Spier Architectural Arts

Sightlines at the 2013 FNB Joburg Art Fair

Spier Architectural Arts is featured in the central atrium of this year's FNB Joburg Art Fair, 27 – 29 September 2013.

The exhibition 'Sightlines' includes Vertical Aerial, Johannesburg – a sculptural mosaic artwork by Gerhard Marx, Construction Workers – a handmade ceramic relief panel by Sam Nhlengethwa and Construct – a wearable art installation designed by the studio.


Vertical Aerial, Johannesburg (2013)

Contemporary style freestanding mosaic artwork, indirect method.
3.2 x 5.6m

For his work Vertical Aerial, Johannesburg, a freestanding sculpture composed of 56 mosaic panels mounted onto a rectangular steel frame with a compound angle, Gerhard Marx has worked with a continuous aerial view of Johannesburg's historical city centre.

"An aerial view is both a photograph and a map," explains Marx. “As a photograph it functions in a sort of scientific objectified manner. It is literally an 'overview'. As a map, the aerial view interests me because of the manner in which one 'reads' a map – particularly a map without text, which is what the aerial view arguably is."

Each mosaic panel measures 800 x 800mm, suggestive of a grid reference found on maps. The artwork was fabricated in the indirect method in Spier Architectural Arts's Cape Town studio: seven professional mosaic artists from Italy and South Africa, (three of them former Spier Arts Academy graduates) together with nine apprentices, applied the tesserae facedown to a backing paper before they were transferred. Mosaic panels are placed on both sides of the artwork, reading as a continuous built surface.

The project took 5 months to complete. The individual tesserae include natural stone such as marble and travertine, fragments of red brick, ceramic elements and chippings of Venetian smalti glass.


Construction Workers (2013)

Ceramic Relief with contemporary style mosaic elements in the direct method
Triptych, 2060 x 1650mm; 2060 x 1945mm; 2060 x 1275mm

A widely exhibited painter and printmaker, Sam Nhlengethwa's Construction Workers (2013) is a vertically displayed ceramic relief panel made in collaboration with six ceramic artists who worked for two months on the project. The work is composed of irregular ceramic elements; some are individually hand painted, others have been overlaid with UV resistant photographic transfers.

The origin of the relief is a mixed-media collage that incorporates found and original photographs of uniformed construction workers and pedestrians set against a composite cityscape of Johannesburg, also mostly derived from photographs. Nhlengethwa's cityscape is both imagined and real, an impression and a document (of Braamfontein and Hillbrow, Troye and Commissioner Streets).



9kt Brushed Rose Gold with contemporary style micro-mosaic inlay created with precious (diamonds and black diamonds) and natural stone, ceramic elements and Venetian glass; direct method.

The scope of work produced by SAA is vast and ranges from monumental public works down to the most intricate pieces of micro mosaic jewellery. The wearable art pieces on included in 'Sightlines' have conceived by Liani van der Westhuizen and crafted by Idané Burger (metalwork) with micro-mosaic by Miranda Vinjwa and Zoleka Xekethwana from Spier Architectural Arts.


Spier Architectural Arts Video


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