7th Jun, 2023 18:00

20th Century & Contemporary Art

  Lot 35
Lot 35 - Jake Aikman (South Africa 1978-)


Jake Aikman (South Africa 1978-)

oil on canvas

Artwork date: 2010
Signature details: signed bottom right
Literature: Van Zyl, M. (ed). (2013). 'Jake Aikman: At the Quiet Limit'. Stellenbosch: SMAC Art Publishing, illustrated in colour on p. 19.; SMAC Gallery Catalogue. (2011). [Exhibition catalogue]. SMAC Art Publishing: Stellenbosch, illustrated in colour on p. 70.

Sold for R297,375
Estimated at R180,000 - R240,000


oil on canvas

Artwork date: 2010
Signature details: signed bottom right
Literature: Van Zyl, M. (ed). (2013). 'Jake Aikman: At the Quiet Limit'. Stellenbosch: SMAC Art Publishing, illustrated in colour on p. 19.; SMAC Gallery Catalogue. (2011). [Exhibition catalogue]. SMAC Art Publishing: Stellenbosch, illustrated in colour on p. 70.


200 x 200 cm; framed size: 203 x 203 x 5.5 cm


Private collection, Hermanus.

SMAC Gallery, Cape Town.


Painted in 2010, Surge is a captivating large-scale seascape rendered with a profound sense of atmosphere, inviting one into a mesmerizing scene of serene beauty. Measuring 2m x 2m, the painting commands attention. With its sheer magnitude, the work allows for an immersive experience. Aikman's mastery of colour – working only in hues of blue – and light, brings the oceanic scene to life, evoking a sense of both awe and trepidation.

This duality of nature – the beauty and might that simultaneously exist in the natural world, is the poetic essence of Surge. At first glance, the painting appears to capture a moment of intense natural power – nature’s dramatic act before a storm. Aikman expertly portrays the squally waters and stormy skies, creating a palpable energy within the scene. The play of light and shadow on the surface of the wavy waters enhances the dynamic nature of the painting, infusing it with a sense of movement and immediacy.

Yet, amidst the tumultuous seascape, there is a sense of tranquillity and calm. Aikman balances the ocean's raw force with a serene quality that draws viewers in. The composition leads the eye to a focal point – an ethereal glow on the horizon, hinting at the presence of sunlight in the distance. This delicate touch of warmth and daylight amidst the tempestuous scene instils a sense of hope.

The painting elicits an emotional feeling of contemplation and introspection. It invites one to reflect on the sheer vastness of nature and one’s place within it, serving as a reminder of the awe-inspiring forces that shape the planet and our insignificance compared to such immenseness.


In 2010, the same year this painting was produced, Jake Aikman was invited to partake in the 4th Beijing International Art Biennale. The year prior, he was selected to participate in the major exhibition; L’Anima Del Acqua: The Spirit of Water, sponsored by the Italian government and presented at the Ca’ d’Oro Palace as part of the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009. In 2012, Aikman participated in the Olympic Fine Arts Exhibition; Creative Cities Collection, held at the Barbican Centre in London.

More recently, Aikman presented solo exhibitions in Granada (2018) at ArteFiera, Bologna (2019) and Barcelona (2021). He also exhibited internationally in group exhibitions in Florence, Italy (2020) and art fair participation includes Swab Barcelona Art Fair (2021), Future Fair New York (2020, 2022), Art Verona (2019) and The Others Art Fair in Turin (2018).

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Auction: 20th Century & Contemporary Art, 7th Jun, 2023


Aspire Art will impress collectors with this focused, boutique-style auction in Johannesburg. A feature of the carefully compiled collection is a strong focus on contemporary African artists. Collectors of contemporary works from Africa will be spoilt for choice with works by Thierry Oussou (Benin), Richard Mudariki (Zimbabwe) and Banele Khoza (Swaziland). Local contemporary favourites include Nandipha  Mntambo, Cinga Samson and Gerhard Marx amongst others. Contemporary photographers are also well represented with works by Aida Muluneh (Ethiopia), Kudzanai Chiurai (Zimbabwe) and South African international superstar, Zanele Muholi, while important historical images are included with works of Winnie Mandela by Alf Kumalo and a portfolio of twelve works – chronicling the hardships of apartheid – from Ernest Cole’s seminal House of Bondage (1967).

A highlight of the sale is South African modernist Alexis Preller’s, Adam (1972) – a recently discovered, never before seen, work forming part of Preller’s series of Adamic-themed works from the late 1960s and early 1970s. Other significant modern pieces include a unique terrazzo sculpture by Edoardo Villa, still lifes by Maggie Laubser and works by Cecil Skotnes, Walter Battiss and J.H Pierneef. 

The sale concludes with a special section of  William Kentridge editioned prints led by the impressive Blue Head (1993 – 1998).



Viewing will be open from  Friday 2 to Wednesday 7 June 8:30 to 16:30 and Saturday 3 June from 10:00 to 14:00.

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