition Report

To be restored.

Please note, we are not qualified conservators and these reports give our opinion as to the general condition of the works. We advise that bidders view the lots in person to satisfy themselves with the condition of prospective purchases.


paper construction

Artwork date: 1998
Signature details: signed and dated on the reverse


153.5 x 103 cm


Kay Hassan, while personally reclusive, has an instantly recognisable body of work. Well-travelled in recent times, he has been an integral part of Johannesburg’s artistic fabric since the 1980s, and, along with artists like David Koloane, was an influential long-term inhabitant of Fordsburg’s well-known Bag Factory Studios. He has exhibited widely and internationally, including on the second Johannesburg biennale in 1997, and the Venice biennale in 2015.Hassan’s work is fascinating for its implicit socio-political critique. His ‘paper constructions’, of which this work is a fine example, take ubiquitous ‘township’ advertising imagery and recontextualises it in a fine art idiom. Often comprised of recycled advertising billboard imagery, Hassan reconstitutes these, layering the objects and reconstructing them in such a way that they seduce the viewer with their painterliness, despite being composed of found materials. The recontextualising of the advertising images demonstrates Hassan’s ability to transform the mundane into the visually powerful and aesthetically pleasing. At the same time it implies a wry commentary on the extent to which the working classes of the townships are deprived of such aesthetic experiences in their lives. The dangling signifier in this piece, the word ‘Kosuku’, translates from the Zulu as ‘day’, giving little away as to the meaning of the work, but providing it with a uniquely South African context.

James Sey

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Auction: Aspire X PIASA | Modern & Contemporary African Art, Fri, 14th Feb 2020

Aspire Art Auctions partnered with Paris-based house Piasa, to introduce an Africa-focused auction presenting some of the best examples of modern and contemporary art produced on this continent. This was the first time an African and European auction house partnered to present a sale of African art, in Africa, for a global audience. 

The sale included 139 artists representing 27 countries from Africa and the diaspora and spotlighted key collecting segments from 20th century modernism to contemporary production and photography. The lead-lot, Marlene Dumas’ Oktober 1973 achieved a stellar R7,055,600 well above its high estimate of R3-5 million. Also on offer were some of the most in-demand African artists including Chéri Samba, Aboudia Abdoulaye Diarrassouba, Gareth Nyandoro, Mustafa Maluka and William Kentridge.

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