Buying art at the fair?

Thing of Beauty, Uncles and Angels. (Supplied)

Thing of Beauty, Uncles and Angels. (Supplied)

 

If you want to buy art by new names in the lower price bracket, what and who should you look for?

Andile Magengelele, curator and advisor to the department of arts and culture on visual art
I would look at where the artist got the training, who are his or her peers and what they think of the work. Has the work been critiqued or reviewed outside of the institution? The subject matter is also important and one should look for contemporaneity in the work. It must touch you. At the moment I admire this year's Gerard Sekoto award-winner at the Absa L'Atelier awards, Mongezi Ncaphayi, and the young photographers from Soweto who operate in the collective I See a Different You. 

Thato Mogotsi, independent curator
I look at artists who are experimenting with new and nontraditional mediums: video art, performance and digital installation. With a limited budget I would begin to pursue video art because I think it needs to be championed in this part of the world. The whole notion of Africa being outside [when it comes to] the digital divide is increasingly becoming a myth. The younger generation are being very bold in terms of their pursuit of video art. My top two now are Simon Gush and Bogosi Sekhukhuni. 

Russell Kaplan, auctioneer
I look for what speaks to me, what I like and what I can live with. At entry level you don't spend a large amount so you don't have the risk of losing too much money. If I was spending R50 000 I would blow it all on one work, probably, on one good work. I'd look at an artist with a smaller gallery like Karlien de Villiers at Smac and Luiza Cachalia was fantastic at last year's art fair, something really fresh.

Amichai Tahor, partner in Lightfarm digital reproduction studio
I would look for younger, crossover digital artists. And if I am looking for financial gain I would look at any post-digital artists, people who use digital technology and who use computer-generated imagery. The main reason is that the market is saturated with primary artworks and there is already an existing game plan where pieces with an artist's signature fall into a particular price bracket. Things are either far too cheap or far too expensive. For more conservative work I would look at photographer Leon Krige. Then Givan Lotz makes beautiful work, and the younger artists like Tanisha Bhana, Brett Rubin and Frederick Clarke.

Matthew Krouse

Matthew Krouse

Matthew Krouse is the arts editor of the Mail & Guardian, a position he has held since 1999. He has edited two anthologies: Positions (Steidl, Jacana Media 2010) about artists engaging with politics in South Africa today, and The Invisible Ghetto (GMP, 1994) a compilation of creative writing about gender. His essays have appeared in collected works about arts and culture here and abroad. He has worked in the theatre for over a decade as an actor, writer and senior publicist at the Market Theatre. Read more from Matthew Krouse

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