Writing Art History Since 2002

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Art South Africa in conversation with Andre van Vuuren, exhibiting with The Lovell Gallery at the Cape Town Art Fair (25 – 27 Oct)

1) Art South Africa: Your paintings seem to effortlessly combine elements of figuration with abstraction; how do you see these two elements working together?
Andre van Vuuren: To be able to paint pure abstract one would have to grow up and educate oneself in a vacuum where there is no frame of reference and no pre-conceptions.
I find my subjects in all that is around me and everything that I am influenced by, be it landscape, physical figuration, or that which exists in my own thoughts. Therefore to create within the combination of two or more elements is natural to me.
2) ASA:Can you give us an insight into your process as an artist?
AvV: Before I start a painting, I first identify my emotional state of mind. My first marks then become my road map,changing course as I move along through the creative passages my mind takes. I may start out with a particular colour, which, as the painting grows might disappear only to re-appear at some other place in the work, or even turn up in another work.
I paint purely intuitively. If I paint a landscape, I sometimes make a sketch ,But generally, the only information that I take to the studio,are the feelings and emotional response to what I have seen.The most important element that a work of art must contain is emotion. Art is after all the creation of an emotional animal to be used for decoration of his environment.
3) ASA: Who are your strongest artistic influences?
AvV: There are hundreds of influences. There is all of nature, humanity in all it’s ugliness and in all it’s beauty, there is the enormous body of man’s creation.
If I were to single out one particular artist, it would have to be Picasso. From my first interest in art and painting at a very early age, to his death in 1972,I was privileged to have been witness to the work of arguably the greatest artist of the 20th century.
4) ASA: What was the concept behind your solo show, ‘Walking Man’? How does it fit in with your other bodies of work?
AvV: 20 Years ago I painted my first “Walking Man” which is essentially my own journey or walk along my artistic path. Another theme that I often re-visit is  “Fallen Man,“ both of which are emotional self portraits.
5) ASA: ‘Walking Man’ at the Lovell Gallery ends on the weekend of the Cape Town Art Fair; will you be showing some of those works at the Fair or are there other works are you intending to show?  
AvV: Maybe, maybe not. I haven’t decided yet.

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