Art: Park And Recreation, Or Why Leaving Art Outside Is A Good Idea

May 16, 2014



Getting punters into galleries can be a bit of a challenge. Sometimes the catalogue is narrated in intellectualese; sometimes the artists involved are wilfully obscure; and sometimes the location of the gallery or its accessibility (it’s in a run-down part of town, or the only available parking is six blocks away and underground).

In this and other areas, events like the Winter Sculpture Fair, held annually at the Nirox Sculpture Park in Kromdraai, are very useful. The Sculpture Park is a sprawling, tailored landscape; the sort of thing that in England is tied to Inigo Jones and a crumbling stately home.

Like those locations, it’s a great spot to take a picnic to; to lounge around in the shade with a bottle or three of wine and to, as the mood takes you, wander over to the portion of the sculpture collection (over 100 pieces by 50 artists this year) within your range of vision and to peruse them at your leisure, without feeling under any sort of pressure to “get” the thinking behind any of the work.

All pictures by Bruce Dennill.

All pictures by Bruce Dennill.


Food plays a big role in the Winter Sculpture Fair, with the Gourmet Theatre providing the five-star fuel for a ramble around the grounds.


This was a smoked tomato risotto. Personally, I find it difficult to light the tomato in the first place…


The blurb for this installation read: “If these images look blurry to you, please hand in your car keys and sleep off lunch for a couple of hours.” Possibly.


Exhibition curator Mary-Jane Darroll gave a guided tour of some of the works, always standing in such a position that ensure the light fell more prominently on her hat than on those of her guests.


DIY-shy husbands take note: Angus Young’s work proves that the crumbling infrastructure of your home is, in fact, art.


 Many of the artworks rely on their context for impact. Outside of this setting, for instance, this piece could conceivably be known as Giant Misshapen Shopping Bags.