SOLO STUDIOS is an opportunity to encounter art in the spaces where it’s created, meet the artists, and experience the creative process first-hand. Set in the picturesque Riebeek Valley, less than an hour from Stellenbosch this year’s event will be taking place over this weekend, 18 – 20 August 2023.
The program for this year’s edition has been announced. 17 Riebeek Valley resident artists will open up their personal spaces to feature collaborations with non-resident artists. The weekend long festival will feature eight gallery exhibitions along with the Solo Symphony Concert, the premiere of MONOMANIA, wine tasting and film, talks, performance art, and the ever-popular Night of the Long Tables.
The event is also an opportunity to pick up valuable art. In the 2022 edition, 183 art pieces, valued at R2.5 million, changed hands. We highlight some of the events and artists to look out for below.
Artists and collaborations to look out for
The 17 resident artists and collaborations offer a rich variety of styles and experiences. Look out for conceptual artist Emma Willemse whose works incorporate media, installations, painting, printmaking, photography, artist’s books and film. Also known for her mixed media artworks, Tamlin Blake explores the boundaries between fine art and what have been considered the more domesticated art forms: weaving, sewing, and beading.
Click here for a full list of exhibiting artists and collaborators.
Galleries exhibiting artists
- Pictorex – “Printed at Pictorex” featuring William Walker, Mary Walker, Greta McMahon, Tanya Majo, Rudolph Willemsel, Ad Goedhart, Linda Harrison, Johan Viljoen, Leila Fanner, Louisa Gerryts and Jacky Lloyd.
- Spier Arts Trust/The Creative Block exhibits Boyce Magandelaand Emma Aspeling
- Q Studio – Impendulo hosts the artistsCarl Collison and Hentie van der Merwe
- RK Contemporary features works by Anton Momberg, Anthony Harris, Claire Greenspan, Greta McMahon, Tanya Majo, Thembalethu Mangunyanaand Candice Dawn Blignaut
- Gallery 7 on Plein displays non-professional and emerging local artists
- The Hub exhibits signature works of most participating artists
- 1 Royal Street Guest House offers viewing of guest house owners’ private art collection
- Die Kunshuis with RK Contemporary Gallery features works by Nicola Roos,Wehrner Lemmer and Trevor Rizzato
Also look out for peripheral activities have been included to enhance the weekend art experience.
Solo Symphony Concert
Billed as one of this year’s highlights, Sunday afternoon 20 August, the beautiful church in the centre of town hosts a performance of the Solo Symphony Concert by the Winelands Philharmonic Orchestra and a collaboration with the local Riebeek Valley Steelband featuring a lovely lineup of standards and new compositions.
Film Premiere – MONOMANIA – 7 Chambers of Obsession
Building on the success of last year’s screenings, SOLO co-founder Klaus Piprek pushes the envelope a little further with a collaborative film production project, challenging the artists to expose a single element which inspires them in a production titled MONOMANIA.
MONOMANIA is defined as possessing an exaggerated or obsessive enthusiasm for or preoccupation with a one topic. Seven artists, art fundis, and poets participated in the project — all becoming amateur film makers in the process and exposing their inner obsessions. The result is an eclectic compilation covering topics from womanhood, sexuality and erotica, to poverty, mental illness and depression, to motion, artificial intelligence and literature. The seven short films are woven into a collaborative production of one hour, making its world premiere at Solo Studios 2023:
- In Plot’s Possession, Cristina Kirstein unveils the lighter depths of obsession; where we possess stories, and stories possess us.
- Art fundi Tamzin Lovell tells a story of art and technology from the past into the future, through a combination of poetry and AI-generated art video, in Pixels and Poetry – A Journey into Art Technology.
- On the other end of the film spectrum, Riaan van Zyl pays tribute to the traditional film making process in Eulogy to Motion. Van Zyl captures motion in his paintings, often depicting freeze frame-like imagery in his subject.
- In My Beautiful Brein, the narrative of poet Donker Jonker provides a stark, disturbing view of disturbance of the mind.
- TONG: Die Gekleurde Vrou is a collaborative production by The House of the Second Shadow, and explores “Womenhood, Sexuality and Poverty of Coloured Woman in B&W kaleidoscope and deconstructed video”.
- For her 53rd birthday, Lean Bakker invited her friends to do this work with her. The gentle caresses of 26 hands activate the flow of Kundalini, life-force energy in her body. Sensation is about the movement of life-force.
- Underwater photographer John Vowles practices his art below the surface. In Subaqueous we follow John as he submerges us into his realm.
Thought Leadership Talks
Tamzin Lovell is the founder and CEO of Artfundi, talks on Art and Technology: Transforming Cultural Life and the Future of Artists and The Living Legacy of Uche Okeke: Bridging Past and Present in Artistic Expression.
Dr. Nicky Terblanche, an academic, researcher, and entrepreneur presents a talk on Artificial intelligence (AI) – what’s all the fuss about?
Blind wine tasting and film
The inspiring rise of Wine Sommelier Joseph Dhafana is well known, and his participation as captain of the Zimbabwean wine tasting team at the world blind tasting championships has recently been captured in the film Blind Ambition.
Joseph started his unlikely journey in Riebeek Kasteel where, as an economic refugee from Zimbabwe, he got his first job as a gardener before being promoted to barman. Today, Joseph produces his own range of wines and his meteoric rise to one of the most recognisable young figures in the wine industry is nothing short of remarkable.
Joseph returns to his roots in Riebeek Kasteel for Solo Studios 2023, where he will host two screenings of Blind Ambition, whereafter he will engage with the audience and give them some insight into blind wine tasting of some of his wines.
Georick fon Velt, known as The Mirrorsister, performs “Sosiaal – Who am I in relation to you? Is it better to speak or to die?” with the FOR LIFE Centre.
The Nights of the Long Tables
The evergreen long tables presented by some of the valley’s finest hosts and chefs includes offerings by Aardvark Eats, Kokos Huis with Intellego Wines, The Valley Deli with Allesverloren Wines, Olive and Vine, The Royal Hotel & Chef Giuseppe with Arbeidsgenot Wines.
Upon the closing of Solo Studios 2023 on Sunday afternoon, locals – artists, musicians, staff and other residents – for an afterparty at La Parrilla.
The scenic Riebeek Valley is less than an hour’s drive from Cape Town and other cultural centres such as Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek. Accommodation in the two small towns is limited and patrons are strongly encouraged to book tickets and accommodation well in advance.
There is a variety of options of passes, from a Day Pass at R150 to a Premier Weekend Pass at R395. Peripheral activities may incur a surcharge.
For ticket sales and more information, visit www.solostudios.co.za. Or call Shawn Hewitt on 082 528 6785.