Investec Cape Town Art Fair 2024 | Unbound
The eleventh edition of Investec Cape Town Art Fair, Africa’s largest art fair, takes place from 16 – 18 February 2024 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.
The curatorial theme for the 2024 edition is Unbound focusing on emerging and ‘unbound’ voices. Art becomes a compelling catalyst amid global challenges. It offers individuals a platform for expression, a space where diverse voices can be heard. Unbound serves as a conduit for exploring alternative possibilities and breaking free from constrictive narratives.
This edition of Investec Cape Town Art Fair sees the city of Cape Town play a far more significant role in foregrounding the Art Fair’s activities and artists for its local and international audience of collectors and institutions. As Fair director Laura Vincenti puts it, “The city’s geography is an integral part of Investec Cape Town Art Fair’s success. Cape Town is a vibrant cultural hub, with a supportive community. It is very attractive to international collectors, with the great combination of diverse, cutting-edge art and a favourable exchange rate. This year the Fair continues its work of providing an annual platform for artists, galleries, curators, museums, cultural institutions, collectors, and art enthusiasts to connect and interact in the name of art. The Fair is also becoming known for facilitating meaningful dialogue, education and far-reaching interaction around contemporary African (and global) art.”
Growing a contemporary art ecosystem on the continent
Having celebrated its first decade this year, Investec Cape Town Art Fair is now well established as one of Cape Town’s key international attractions. The Fair is strategically positioned as the leading art event on the African continent, connecting contemporary art from Africa to the markets in Europe, the US, and the rest of the world. This means that the Fair offers a unique platform for emerging contemporary galleries, artists and ideas from markets outside of the traditional centres of art power and those from the African continent, to interact on an equal footing. With significant and growing international participation, the Fair is an important forum for setting curatorial and collecting trends to understand the African art market’s direction and growth.
The 2024 edition of Investec Cape Town Art Fair will again bring together Africa’s leading galleries as well as cutting-edge galleries from Europe and the USA, offering an unparalleled opportunity to view and acquire high-quality, contemporary artworks. Visitors to the Fair can expect an extensive public programme both at the Fair as well as in and around the City of Cape Town.
Architectural and conceptual design for the Fair layout
The physical layout of the Fair takes advantage of Fair Director’s Laura Vincenti’s experience and expertise as an architect. It is laid out in blocks related to the curatorial concepts and thematics of the Fair and the artists being showcased, rather than in the more conventional rows of exhibiting booths. Each curated section that is of interest to visitors will therefore be in the same space for ease of access.
Extending the Fair’s reach into the city
Watch out too for Investec Cape Town Art Fair-related programming from all the leading Cape Town-based galleries, museums and institutions, who will open thought-provoking shows and host engaging programmes throughout the city over the period of the Fair. Among other events, there will be a major public art and urban intervention in the scenic inner-city area of the Bo-Kaap, as the city truly becomes one of the most attractive and interesting art destinations anywhere in the world.
- The MAIN section comprises exhibiting galleries from around the world, many from the rest of the African continent. Exhibitor numbers are steadily increasing year-on-year, and international exhibitors are now getting back to pre-pandemic levels.
- Tomorrows/ Today is a curated section that has grown exponentially and expanded to twelve exhibitors. Renowned Spanish curator for this section, Dr. Mariella Franzoni, provides a platform for emerging and underrepresented artists and acts as a forecast of future relevant practices and ideas. The section will feature twelve selected solo show projects, with a cash prize going to the artist with the highest quality presentation. Titled Inhabiting the Wild, the 2024 edition explores and reimagines the concept of wildness through artistic imagination. The concept extends the idea of liberation by seeking to bring together diverse voices through this renewed sense of the wild, inspired by queer, feminist, decolonial and materialist studies, and embracing both overt and subtle forms of political dissidence.
- The SOLO section is curated by Cape Town based writer, critic and curator Sean O’Toole. Titled Loopholes in the Walls of Darkness, it focuses on painting. Notwithstanding astonishing advances in digital art, painting, though a solitary practice, continues to set the pace, in galleries and museums, as well as at market. The ten most expensive artworks sold anywhere in 2022 were all paintings. Figurative painting remains the medium du jour of commerce and a hallmark of the zeitgeist circa now. O’Toole states “But painting has rubbed up against disinterest and neglect so many times, and so is a medium aware of its own obsolescence and mortality. This might account for painting’s elastic form and unravelling edges, its infiltration into adjacent media of sculpture and photography, as well as spill over into performance, film and digital practices’.
- GENERATIONS is the fair’s newest section curated by Natasha Becker from the United States and South African curator Amogelang Maledu, an intergenerational curatorial conversation between the two. The project celebrates artists who are at different stages in their careers and instigates cross-generational conversations among them. The project is intended to foreground artists who address the flaws of the past and reconstruct a future that utilises the talents and creativity of all generations.
- An expanded ALT section returns this year. The section is dedicated to projects that reflect the many ways in which the art world must adapt to circumstance. Young, non-traditional art project spaces can showcase their artists in a non-conventional way through an installation that offers a fresh interpretation of the anti-booth. The section invites dialogue around unconventional, non-traditional modes of practice and thinking and intends to break away from the usual art fair environment, bringing in a diversity of emerging voices.
Contact: Investec Cape Town