2007 A collaboration by Angus Taylor, Francois Visser and Steven Delport Concrete, cast bronze and patina
The Udder Side, which Angus Taylor conceptualised and produced in collaboration with fellow artists Francois Visser and Steven Delport is an affectionate send-up of the dairy cow – the unofficial symbol of Irene. This is an iconic example of an anti-monument made by DSW where a monumental sized sculpture was literary turned on its back.
The Udder Side refers to the other side of conventional thought, as it stands in stark contrast against traditional public sculpture which was once known for propagating the ideology of the time. It undermines institutionally sponsored and guided traditional public art propaganda, such as the heroes on horseback, and rather engages with the public in a humorous and whimsical manner.
DSW intended to construct the sculpture for children to interact and engage playfully with the piece. The bronze and concrete surfaces were treated and smoothed out to allow children to adventure, charter and slide across the structure with great reward.
2014 A collaboration by Rina Stutzer and Dionysus Sculpture Works art studio and foundry 3CR12 Stainless steel
Rina Stutzer, in collaboration with DSW, created a site-specific installation titled Sway from 3CR12 stainless steel outside the Everard Read Gallery in Johannesburg. She was awarded the Southern Africa Stainless Steel Development Association (SASSDA) Art Project Award in 2014 for this installation piece.
The success of this project can be attributed to the merger of the creative team of artists from Dionysus Sculpture Works and the engineers from Certus Engineering in Midrand. DSW drafted the scanned maquette installation into a 3-D digital design, and transferred it to the required format for the laser-cutting machinery. Fence parts were laser-cut and welded together at Certus. The welded fence segments were finally handed over to DSW who managed the metal chasing, surface finishing and installation of the structure.
A singular branch of a false Olive tree, adjacent to the installation site, was used as the point of departure, which guided the shape of the laser-cut silhouette forms. The fence consists of 104 individual branch silhouettes, where no single element is repeated, as the implicated ‘movement’ continuously alters the form. The fence was created with two distinctly different dimensions, simplistic frontal vertical line dimensions, and a lively arboreal animated side view dimension. Spaced consecutively, the row of laser-cut fence blades depicts tree branches swaying back and forth, as if moved by the wind.
The vertical linear design of Sway establishes a structural visual link between Everard Read Gallery and Circa on Jellicoe, across the street.
2016 A collaboration by Angus Taylor and Dionysus Sculpture Works art studio and foundry Cast bronze, stainless steel, Belfast granite
The sculpture is a whimsical reference to the migration of people back to city centres. The donkey and the chicken are domestic animals and refer to ourselves, while the TV and radio reference domestic goods. The composition is placed on a raised trolley, an allusion to the trams that once travelled along this part of the Capital City. The concept was developed by Angus Taylor, who also modelled the donkey. The chickens were modelled by Alexander von Klitzing, and the granite TV and radio were carved and constructed by Cedrick Kwata and McDuff Matabane. Granite, marble & stainless steel clock were made and carved by Martyn Schickerling and Simon Zitha. The tram trolley was designed and constructed by Francois Visser.
2017 Belfast granite & steel, solidified with concrete Edition of 3
In essence, the large seated figure is a “stone stacking”, one of the oldest methods humankind employed to indicate boundaries, acting as markers of important spaces and places (for example, an Inuksuk by the Inuit).
In ancient Greece, Dionysus was the god who manned (or rather ‘godded’) the mountain of Parnassus, standing in for the Oracle of Delphi in winter. His messages were danced by the young women and interpreted by the male priests.
“I have always found the Greek mythology far more inspiring than the contemporary monotheistic patriarchal religions. I imagine a society somewhat healthier with gods that are both good and bad, creators and destroyers (such as Dionysus), or male and female, as they have more depth and dimensionality. It was far more difficult to create one dimensional dogma from their belief system,” explains Taylor.
Dionysus is known as the Greek god of disorder, destruction and creativity – descriptions often associated with the creative process and art. He therefore, quite aptly, decided to name his Sculpture Studio after Dionysus 21 years ago.
The sculpture has a humble presence and a calm demeanour, reminding one of the mountain Parnassus. His calm presence stands in stark contrast to the proverbial chaos – the hundreds of individual pieces of Belfast granite that were sought, dispersed on the ground, and then reordered, hand-carved and brought together – to finally bring this docile giant into existence.
The pose of the figure was chosen to create a longer horizontal composition than what it achieves in vertical height, creating a sense of scale that does not impose on, nor intimidate, the viewer, but rather invites the viewer closer. Dionysus weighs between 25 and 30 tons and, like Mount Parnassus, is immovable.
Through his pose, the portrait is close enough that one can simply be with the gentle giant, and enjoy his contemplative and engaging presence. As a mountain of stone, the human scale is minimised to one fifth of his size. The stone figure becomes the embodiment of the mountain that one climbs in order to seek knowledge.
Rina Stutzer (in a collaboration with Dionysus Sculpture International (DSW)
3mm laser-cut grade 304 mirror finish stainless steel plate, 30mm thick grade 304 & 316 stainless steel solid square bar and 273 mm outside diameter stainless steel pipe
11100 (W) x 5500 (H) x 2300 (D) mm (diptych)
The appearance of the African motif has established great significance in Stutzer’s work over the past decade. This motif continues to take shape as a progressive theme which substantiates her visual language. Motivated by the shape of the African continent, various formal representations, in relation to appropriate choices of medium, have acted as a catalyst in communicating Stutzer’s conceptual ideals. Writer, Dr. Gerhard Schoeman describes Stutzer’s oeuvre of work as the embodiment of nomadic thought; a space within the mind which is always moving, transitioning and readjusting to new stills and ideologies.
This diptych of mirroring continents, engaged in a dynamic visual dialogue, is charged with an ever-changing present. Africa to Africa, one side is emergent while the other represents the ideal construct. Looking into it, fragmented reflections seem to dance in the space between the viewers and the mirror-like surfaces, where movement, presence and audience behaviour adds a fourth dimension and an active, animated and participatory quality to the artwork. The reflections point to a ‘present space’ with constant states of becoming, offering a different experience with every passing viewer’s interaction. Through There is No Time Like the Present, Stutzer holds up a mirror to our identity, our potential and our place in the world.
The two sculptures were made on a fifth of the scale by the artist’s hands. They were modeled in clay, constructed in wood and carved down in plaster, and finally extrapolated manually and digitally to the completed large scale.
The line motif presents Africa as construct: an outline or construction presenting an emergent continent in a skeletal form. This construct is built from 320 pieces of 30 mm thick square bar combining grade 304 and 316 stainless steel. Mirroring the line construct, the faceted sculpture is shaped by 608 triangulated stainless steel plates crystallising into reflections, built from imported super mirror finish 3 mm thick grade 304 stainless steel plate. Each structure measures 5.5 m high, 5.27 m wide and 2.3 m in depth.
The research component of the project commenced in February 2017, where characteristics of different stainless steel types were explored to determine the ideal choice of material suitable for this design. Small-scale maquettes in various materials ranging from clay to wood were meticulously refined until the diptych was ready to be up-scaled. Construction was executed in collaboration with Dionysus Sculptures International (DSW), which consists of a specialised team of 15 artists and artisans. During the 18 month construction period, the two Africa’s occupied the total DSW studio space.
As a site-specific sculpture, it was made bespoke for the space between the mirroring east and west Gateway buildings of Mall of Africa in Midrand.
The project, from conceptualisation to completion and on-site installation, spanned well over 2 years and a total of more than 20,000 working hours. Due to the demanding precision and technological complexity of the methodology and the materials used, this project boosted the art studio’s skill development and created job opportunities for fine artists and artisans. There is No Time Like the Present is a proudly South African and African installation, with the design, development and construction taking place within the capital city, Pretoria.
*The Dionysus Sculptures International (DSW) participatory members:
Rina Stutzer (drafts person & artist), Angus Taylor (management & specialised technical advisor), Francois Visser (technical advisor & manufacturing director), Alexander von Klitzing (digital designer & studio artist), Dani Bakkes (project researcher & management & administrator), Elani Willemse (management & administrator), Anita Finken (studio artist), Brendon Erasmus (studio artist), Steven Delport (studio artist), Devin Smith (studio artist), Sello Letwaba (studio artisan), Geoffrey Matsimela (specialised artisan), George Magampa (specialised artisan), Tebogo Mocha (specialised artisan), Adolf Mogashoa (specialised artisan), Pleasure Tshabalala (artist’s assistant) and Isaac Davids (artist’s assistant).