The Norval Foundation, Cape Town, South Africa

This week we are in Cape Town, working on our ND Furniture collection and filling our minds with all that we can to be inspired by for the coming year. If you’re a regular follower of our blog, you’ll know we love a good sculpture garden, Hauser & Wirth in Somerset, Messums in Wiltshire, Château la Coste is next on our list in Provence.

The foundation is a centre for art and cultural expression, dedicated to the research and exhibition of 20th and 21st century visual art from South Africa and beyond. Located in the Steenberg area of Cape Town, adjacent to Table Mountain National Park, the Norval Foundation combines the experience of art with an appreciation for nature. 

The building was envisioned by DHK Architects as a modern pavilion for art. Set against a mountain and vineyard landscape, constrained by its linear site, it is set between a busy road and an existing wetland. The shape of the building is a direct response to this, with the galleries and public spaces facing the natural landscape, capturing framed views of the wetland, vineyards and mountains beyond.

The Homestead Collection inside the Foundation has been assembled by the Norval family over the past two decades, it remains as one of the leading 20th-century South African art collections. It is committed to an expanded narrative of South African art that includes both African voices and archival materials of established South African modernists.

As part of our VIP art tour here in Cape Town, we were thrilled to have the curator of the William Kentridge exhibition take us around this fabulous retrospective of his works.

A double bill here in CT, the two exhibitions share the title, ‘Why Should I Hesitate’ with his sculptures on view here and many of his drawings, prints, tapestries and films exhibited at the Zeitz MOCAA museum at the V&A Waterfront.

Michele Mathison, Volition, 2017, Steel

The Foundation also features a fabulous Sculpture Garden, a restaurant and bar, outdoor amphitheatre, purpose-built exhibition spaces, research library and children’s playground.

The Sculpture Garden at the Norval Foundation features three-dimensional installations by artists from South Africa and the rest of Africa. The unique site, a protected lowland of freshwater wetland is surrounded by the natural beauty of the Western Cape.

Featuring flora indigenous to the area, the placement of artwork takes the site into consideration, using the contours of the garden to hide and reveal work, creating an experience of discovery for the viewer.

The Foundation building has been designed so that the western side gives way onto the Sculpture Garden at multiple points, allowing visitors access from the galleries to the Sculpture Garden and creating connections between exhibitions taking place both inside and outside.

The artworks are a mixture of long term loans and work from the Homestead Art Collection, which are installed permanently.

Left, Wind Sculpture (SG III), Yinka Shonibare CBE, 2018.

Left, William Kentridge and Gerhard Marx, Fire Walker, 2009 – 2010, Painted steel

Left, Angus Taylor, Holderbestolder, 2018, Belfast Gabbro granite and steel.

Right, Brett Murray, Again Again, 2015, bronze

Images c/o Architonic & NDID

Click here for visitor information

February 2020