The Small and Art Gazette X Norval Foundation
Morné Visagie is a South African artist, printmaker and curator who lives and works in Cape Town. In 2019 he obtained his Masters in Fine Art from the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town. Prior to this he trained as a professional printmaker at Warren Editions, a fine art print studio. Morné is the co-founder of Art Gazette, an alternative online art platform for curating international collections of art, and the curator for OPEN24HRS, a non-commercial gallery space in Cape Town.
From March 2021 he will be curating the art at The Small. Welcome Morné! We caught up with him to find out more about his approach.
Please elaborate on the partnership between The Small and Art Gazette X Norval Foundation?
Art Gazette X Norval Foundation is excited to collaborate with The Small; to give visitors the opportunity to support artists, while also contributing to an institution that is dedicated to understanding and sharing their new work.
Art Gazette partnered with Norval Foundation in 2020 to present a range of accessible artworks for both new and established collectors. This evolving selection, which will change on a regular basis, presents original artworks by over 400 emerging and established contemporary artists, based locally and internationally.
Funds from the sale of each artwork will be donated to the Foundation, supporting its artistic and educational programming, allowing their team to pursue its mission of researching and exhibiting 20th and 21st century visual art from South Africa and the broader African continent, while providing progressive education, learning and engagement for new audiences.
Established in 2019, Art Gazette provides an accessible online platform through which it acquires, promotes, commissions and sells smaller scale artworks. In addition to supporting visual arts institutions, Art Gazette’s innovative model supports artists’ studio practice. Many of the artworks offered here are preparatory studies or exploratory works, which are unlikely to be sold through a traditional art gallery, but nevertheless crucial to artists’ practice. Art Gazette purchases these works upfront and directly from the artists, giving them financial support while they work toward more ambitious new work, or kick-start their careers.
Our hope is that Art Gazette X Norval Foundation becomes a catalyst for a new generation of young collectors, who go on to support artists over their lifetime, reinforcing the arts ecosystem.
Art Gazette X Norval Foundation is delighted to be curating this ongoing selection of affordable, cutting-edge artworks.
How do you approach the art of a space like The Small, what are the factors you need to consider?
Art Gazette is opening up its inventory of contemporary art to The Small, to carefully complement and add to the hotel’s unique design and welcoming atmosphere. Although Art Gazette acquires art from around the world, we’ll be focusing on art from South Africa, which will complete The Small’s collection of ceramics, textiles and products that has been produced by local artisans.
With a space like The Small, such consideration has been given to colour, texture, surface and lighting to create an environment that one can enter with ease and comfort. Art Gazette intends to curate a collection of art that will add a layer of humour, spontaneity and surprise to The Small. Always keeping in mind the integrity of the space, it is our believe that artworks should be the highlight of a space, not blend in, but rather making it unique.
We heard something about a book project…
Art Gazette is thrilled to have brought Clarke’s Bookshop on board to curate a selection of books by African authors and artists. We would like to see The Small grow a library that highlights the country’s rich literature and art, providing some context for the hotel’s art and craft collection.
Clarke’s Bookshop was established in 1957 by Anthony Clarke, in Long Street, Cape Town, and is one of the oldest remaining independent bookshops in South Africa.
You recently enjoyed a stay at The Small, can you tell us about it?
I recently stayed at The Small for the first time, and was blown away by the hotel’s intimate character and beauty. With only ten bedrooms, one is able to have almost complete privacy, while enjoying the pool and garden. I love the attention to detail and care that was given to the rooms to welcome one and create an inviting space. What stood out most for me was the staff’s friendliness and service, which makes all the difference to one’s experience.