South African sculpture takes centre stage at Aspire Art’s Spring 19 Auction

By MapMyWay
16 August 2019

Willy Bester, Aspire Art
Aspire Art SPRING 19 Auction - Cape Town - 1 September 2019

Sculpture is a prominent and powerful medium in South African art. The Aspire SPRING 19 Auction in Cape Town on 1 September, offers an impressive collection of exceptional modern and contemporary examples, including a large-scale museum-quality work by Willie Bester, and a rare opportunity for collectors to acquire a sculpture series by William Kentridge, as the artist’s authoritative sculpture retrospective takes place at Norval Foundation at the same time. (See News Blog)

William Kentridge, Aspire Art

William Kentridge, Set of 5 Polychrome Heads

Sculpture makes up the second largest segment in the global art market, accounting for an astonishing USD626.3 million in auction sales in the second quarter of this year alone (MutualArt). Over the past two decades, sculpture – as a progressive collecting category – has gained widespread popularity, with current prices up 36.5% compared to those of 2013 when last measured (Citadel).

Sculpture and Aspire Art

Since Aspire’s inception in late 2016, the company has handled approximately 145 sculptural works, generating a total value of R33.5 million for this category to date. In 2018, Aspire sold Fire Walker by William Kentridge and Gerhard Marx for over R3.9 million – the current South African auction record for a sculpture by these artists. Other local records include Willem Boshoff (Clast Mar, sold for R682 080 in 2018) and David Brown (Engine Driver, sold for R273 120 in 2018). Aspire has also successfully sold works by Wim Botha, Ezrom Legae, Lucas Sithole and Anton van Wouw.

World auction records set by Aspire include: Angus Taylor (Sit en Staan, sold for over R2.9 million in 2018), Sydney Kumalo (Mythological Rider, sold for over R1.9 million in 2017), Edoardo Villa (Vertical Composition, sold for R1.8 million in 2017) and Deborah Bell (Sentinel VI, sold for R909 440 in 2017).

Notably, five of the top six prices reached worldwide for works by Edoardo Villa have been achieved by Aspire, making the company the main auctioneer of the artist’s work globally. Additionally, the majority of Aspire’s top sculptures sold set significant new records, demonstrating its position as the leader in the South African sculpture market.

Demand for sculpture continues to grow, not only due to its investment potential, but also because of the current mainstream concern for the medium. Reputable institutions, fairs and exhibitions are deliberately working on molding their focus around sculpture by increasing their contributions in showcasing sculptural works.

Aspire proudly presents another unique offering of South African modern and contemporary sculpture in its upcoming Spring Auction at the Avenue in the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town on 1 September. The collection offers intriguing insights into the range of approaches, materials and concepts brought to bear on the medium by South African sculptors.

WHAT & WHERE: The collection of sculptures will be on display with all 105 lots for public view during Aspire’s SPRING 19 Auction Week Public Preview at The Avenue, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town 8001.

WHEN: Auction on 1 September.  Previewing days:
Friday 30 August to Sunday 1 September | 10 am to 5 pm

LEAD PHOTO: Willie Bester, Poverty Driven, 2002, photo by Valentina Nicol | Estimate: R500 000 – 800 00

Poverty Driven is an impressive large-scale sculptural assemblage of various components and mixed media constructed by Bester in 2002. The work was first exhibited in Cape Town in 2005 and then formed part of Bester’s solo exhibitions at the Montagu Museum in 2007 and the Iziko South African National Gallery in 2008. It was recently on view at Zeitz MOCAA in Cape Town as part of the exhibition Still Here Tomorrow to High Five You Yesterday…, curated by Azu Ngwagbogu. This “machine of history” suggests a number of socio-political narratives. Professor Sandra Klopper describes the sculpture as a “radically modified bulldozer” signifying the “important metaphors of social and political change” and “alluding to the ideas of both demolition and reconstruction”. Poverty Driven is a significantpiece emblematic of the work Bester made in the years immediately succeeding his career boom in the late 1980s. This important consignment follows Aspire’s record breaking sale of Bester’s Bench for Mr Semikaze for just over R250 000 in November 2017.

See full article in Business Art