The life and work of Luan Nel
“I started painting on larger size canvases when I was working for my solo Diction at CIRCA Cape Town in 2017. The aim was to create something of a backdrop or a ‘screen saver’, I was playing with the idea of tech, the virtual, computers, basically the online experience within the confines of that exhibition but there is always spill-over. What I noticed at the opening in 2017 was that people liked to pose in front of the works for their Instagram posts, and as such this is what they became. The backdrop that gave enough evidence of some narrative yet conveniently open, anybody could slip in and be photographed in this non-story that beguiles. Paintings of forests and birds proved most popular as well as one featuring the sea ice melting.
This idea of being photographed in front of a backdrop featuring some wild scene or nature harks back to the beginning of commercial photography. In
Victorian times people would pose in front of such scenery and I like how Instagram brings this act right up to date, without much of a stretch we find people doing the same poses all over again.
I have this canvas outside in a corner on the deck from which I take my sunrise Instagrams every day @luan_nel. The canvas is there to be painted on whenever I feel the need to and then sometimes I leave it for months. This has led to the product as it is now shown. I must stress that this painting will never finish but must remain in a continuum, ever-evolving and changing, like ourselves and our environment.”
An artist, writer and curator, Luan Nel has a BA Fine Arts degree and a higher diploma in education from the University of the Witwatersrand. He has participated in various exhibitions including Lustwarande: Pleasure Garden in Tilburg, The Netherlands, alongside the likes of Louise Bourgeois and Michaelangelo Pistoletto. Solo exhibitions include Still Life at the Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, and Twitter at Everard Read in Cape Town. He recently participated in the Spier Light Art Exhibition curated by Jay Pather and Vaughn Sadie.
In 2019 Luan Nel, alongside his partner Neil Pendock started Nel, an artist owned and directed art gallery focussing on contemporary art from Cape Town, Africa, and further afield.
His works are held in private, as well as public and corporate collections including the JHB Art Gallery, SABC, University of the Witwatersrand, Gauteng Legislature, Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Smithsonian, Spier, Hollard, Sasol, Ellerman House and KPMG.
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Sunday & Public Holidays
10h00 – 16h00