House Union Block (HUB) invites visitors to come face to face with human folly as told by dynamic South African multidisciplinary artist Frank van Reenen. His playfully titled Cunning Stunts, which features work amassed over 12 years, is a collection of sculptures and paintings inspired, says the artist, by ‘years and years of [his own] cunning stunts that mostly failed but then sometimes not’.
‘Cunning stunts’ – literally, dangerous life-threatening acts for entertainment purposes – was chosen by van Reenen to title this particular exhibition as he deems the clever spoonerism, which captures the humorous content of the show, to be a very good metaphor for the human condition.
The Loerie Award-winning artist is renowned for his ability to create artworks that express complex ideas and emotions through simple forms. His striking sculptures of bronze and epoxy resin are wonderfully universal, unburdened by individual features and easy to enjoy.
In Cunning Stunts, Van Reenen offers visitors a rare opportunity to explore a diverse range of pieces that showcase his unique sense of humour. He unpacks themes of satire, human fallibility, nostalgia and cartoon culture in a subtle consideration of human nature. Pared-back pieces incorporating toy-like forms, soft edges and lustrous surfaces tackle the human condition and questions about human existence – ‘Who knows, maybe we’re all just stranded on someone’s gold-leaf butt,’ the artist muses.
Cunning Stunts opens at 18h00 on Thursday 2 February 2023, just in time for the February edition of First Thursdays, a monthly exploration of art and culture in the Mother City. HUB, the commercial arm of Spier Arts Trust, which provides South African artists and artisans with novel opportunities, will host the must-visit exhibition at its inner-city gallery in Union House at 25 Commercial Street in Cape Town. The exhibition runs until 31 March 2023.
Born in George, Frank van Reenen studied at the University of Stellenbosch, where he received an arts degree. Van Reenen has exhibited extensively both locally and internationally, and he was nominated for a Kyknet Fiesta award. In addition, he has twice been a finalist in the Absa Atelier competition. His work can be found in a number of private and public collections, both in South Africa and abroad, and has been featured in several international publications. He currently lives and works in HoutBay, Cape Town.
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