Grande Provence Heritage Wine Estate Franschhoek

Nicolene Swanepoel


17 January: Nicolene Swanepoel

Our opening exhibition for 2010 will feature new works by the acclaimed artist Nicolene C. Swanepoel who will be showcasing sculptural ceramics and painted drawings. Nicolene completed her M Tech (Fine Art) studies at UJ in 2008, her research project entitled Representations of Cattle as Cultural Markers Towards South African Identities. Nicolene has won numerous awards including:

  • Animals in Art, Louisiana State University, 1997.
  • Trienalle Mondiale Destamps Petit Format, 1994.
  • Premier Award, Ceramics South Africas National Exhibition, UJ Art Gallery, Johannesburg, 2008.

I suffer from the inability to throw away everyday objects (for me, pieces of beauty, but which may well be regarded by others as junk). I suspect I can incorporate such pieces at some future time, in myself absorbed created work (some of these subjects do, actually!). My ceramic making process energy-hungry using large amounts of electricity to fire the bodies from clay to (near - ) vitrified ceramic at temperatures of over 1 100 degrees Celsius. However, manipulating clay is an addictive process, and an artist can become quite obsessed by it, and I find it hard to quit. My guilt about this indulgence and a concern for our selfish destruction of our environment, combined with this obsession to not discard shards (whether self-made or found) led to a relentless search of processes whereby I can use such pieces. Thus I recently attended a part of a module in ceramic restoration, and am now combining of these restoration techniques to mend broken ceramic shards into new artworks (most ceramicists will throw away such shards, as being imperfect.) Of my oil and other media painted drawings are done on decades old, torn pieces of paper.

This process also reflects my stubborn inclination to not regard mistakes (such as what leads to pot shards, cracked sculptures and torn paper) as useless, but as a root to valuable learning, and an opportunity to create something which would not otherwise have been made. It also rings true on a deeply personal note my body was broken during an accident in 1999, when I fractured most of the bones in my thorax, including 5 vertebrae. I was privileged not to be left broken or unwhole, but to be healed through a series of long and invasive operations. Some people may discard / disregard broken objects and broken (imperfect) people I celebrate them, as I celebrate myself and my own fortunate (though often frustrated) life. - (Nicolene C. Swanepoel)

Ilse Schermers-Griesel will curate the exhibition. It is opening on Sunday 17 January and will run until 10 February 2010. The exhibition can be viewed daily, Monday to Sunday, from 10h00 to 18h00. For further information and images, contact For a preview, please call the gallery on +27 (0)21 876 8630 to make an appointment.

Huka Lodge, New Zealand Huka Retreats Dolphin Island, Fiji The Caprivi Collection, Namibia

Grande Provence Estate, Main Road, Franschhoek 7690. Tel: +2721 876 8600


© Grande Provence (Pty) Ltd 2014. All Rights Reserved. A Lookhere Design.