Behind a neatly tucked away entrance in Cape Town’s CBD lies a voluminous historical space reserved for large-scale art and immersive installation pieces. Commune.1 gallery is unlike any gallery in the city, and the country, at that.
Originally from Joburg, gallery owner Greg Dale, an avid art collector himself, founded the character-filled gallery in an effort to rehabilitate experiential art. A large-format space would provide the necessary arena for installation artists to work and exhibit, and that it has.
A minimalist when it comes to his own art preferences, Greg believes ‘simple form provides a sense of wonder, be it in contemporary sculpture, installation or photography’.
What art would you buy with R5 000? A piece by an emerging ceramic artist.
R10 000? A Judith Mason sketch.
R50 000? An Ayanda Mabulu work on paper and a Peter Campbell bronze maquette.
R500 000? A small Jane Alexander sculpture.
R1 000 000? A little piece by Jean-Michel Basquiat, a Polaroid by Patti Smith, a Sally Mann photograph and a work by Henri Cartier-Bresson.
Which one artwork do you regret not buying? A Jane Alexander sculpture on auction two years ago that I took too long to think over and lost the bid.
What one artist’s work should our readers buy right now? Ayanda Mabulu.
What artwork do you wish you had bought 10 years ago? Johannes Phokela’s oil on canvas ‘Candle Bathing’.
New artists you’ve got your eye on? Peter Campbell, Ayanda Mabulu, Ian Grose.
Who is currently seriously big on the local art scene? Pieter Hugo, William Kentridge, Mary Sibande, Deborah Poynton.
Which local artists are doing well on the international market? Mikhael Subotzky, Pieter Hugo, Steven Cohen, Kendell Geers, Candice Breitz, Zwelethu Mthethwa, Robin Rhode.
What’s your favourite piece of art in your own home? A Judith Mason oil on board that hangs in our entrance.
What would you buy now for investment purposes or because you love it? I wouldn’t buy anything purely for investment purposes but you can make an informed decision on any artwork that you buy that is aesthetically and conceptually strong, and has integrity. These should become a sound investment emotionally and financially.
Is there a dominant theme in current local art? I don’t think so – I think it’s relatively fragmented, and seems to be resisting any dominant theme.
Who is your favourite South African master? Alexis Preller.
What is your all-time favourite artwork and artist? The series of works by Mark Rothko at the Tate Modern.
Photographs Bernard Myburgh Words Lisa Wallace; adapted from a feature in House & Leisure