Bruce Murray Arnott: Into the Megatext at the Villa-Legodi Centre for Sculpture, Nirox Foundation Sculpture Park

Exhibition: 22 April to 26 June 2023

Bruce Murray Arnott: Into the Megatext opened on 22 April 2023. It provided the first comprehensive overview of Arnott’s life and work. His influence as an artist, scholar, designer, curator, and educator runs deep; intuited through the work of many of South Africa’s leading contemporary scholars and practitioners in the visual arts. Through an intrinsic understanding of the human condition, and the balancing of the intellect with creative endeavour, Arnott bridges continents, space, and time. This is reflected in the monumental scope of references embedded in his work, and in his view that ‘All sculptures are “points of entry” into the great sculptural megatext.’ Similarly inspired by history, mythology, psychology, philosophy, education, ecology, and sustainable design, the exhibition served as one such point of entry. It included over sixty sculptures and drawings, produced over a fifty-six year period, between 1962 and 2018, as well as an array of archival documents related to his practice, in particular his large public commissions. The opening was supported by Iona Wine Farm.

Book Launch: 28 May 2023

“There is a major global, primarily Western, interest in our African Modernist artists, of which Bruce Arnott is a great example. People who are on the verge of being neglected and erased from our history are being brought back into not national history, but global history. I find this very very exciting. The timing of this book is perfect.”


The exhibition grew out of the book with the same title, Bruce Murray Arnott: Into the Megatext which was launched at the Villa-Legodi Centre for Sculpture while the exhibition was on. The audience were engaged in an interesting and insightful conversation about Arnott and his creative work by Ashraf Jamal and Sven Christian the curator of the Villa-Legodi Centre for Sculpture and co-editor of the book.

“… The exhibition and publication are, after Arnott, attentive to history while remaining firmly rooted in contemporary life. They are not only comprehensive records of Arnott’s career and legacy, they’re also examples of how we can continue to ensure that a record of South African contemporary artists like Arnott exists outside of academic or commercial art spaces.”