Spier Outdoor Sculpture Biennial – Unexpected Pleasures, Spier Estate, Stellenbosch. Curated by Public Eye.
Power figures, as Bruce Arnott explains, may be found in Western Shamanistic sculptures as well as in African animistic and totemic traditions, which in their turn were adapted by artists such as Picasso and Gonzalez. The hieratic figure in One Man Band, carrying a range of instruments of both Western and African origin, alludes to the priestly function of the musician, which may include the power to raise consciousness and shift perceptions. Placed on the significant axis between the entrance gate and the slave bell, it acknowledges Spier’s role in promoting the performing arts, a progressive undertaking which encourages critical interaction between Western and African as well as classical and contemporary art forms, and in the process builds wider audience appreciation. In the guise of a “friendly power figure” it presents a serious and humourous challenge to what Grasskamp calls the “basso continuo of figurative kitsch” usually associated with public sculpture and especially sculpture in parks or gardens.
EMMA BEDFORD – “Common ground: the case for public sculpture “