Installation view with works by Cian-Yu Bai, Wim Botha, Pieter Hugo, Deborah Poynton and Steven Cohen
STEVENSON is proud to present The Artist List, a group exhibition comprising singular works by each of our represented artists, marking twenty years of the gallery's existence.
Following close to 450 exhibitions, more than 150 publications and almost as many art fairs, this presentation of the works of 36 artists – some of whom have been with the gallery for decades, and others for months – reflects the flux, multiplicity and wonder that characterise the gallery today. As our founder, Michael Stevenson, reflects:
A gallery is both an economic and an imaginative entity, and its existence and success is equally dependent on sustaining these two seemingly disparate aspects. In economic terms, a gallery could be considered a 'manufacturer' – various 'raw materials' are transformed, and value is added by art 'workers' to produce a new commodity – namely art. This is offered for sale by the gallery, and each sale in turn ripples through the art economy and its concentric circles around a gallery – the artists and their studios, the staff, the supporting industries like framers and shipping, and of course the collectors, museums, curators and critics. The multiplier effect of each Rand spent by a collector on an artwork is significant, and many livelihoods are sustained by the representation of 36 artists and 38 staff – maybe more than 1 000 people, if one includes families. This spread of the proceeds of a sale in the art economy, especially a country like ours, ensures a pragmatism over indulgence to maintain the financial viability of the gallery and its extended family. Yet, it is sometimes a shock when one realises how little control a gallery has in terms of 'supply' and 'demand'. Our 'stock' depends on the creative impulses of our artists – we cannot order product from a wholesaler. And in terms of demand, nobody truly needs art in the way we need food and provisions – it is an emotive transaction that depends on many individualistic circumstances way beyond the control of the gallery. Thus, a gallery exists in a nebulous space between impulses, emotions, imagination and concepts, and simultaneously all within a transactional world. So, when daily life sometimes feels within the realm of magical realism, we are constantly humbled and grateful that we are able to sustain a commitment to the idealism of contemporary art, and most importantly, artists, in South Africa and beyond.
The exhibition opens Saturday 2 December, 10am to 1pm.
The gallery is open throughout the summer season, except on public holidays.