Exhibiting for the first time at Sydney Contemporary 2019 we spoke to SALON NINETY ONE Gallery Director Monique Foord about their upcoming exhibition.
The gallery is located in Cape Town, can you elaborate on its location and why you chose to open there?
I was born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa. I had the privilege of studying at the Michaelis School of Fine Art where I majored in sculpture, amongst some of South Africa’s most talented young artists. Upon graduating I felt a calling to help cultivate and promote the work of emerging artists. At the time there was a clear gap in the market for a contemporary art gallery committed to developing the work of young artists. A small well-positioned space in Kloof Street became available. The area was really nice and central, but still in a developmental phase with only a couple of stores and restaurants, a school and a hotel around. Today it is an extremely popular street, filled with pedestrians, locals and foreign visitors alike, creative people, entrepreneurs, furniture, fashion and design stores, coffee shops, concept bars and excellent restaurants to choose from.
What are some career highlights, or exhibition highlights in the gallery to date?
The most satisfying thing has been to watch the gallery, our artists and clients grow together over the years. Some highlights include the gallery’s tenth birthday last year, our inaugural exhibition, our first sell out show, the first art fair in which we participated, our first group exhibition at the Johannesburg Art Fair, and now the opportunity to exhibit at Sydney Contemporary.
What was your first exhibition? And why?
Salon Ninety One opened during October 2008 with a two person show by Paul Senyol and Wesley Van Eeden, titled Under These Skies. Paul is a self-taught abstract artist from Cape Town whose work had in recent years captured my interest and affection. Wesley is from Durban, he had a unique yet quintessentially South African vision and a background in design. An interesting dialogue existed between their works, despite their radically different styles, as both artists’ practice were deeply rooted in street art. I was excited to present an exhibition that incorporated found objects and materials such as painted skateboards, wheelbarrows, pebbles from the beach, vinyl, found wood, mixed media, spray paint, wax crayons, inks, enamels, acrylics, prints you name it, essentially transporting an aesthetic that was usually to be found exclusively in the streets and on the walls of our city into a gallery context. I learnt many valuable lessons from the artists during this first show at our gallery.
Who are you bringing to Sydney Contemporary and why?
An intimate group exhibition featuring three of our most exciting artists. Paul Senyol was the first artist to ever exhibit with our gallery, Kirsten Beets and Kirsten Sims have been showing with us for eight and seven years, respectively. Their work has shown significant growth, with the artists takings risks, refining their techniques and pushing the boundaries of their chosen medium.
Beets works predominantly in oils on board, paper, glass, and linen. Sims paints with a combination of inks, acrylics and gouache on museum board and paper. Senyol employs a combination of spray paints, enamels, acrylics, crayons and markers on a variety of surfaces ranging from linen, canvas, paper, board to found objects and walls. All three artists have recently branched into sculpture within their practice. Beets’ background in 3D rendering, Sims’ formal training as illustrator and Senyol’s formative years as street artist have come to influence their personal visual language, ensuring an interesting conversation between their diverse works within the walls of the booth and the greater context of the fair itself.
Kirsten Beets, Cat Lady (detail), 2018, oil on board, 35.5 x 45.5 cm framed. Courtesy the artist and Salon Ninety One, Victoria.
Kirsten Sims, All Things Considered (detail), 2018, mixed media on board. 120.5 x 89.5 cm framed, Courtesy the artist and Salon Ninety One, Victoria.