Before Rubber Ever After

Art portfolio- my work

Talking about collecting (see previous post) made me think about collectors.  I feel blessed, fortunate and delighted to still have contact with a collector whom I met at my first ever gallery show in 2003.  He made this beautiful gesture to write a letter on facebook after the “Rubber ever after show at the KKNK:

What Came Before “Rubber Ever After” : Who is Hannalie Tauté?

photo by Stephan Erasmus

photo by Stephan Erasmus

For the past year I have been writing principally about Estonian artists with a nod here and there elsewhere. I was not even in Estonia for half of the past 12 months but again and again my interest was piqued by what I have experienced here in museums and galleries. I have also been been buying Estonian art over the past few years.

I had previously collected contemporary South African art, all of which remains in my abandoned South African home in the Klein Karoo region of South Africa. I was not shy about talking about art; I just didn’t write about art and artists, except in passing.

The one South African artist that I would have written about was Hannalie Tauté.

I was fortunate to be at her very first commercial group showing, (“Siembamba the toys are us” “, Knysna Fine Art 2003) and at its opening I promptly bought up a wall of Polaroid artefacts that the then 26 year old had created, each one bearing a homily to the role of little girls. We’ve been friends ever since!

I have continued to add works by her. Some quite large scale, others in between such as a group of fragile plaster dolls, almost voodoo in nature that I eagerly hung from a prominent beam in my house to ward off would be housebreakers. I was also able to attend her first major solo show at the prestigious KKNK festival in Oudtshoorn, South Africa in 2008.

"Skip the pattern"

“Skip the pattern”

Hannalie may look positively metropolitan but she has always led a very normal, down to earth existence as a boerevrou, though without the farm. Her drop dead gorgeous husband, Hendrik Carsten is a diesel mechanic, having to travel over the western Cape to earn sustenance for his growing family. He and Hannalie are the parents of 2 young boys and Hannalie feels strongly that mothers should stay at home for a child’s first 5 years, until they start school.

Yet Hannalie has never shied away from addressing feminist issues in her art. And it is her very good fortune to have found a partner who respects her art and herself as a person, not common traits in provincial South African society.

As a person I find Hannalie quintessentially South African, fiercely proud of her heritage. Resolute. As an artist, she has remarkably always been of the world, even though she has been confined to a very small geographical area, even within a South African context, with infrequent forays to Cape Town and Johannesburg. If she were not so pleasant a person, I might describe her as a bête noire. Her art provokes effortlessly.

I have thus followed her peripatetic moves in the western Cape, much I have myself moved during the early years of this century. She has lived in the communities of Prince Albert, George, Oudtshoorn and now Still Baai, all due to financial necessity, never achieving a financial breakthrough with her art despite consistently picking up admirers along the way.

Until now.

Her 3rd show under the KKNK auspices, 2008, 2011 and now this year in 2014, “Rubber Ever After” was a bona fide hit with Hannalie all but selling out her show and receiving a nomination for and still in the running for the preeminent Kanna visual art prize. The following digital calling card from 2013 gives a more rounded approach of Hannalie’s recent exhibited work.

It is not surprising to see Hannalie making a virtue out of necessity using recycled rubber from inner tubes as a backdrop for her mixed media works. She probably has quasi secret sources for the yarn she uses for her telling embroidery.

The next, long overdue, step for Hannalie Tauté is to receive international recognition. She’s been ready for a good 10 years.

Written by Robert von Anzen 2014

Wow! Thank you Robert!

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