David Krut is known for his addiction to paper; however, his vision goes way beyond that, leaping straight out of stories and books into reality through his life’s work: David Krut Projects. With branches in Parkwood and Arts on Main in Johannesburg, the stores stock books on art and arts-related subjects, South African culture and politics, biographies, poetry, literature, design, architecture, history and collectibles. The Jan Smuts Art Strip was empty when Krut started his collection of shops, and since then the projects have expanded into a print shop, book publishing activities, exhibition spaces and bookstores.
“I adore books. To me, they’re a treasure and a lovely object. I’m quite obsessed with knowledge, and for me, paper holds that.” The bookstores are a sanctuary for creatives and are warm and welcoming – a true reflection of Krut’s vision to create a community facility where people can go and enjoy looking at books and interacting with his extremely knowledgeable team. “It’s a place of learning, and we go out of our way to share our knowledge on the importance of books and creativity without making people feel insecure.”
With bookstores around the world closing down, some as a direct result of the digital age, Krut believes that books will become extremely valuable in the future. “Books are essential to contextualise, because these days, when we want to know something we go onto the internet, but that doesn’t always provide the necessary context. I think what is going to happen, as time goes on, is that people are going to appreciate books and want to keep and look after them – in 20 years’ time, books will be a collectable – they’ll be an exotic object – very desirable and very valuable.”
In his own small way, Krut has created what he calls a true ubuntu location and employs people from all over the continent. “We bring people together that would not ordinarily come together because they wouldn’t have anything in common, but because of books, there’s a meeting place, and a common start.” The stores are Krut’s contribution to literacy, and a place of training and collaboration, where people can get to know each other and build relationships. “Literacy is a keen focus of mine – I would like to see and encourage an improvement in literacy in SA, because if someone can’t read or write, they will have a difficult future,” he says.
DAVID KRUT RECOMMENDS
- In the Forest by Anouck Boisrobert, Louis Rigaud and Sophie Strady.
- William Kentridge Prints by Susan Stewart and David Krut.
- TAXI Art Books – Set of 15 Books by various authors (the first major series of monographs on contemporary South African artists by a South African publisher – David Krut).
- Rembrandt’s Journey: Painter, Draftsman, Etcher by Thomas Rassieur, William Robinson and Clifford Ackley.
WHERE TO FIND DAVID KRUT BOOKSTORES:
Parkwood: 151 Jan Smuts Ave, Johannesburg, 011 880 5646
Arts On Main: 264 Fox St, Maboneng Precint, Johannesburg, 011 334 1209.