|Solo Studios – Intimate Art Encounters 2023|
Where: Riebeek Valley
Date: August 18 to 20, 2023
Passes: Variety of options of passes, from a Day Pass at R150 to a Premier Weekend Pass at R395. Peripheral activities may incur a surcharge
Ticket sales and information: Visit www.solostudios.co.za or contact Shawn on 082 528 6785.
I attended the media preview for the 2023 edition of Solo Studios – Intimate Art Encounters, taking place in the Riebeek Valley on the weekend of August 18 to 20. Yes, it is soon and tickets are limited so go online and book while there is availability. The first prize is stay over for the weekend. There highly rated guest houses in the valley and the heritage Royal Hotel is beautiful – try and nab one of its glorious suites – with epic views.
Founder and director Klaus Piprek, regaled us with the history of Solo Studios and how it has grown from a small event – opening up the studios of artists – to the public – and inviting visitors in – to an ”intimate encounter”. Piprek shared the podium with Shawn Hewitt of Riebeek Valley Tours who is the project manager for Solo Studios 2023 and has been on board to work on expanding Solo Studios as a culturally diverse weekend of visual art, film, conversations (Thought Talks), performance, music, food, wine and exciting community development initiatives.
From the inception of Solo Studios, the organisers have been keen to foster and nurture partnerships and collaborations. For instance, for 2023, some of the participating artists residing and working in the valley, have invited artists from outside – ie not residing in the Valley- to participate at Solo Studios. There are seventeen artists from the valley who are opening their studios to the public over the Solo Studios 2023 weekend. Eight of the artists have invited artists from beyond the valley to co-exhibit and share their personal spaces. There will be seven group exhibitions at galleries and venues, including two private art collections in guest houses- 1 Royal Street Guest House (owners’ private art collection and Die Kunshuis with RK Contemporary Gallery
We visited the studio of Ade Kipades in Riebeek West. For Solo Studios, he has invited ceramist, Hennie Meyer to exhibit his works. Kipades’ studio is also his home, as he told us. He spruces it up once a year for Solo Studios. Kipades gave us wonderful insight into his art – contemporary cubist approach and the work of Meyer. He spoke about their affinity in terms of image making and the creative process. Kipades spoke about Meyer’s cats (ceramics) and how one side is smooth and the other side is full of squiggles and has a cubist vibe. If you are at Solo Studios, make sure to visit Ades Kipades and Hennie Meyer. Works by Kipades are in the collection of the owners of 1 Royal Street Guest House (opposite The Royal Hotel). Make sure to visit 1 Royal Street Guest House and see the amazing collection.
Also on our route, during our media preview, was a visit to the studio of artist Tamlin Blake. She has partnered with the Keiskamma Art Project for Solo Studios and in her talk, she spoke about her work and new directions (in her paintings) and the work of the seminal Keiskamma Art Project. Blake is the chief curator of the Spier Arts Trust and an acclaimed artist in her own right. It was incredible to see her support for the Keiskamma Art Project and the way she has opened up her studio to bring the project into her space. Make sure not to miss Tamlin Blake and the Keiskamma Art Project at Solo Studios 2023.
Film and other events
In addition to visits to studios and walkabouts in studios in the valley, galleries will be showing work from a diverse group of artists – Riebeek Valley artists and artists from beyond the valley. There is a film showcase- seven films of seven minutes each, MONOMANIA – 7 Chambers of Obsession. A wonderful programme of Thought Leadership Talks will be on the go, during the weekend. There will be screening of Blind Ambition (documentary – Tribeca Official Selection) which tells the inspirational story of wine sommelier Joseph Dhafana and his participation as captain of the Zimbabwean wine tasting team at the world blind tasting championships in France. He was an economic refugee from Zimbabwe and worked as a waiter in Riebeek Kasteel and that led to his career as a sommelier. In conjunction with the screening of the film at Solo Studios, there will be blind wine tastings.
Bottom line – supporting art and artists
The 2022 edition of Solo Studios – Intimate Art Encounters 2022 was a huge success and broke Solo Studio records- 183 art pieces were sold, valued at R2.5 million. Read on for more about the programme. Info as supplied:
Participating artists at Solo Studios Intimate Art Encounters 2023 with their respective collaborators
- Ade Kipades with Hennie Meyer
- Andre Francois van Vuuren
- Andries Dirks with Arno Morland
- Antoinette von Saurma
- Brett Shuman with Linda Waterkeyn
- Dieter Wust
- Emma Willemse
- Gordon Williams with Paul Kristafor
- Kevan Moses with Shui-Lyn White
- Lizette Visser with Ros Koch
- Louis Nel
- Misha Hillier with Hannelie Strydom
- Riaan van Zyl
- Sharon Bischoff
- Solly Smook
- Tamlin Blake with Keiskamma Art Project
- Wiehan de Jager with Clayton Sutherland
The following Galleries will be exhibiting various artists
Pictorex – “Printed at Pictorex” featuring
Spier Arts Trust/The Creative Block
Q Studio – Impendulo
Hentie van der Merwe
Candice Dawn Blignaut
Gallery 7 on Plein
Various non-professional and emerging local artists
Signature works of most participating artists
Royal Street Guest House
Viewing of guest house owners’ private art collection
Die Kunshuis with RK Contemporary Gallery
For the event this year some exciting and relevant peripheral activities have been included to enhance the weekend art experience.
Solo Symphony Concert
The event will reach a crescendo on Sunday afternoon 20 August, with the performance of the Solo Symphony Concert by the Winelands Philharmonic Orchestra and featuring a collaboration with the local Riebeek Valley Steelband. Expect original compositions to form part of this collaboration!
World Film Premiere
MONOMANIA – 7 Chambers of Obsession
One of the reasons for the continued success of Solo Studios, is an element of voyeurism. Rather than purchasing a work of art from a gallery or even online, Solo Studios offers the opportunity for the art lover to enter into the personal realm of the artist, in many cases within the confines of their home studios. It is here that the buyer gets to meet the artist, and gets to understand their processes and inspirations.
For this year’s edition, co-founder Klaus Piprek pushes the envelope a little further, by extending an invitation to the creative community of Riebeek Valley to participate in a collaborative film production project, and challenging the artists to expose a single element which inspires them, in a production titled MONOMANIA.
MONOMANIA is defined as possessing an exaggerated or obsessive enthusiasm for or preoccupation with a one topic. 7 artists, art fundis and poets participated in the project, all becoming amateur film makers in the process and exposing their inner obsessions. The result is an eclectic compilation covering topics from womanhood, sexuality and erotica; to poverty, mental illness and depression; to motion, artificial intelligence and literature. The 7 short films are woven into a collaborative production of 1 hour, making its world premiere at Solo Studios 2023.
In Plot’s Possession, Cristina Kirstein unveils the lighter depths of obsession; where we possess stories, and stories possess us.
Art fundi Tamzin Lovell tells a story of art and technology from the past into the future, through a combination of poetry and AI-generated art video, in Pixels and Poetry – A Journey into Art Technology.
On the other end of the film spectrum, Riaan van Zyl pays tribute to the traditional film making process in Eulogy to Motion. Van Zyl captures motion in his paintings, often depicting freeze frame-like imagery in his subject.
In My Beautiful Brein, the narrative of poet Donker Jonker provides a stark, disturbing view of disturbance of the mind.
TONG: Die Gekleurde Vrou is a collaborative production by The House of the Second Shadow, and explores “Womenhood, Sexuality and Poverty of Coloured Woman in B&W kaleidoscope and deconstructed video”.
For her 53rd birthday, Lean Bakker invited her friends to do this work with her. The gentle caresses of 26 hands activate the flow of Kundalini, life-force energy in her body. Sensation is about the movement of life-force.
Underwater photographer John Vowles practices his art below the surface. In Subaqueous we follow John as he submerges us into his realm.
Thought Leadership Talks
A recurring highlight of Solo Studios has been the inspiring talks by leaders in their respective fields. The 2023 edition promises to add to that legacy.
Tamzin Lovell is the founder and CEO of Artfundi, a software platform that empowers art businesses through technology. Tamzin presents two talks, namely Art and Technology: Transforming Cultural Life and the Future of Artists, and The Living Legacy of Uche Okeke: Bridging Past and Present in Artistic Expression.
Dr. Nicky Terblanche, an academic, researcher, and entrepreneur, holds a Ph.D. in Leadership Coaching and a Master’s in electronic and software engineering. As a Senior Lecturer at Stellenbosch Business School, his expertise lies in AI Coaching. He founded CoachVici.com, an organization creating AI Coaches, and leads research at Ovida.org. With 30+ published research articles and book chapters, he frequently speaks at international conferences on AI’s history, developments, ethics, and relevance to the art world. Nicky presents a talk on Artificial intelligence (AI) – what’s all the fuss about?
These talks promise to inspire and inform art lovers and professionals alike.
Blind wine tasting and film
The inspiring rise of Wine Sommelier Joseph Dhafana is well known, and his participation as captain of the Zimbabwean wine tasting team at the world blind tasting championships has recently been captured in the film Blind Ambition.
Joseph started his unlikely journey in Riebeek Kasteel, where, as an economic refugee from Zimbabwe, he got his first job as a gardener before being promoted to barman. Today, Joseph produces his own range of wines, and his meteoric rise to one of the most recognisable young figures in the wine industry is nothing short of remarkable.
Joseph returns to his roots in Riebeek Kasteel for Solo Studios 2023, where he will host two screenings of Blind Ambition, where after he will engage with the audience and give them some insight into blind wine tasting of some of his wines.
Georick fon Velt, known as The Mirrorsister, embraces small towns and the unconventional. With a diverse background in hospitality, writing, marketing, and performance art, she now heads “The House of the Second Shadow.” Engaged with The FOR LIFE Centre and local arts, she presents a thought-provoking one-person theatre performance called“Sosiaal – Who am I in relation to you? Is it better to speak or to die?”
The Nights of the Long Tables
Another activity which has become a favourite at Solo Studios is an opportunity to be invited to long tables presented by some of the valley’s finest hosts and chefs. The 2023 edition includes offerings by Aardvark Eats, Kokos Huis with Intellego Wines, The Valley Deli with Allesverloren Wines, Olive and Vine, The Royal Hotel & Chef Giuseppe with Arbeidsgenot Wines.
Due to previous popular demand, some Long Tables will be hosted on both Friday 18th and Saturday 19th August.
The official programme of exhibitions and events for Solo Studios 2023 closes on the afternoon of Sunday, August 20. Join the locals – artists, musicians, staff and other residents – for an after party at La Parrilla.
✳ Featured image – Tamlin Blake who is opening up her studio in Riebeek Kasteel, for Solo Studios – Intimate Art Encounters, taking place in the Riebeek Valley on the weekend of August 18 to 20, 2023. She is partnering with the Keiskamma Art Project and sharing her studio with project, during Solo Studios. Image © TheCapeRobyn/Robyn Cohen, August, 2023.