Writing Art History Since 2002

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On Thursday, 20 June, the regional judges presided over the Sasol New Signatures feedback session at Sasol Place in Sandton. The judging panel had spent the morning looking at a large number of works and were excited about the notable pieces selected to go through to the exhibition in Pretoria. The foyer was packed with artists who had entered work and who were eager to hear comments from Professor Pieter Binsbergen who is the Chairperson of the judging panel.

Professor Binsbergen thanked his fellow judges for their dedication and commented that everyone was  “dead on their feet” as they had had an intense session of evaluating a large number of works, which had been entered at this Gauteng collection point. He went on to say that the judging brief was to seek out work of the highest standard. Cutting edge pieces which would hold their own at any international salon or pavilion. The judges were 100% focussed on selecting stand-out work with strong conceptual underpinning and exceptional skill.

Professor Binsbergen reminded the audience that artists are essentially contemporary visual communicators and that understanding the Sasol New Signatures platform was important. This competition is about ground-breaking work by emerging artists who have a strong voice; in addition to technical ability. Makgati Molebatsi, who was one of the regional judges commented that entries “were very diverse. There were some very good entries which have pushed the envelope to move visual art to the next level”.

Binsbergen addressed the technical requirements for entry, and in particular presentation of works. He reminded entrants that the Sasol New Signatures website is a dynamic source of information where entrants can review entry requisites, past catalogues as well as blogs and articles designed to educate and assist entrants.

Presentation and finish of work are critical. Framing is not required as dowel rods and bull-dog clips were perfectly sufficient. Work presented with dents and chips and other defects was not acceptable as Sasol New Signatures is a prestigious art competition and entries must be “hang-ready.” Molebatsi added: “This is a professional competition. Artists are professionals. The presentation must be professional.”

The afternoon ended with Binsbergen thanking Sasol for its contribution to the nation’s visual literacy growth and development by way of Sasol New Signatures. The Chairman now travels to the rest of regional centres to work through entries with the regional judging panels.  Stuttaford van Lines will transport all regionally selected work to the Pretoria Art Museum where it will be curated into the final exhibition for 2019.  Final judging will take place in July and the winners will be announced on Wednesday, 20 August.

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