Review: Investec Art Fair


First of all, it wasn’t a fair. It was a paid-entry mixed fine art exhibition. Surprisingly little bullshit. Noticeably unpolitical. Good crowd! Leave it to a private investment bank to do the right thing! Amirite?! Haha.

Venue: CTICC

Date: 15 - 17 February 2019

Walk-through time: ±90 minutes


Good things:

  • If Standard Bank sponsored this event, everything would’ve been covered in shades of azure with images of mixed-race families laughing together. This was in fact not the case. Well done Investec for keeping a low profile!

  • The lack of political statements and shock-pieces were refreshing.

  • It was great to see the variety of commercially viable pieces on display, opposed to installations or dadaist garbage that suddenly becomes art if its on a gallery floor. (cough cough ZEITZ MOCAA cough cough)

  • I imagine a lot of time was spent on finding artists with the right amount of talent, fame and being completely unknown. If William Kentridge for instance had one of his charcoal steam-punk guilt-montages on display, I probably wouldn’t have gone in the first place.

Bad things:

I know beauty is entirely in the eye of the beholder, but this exhibition just reaffirmed my belief in Stuckism, which stresses the value of painting as a medium, its use for communication and the expression of emotion and experience – as opposed to the superficial novelty, nihilism and irony of conceptual art and postmodernism. I was once again surprised to see what crimes you can get away with if you just spend money on a decent frame.

  • The layout was confusing and maze-like. I often caught myself wondering in the wrong direction and missing parts of the show.

  • Too much: visual overload: We managed to do the entire show in 90mins and I think an exhibition for 60mins would’ve left me feeling less overwhelmed.

  • Weird grouping. Grouping artists according to style, concept, medium would’ve given the entire walk-through a sense of progress. There was no order and no structure and it contributed to me feeling overwhelmed.


Top Trends:

  • Kiaat box frames are all the rage (still.)

  • Perhaps the curator’s preference, but the colour palette was quite muted and millennial pink was everywhere!

  • Everything was huge! Bigger = better!

  • Visually interesting textures also proved quite popular. (Can’t help but imagine how much dust they’ll accumulate over time!)

  • Computer generated or ‘assisted’ art seems to be growing. i.e. graphics are generated on computers and then replicated on canvas like the teal die or painted nails below.

Overall comment

The show exhibited more than enough talent in all disciplines, but throughout the entire time I kept thinking the same thing: you don’t have to have been there to know that genuine craftsmanship is dying globally. Whether it’s the art of Japanese sword making, Venetian silk weaving, calligraphy etc. Same goes for making fine art.

I keep having to refer back to Stuckism: 99% of the pieces appear to have favoured conceptualism, irony and postmodernism to disguise the fact that no one can paint or draw accurately anymore.

These were some of my favourite pieces: