Johannesburg’s well-heeled “Parks” region (the peri-urban suburbs close to the Johannesburg Zoo and Pirates Club, and prefaced by the giveaway descriptor “Park-”, as in Parkview, Parkhurst, Parktown North, etc) has long had a reputation for having an arty character. There are many small art galleries and crafts shops dotted around the suburbs, with even an appreciable commercial gallery strip in Parktown North.
Now a new space has opened deep in that suburb that threatens to turn the Parks into a legitimate art hub. Designed and built by artist Jed Gil, and run as an art space by his partner, gallerist and curator Kimberley Cunningham, Restudio is a project space designed to offer a different model to engage with art in Johannesburg and internationally.
Developed as a response to the limitations on the physical display and viewing of art due to national lockdowns, the temporary closure of galleries and the suspension of art fairs, the aim of Restudio is “to repurpose our home as a novel model for engagement with art in Johannesburg, where we hope to encourage thoughtful conversations in addition to meaningful art patronage”.
The project is located at Dokuritsu House in Parktown North, itself possessing an idiosyncratic and personal story, having been solely designed and built by artist Jed Gil. Conceived as both a home and working artist studio, the house was completed in 2017 and exists, in part, as a living sculpture.
The first iteration of the project collaborates with one of SA’s leading contemporary galleries, Whatiftheworld, based in Cape Town and showcasing some of the continent’s pre-eminent artists such as Athi-Patra Ruga, Sthenjwa Luthuli, Maja Marx and Chris Soal.
Working with additional artists independently through Restudio, the curatorial concept entitled “Tread” will feature works by Jake Aikman, Jed Gil and Barry Salzman, as well as new works by Cape Town-based ceramicist Jade Paton.
The project will also showcase two of SA’s most exciting female photographers, Alice Mann and Phumzile Khanyile, through the support of Afronova Gallery. For 20 years Afronova Gallery has been at the forefront of the African contemporary art scene, actively contributing to the intellectual discourse and the emergence of new vernacular art forms from Johannesburg.
Restudio positions itself as an ongoing conversation between leading artists, galleries and curators from across the globe through a series of exhibitions and art projects, aiming to flexibly respond to its contemporary cultural climate.