francois van reenen

suzelle has been working on her mini monologue most of this year for her michaelis degree (she’s majoring in sculpture). all she ever talks about is francois van reenen, her interviews with him, and how much work must still be done on it. And since it has become her  regular excuse for why she can’t make it out with me in the evenings, i figured i should go check him out. better yet, go to a vibey launch of his new exhibition, meet the oke, with the girl at NIGHT TIME nogal 🙂

so we arrived at this quaint little exhibition space,  the Muti Gallery in Gardens, for what was apparently only his 7th solo exhibition, Tee Hee.

inside we saw a selection of new sculptures, prints, paintings, and animation. one particularly striking piece was a sculpted installation that he’d hooked up to a motion detector, ‘Very Bored Girl’, where grass waves under ice-cream-licking school girl as you saunter by. the grass, he explained to us in very broken english (the man is from george, and studied in grahamstown), how he’d painstakingly molded each individual blade of grass from silicone. the wave-like effect when you stride by is really quite eerie. i was overjoyed to see the little 130mm high black dog sculpture which i’ve always LOVED at this exhibition, aptly named ‘Dog Boy’, having seen it at a What If The World exhibition some two years ago (but not made the connection to him at the time) ..you’ll notice in a lot of  his prints there is a strong reference to a boston terrier, which is actually his own ‘plaas hond’ from home.

francois is really the most humble guy, not pretentious in the slightest, he’s just human.  he’s honest about his frustrations of getting his sculptures right, how he ‘could’ve made it better, but ran out of time so this will have to do’, and is the type of guy you could end up sitting next to at a random bar and have a long, life-altering conversation with quite comfortably. your regular Oom Schalk.

definitely worth a pop in. and be sure to check out the cute, unassuming courtyard out back!

below an excerpt from the pamphlet i got that night:  (admit, a little rusty on the art jargon! )

‘A pioneer of Flash animation film-making in the 90’s and an accomplished sculptor, van Reenen extract’s sentimentality and nostalgia from his 50’s based toy and comic collection, transferring dilemmas of taste and emotion onto his prints and sculptures. The artist’s dry sense of humour and self conscious ironical take on the world combined with autobiographical references form the basis of his conceptual and aesthetic approach.’

Tee Hee opened 11th June, and runs til 31st July at the Muti Gallery:

No 3 Vredehoek Avenue,  Gardens, Cape.021 461 2329.

Opening hours: Tuesday-Friday 10.00am – 16.00pm

Sat 10.00 – 13.00pm.

** interesting fact: have you ever driven by the saatchi building in town and wondered who did that big colourful mural on the facade? francois’d be your man.

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