Exploring a national gallery: my slight obsession with fine arts.

The title of this post describes to the tee how I feel when I walk into a museum or an art gallery. When I am surrounded by works of art I get a deep sense of time spent and of creative logic that went on in the artist head to create each piece. I feel happy in that space. It inspires me and reminds me of the wonderful things creative thoughts can produce. How one person can conceptualize an image in their mind and then transmute it clearly to a canvas baffles me. I love the words that images can speak, words that no one might have dared to utter. I always get the feeling that ‘anything goes’ in art. No one can dictate what the creative juices will produce. In each art collection I see, I search for the emotion that the artist tries to convey and feel the emotion that collection brings to me.

As Pablo Picasso put it -“We all know that art is not the truth,art is a lie that makes us realize the truth.”

I explored downtown Cape Town recently. I attended an outdoor festival at ‘The Company’s Garden’.As part of the festival offering, attendees got free entry to the South African National Gallery. This premier art museum houses outstanding collections of South African, African, British, French, Dutch and Flemish art. So naturally I detoured to the gallery en-route to the festival groudns.My friend and I spent more time in the gallery than the actual festival!

South African National Gallery

The main exhibition was by George Hallet – A Nomad’s Harvest.It is a photographic retrospective representative of very diverse people .The photographs were augmented by a comprehensive display of biographical information, as well as, book and record covers designed by Hallett. He has been quoted as saying ‘his intention is to always photograph the beautiful things in life,’and this is very clear in the work he produces.

A Nomad's Harvest

My favorite piece at the gallery was painted by Victor Vasarely in 1965. He was a French/Hungarian man who lived from 1906 to 1997. The acrylic on canvas is called ‘Vega-Fel’. Due to a ‘no photography policy’ at the gallery I couldn’t take a picture but his work is amazing! His painting looked like a 3D graphics designed image. But it certainly was not compute designed and I don’t think that the 3D effect had even come to being in 1965 (I stand to be corrected). I didn’t know about him when I saw his work and so I read up on him that evening.
It turns out, Victor Vasarely focused on working with the elements of geometric abstraction. He used optical illusions, he brought colors together so that they appeared to vibrate, meanwhile developing a technique that made parts of his geometric images seem to bulge forward from their surface ground.You would have to see it to understand how intriguing his work is! Truly genius!

There were many interesting collections at the gallery including the permanent exhibition – Objects in the Tide of Time. There was also a digital collection whose concept I didn’t fully grasp. Such is the aim of art anyway, to present itself in an abstract form and leave the interpretation to the those who behold it.
I will definitely go around there again, it was worth it!


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This entry was posted on March 29, 2014 by in Random Musings.
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