An Interview with Worldart's Charl Bezuidenhout

Worldart is one of First Thursdays Cape Town's longstanding participants, taking part from the very beginning. The Thursdays asked owner Charl Bezuidenhout some questions. Here are his answers.

The scene outside Worldart on the opening of an exhibition by Ello and Black Koki. Image: Worldart  

The scene outside Worldart on the opening of an exhibition by Ello and Black Koki. Image: Worldart  

The Thursdays: You've had a busy year at Worldart. What 3 exhibitions stood out for you and why? 
Charl Bezuidenhout: It’s really hard to single them out, but one that is definitely worth mentioning is the exhibition that Andrew Lamprecht curated for us. It was titled "Street Level" and consisted of works done by Cape Town-based artists in the so-called Urban Contemporary genre. It introduced new artist both from the academic and informal environments and showed how both are relevant.

 

TT: Worldart exhibited at The Moniker Art Fair in London recently. How was your experience there? What is the value of a small South African gallery showing at such a fair?
CB: Art fairs play an important role in the art world today. They provide easy access for buyers and an opportunity to show work to dedicated lovers of art. In this context it makes a lot of sense to do these fairs in other cities too. We took paintings by Kilmany-Jo Liversage to the Moniker Art Fair in Shoreditch, London, where the focus is on street art. It was hard work, but the risk paid off as we got mentioned in the Financial Times, approached by a few galleries in the UK, and sold all the paintings. I’m not saying this to impress, but to illustrate the value of investing in art fairs abroad.

 

Moniker Art Fair 2015. Image: Moniker Projects

Moniker Art Fair 2015. Image: Moniker Projects

TT: How would you compare Moniker to our local art fairs (Joburg, Cape Town, etc.) in terms of production, audience and overall value for an independent (aka smaller) gallery such as yours?
CB: An art fair is an art fair is an art fair. The attendees make the difference. In London they obviously have a more urban sensibility and a stronger economy, so more buying power.

 

TT: If you could add 3 South African artists' works to your collection, who would they be?
CB: My personal favourites are Nicholas Hlobo, Liza Grobler and Faith47.

 

TT: What can one expect to see from Worldart going into 2016?
CB: Exciting solo exhibitions at Worldart: Norman O’Flynn - he is one of SA’s most relevant and exciting pop artists; Kilmany-Jo Liversage’s first solo show in South Africa in two years; and then a sculpture solo show with Haidee Nel. Also confirmed is the Cape Town Art Fair in February, where we will have a group exhibition with our gallery artists.

 

Visit Worldart on at First Thursdays on 3 December for the opening of "2015 WorldartStars", a group exhibition. You'll find them at 54 Church Street.