@Fest Art that really wastes nothing

Art that really wastes nothing

Francois Knoetze’s art project, Cape Mongo, consists of a series of sculptures made out of waste, which tower over you and overwhelm like overflowing rubbish dumps in inner cities. The dog, the buck, the draping video tape film, the albatross and the overweight cockroach define the social and political burdens of South Africa which we carry, but choose to ignore. Yet, with Knoetze’s looming sculptures, he makes it unavoidable.

Francois Knoetze's Cape Mongo sculptures are composed of various materials; for example, this one is made of glass. Photo: Charles Harry Mackenzie

Francois Knoetze’s Cape Mongo sculptures are composed of various materials; for example, this one is made of glass. Photo: Charles Harry Mackenzie

“I wanted to have a look at what kind of journey objects take and what kind of spaces they inhabit,” says Knoetze. “I wanted to show how the same object, depending on what space it inhabits and the way that people relate to them changes.” Knoetze treats the objects used in his sculptures as storytellers. He explains that each object has a South African narrative that stands out.
Returning to Cape Town after living in Grahamstown for 20 years, Knoetze took his inspiration from the social segregation and inequality that is still prominent in Cape Town. “Cape Town is a very historically divided city, which is where the waste comes in,” says Knoetze. “It likes to package itself in a way that appeals to tourists and a white minority, where the rest of the population is pushed to the peripheries of the city.”
His work inhabits the Commemoration Church in Bathurst Street, a venue which supports the statement his sculptures make. “The Festival and the festival-goers need to make a concerted effort to support this side of town,” Knoetze says, “to make sure that it doesn’t become two festivals.”

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