Southern Guild and Bronze Age Studio present Foundry Proof, a group show exploring the versatility of bronze in contemporary design, from 20 September.
Foundry Proof is curated by Julian McGowan, co-founder of Southern Guild, Otto du Plessis and Charles Haupt – both of Bronze Age Studio – in celebration of the close working relationship the gallery and studio have enjoyed over the past 10 years.
Otto, a classically trained sculptor, opened Bronze Age Foundry in Simonstown in 1997. Incorporating a gallery and artist residency, it nurtured the careers of many young bronze artists who apprenticed there. Charles joined in 2005 to help start a design studio and the pair then moved their operation to Woodstock, where the foundry and its adjoining gallery became one of the neighbourhood’s focal points of creativity. They regularly produced work by artists such as William Kentridge, David Brown, Brett Murray and Wim Botha, and kept their doors open so that curious onlookers could witness the casting process. Around the same time, Julian was building Southern Guild as a collection of limited-edition design pieces unlike anything the South African industry had seen before and from the get-go, bronze featured heavily.
Together, they began to foster a new regard for bronze as a modern material equally suited to furniture, lighting, functional design and sculpture. Through its affiliation with Southern Guild, Bronze Age added international designers to its list of clients, producing work for the US-based Haas Brothers and Misha Kahn. Today, Bronze Age Foundry is under new management but Otto and Charles continue to run Bronze Age Studio, where new pieces are conceptualised, sculpted and worked on before being cast.