Many passerby and visitors to the NAGN have been amazed by the magnificent metals that background our sculpture garden…but it isn’t just metal, if you look closer you will realize that these are different five metal screens! And again these aren’t just metal screens. These are artworks. As promised, here with the second screen by Namibian painter Francois De Necker . We hope you enjoy reading this!
- What inspired you to make the metal screen?
Although this was a competition and even though I am not a competitive person at all, I nonetheless thought it would be a stimulating challenge for me to participate in. The primary challenge was for me to condense my normal imagery and coloured shapes which I have been exploring over the years in my paintings into a usable design appropriate for a metal screen. Due to the nature of the materials stipulated to be used for the screen, the design had to be primarily linear in quality.
- What method/process was involved in creating this metal screen?
I drew and superimposed imagery inspired by our land in various sketches and ultimately came up with a design which had to not only be aesthetically acceptable, but also to acknowledge the practical challenges which the end material used for the screen demanded. The artist that constructed the panels was given instructions in terms of the steel thickness and kind of steel to be used to allow for the variation needed to execute the design. He was also supplied with discarded and rusted textured pieces of metal I have been collecting over some years to use to affirm my artistic commitment to recycling as well. The use of these items was left to his discretion to allow him aesthetic participation in executing the design. Obviously due to the material used repetition was – for me – a pre-requisite to allow for sufficient variation.
- Are there specific elements that we can see/identify in the metal screen and what do they symbolise?
As said, the Namibian environmental elements which inspire me as a painter had been reduced to basic forms which allows the viewer to visually participate in exploring the final product and if they so desire identify with these.
- Any additional information you would like to share about this artwork?
It was a good experience to venture into the applied art field and see whether my painting imagery could successfully translate into this.
“The history of the screens is that up to 2013 the NAGN experienced huge problems with unauthorized accessing of the sunken courtyard in front of the lower gallery. The NAGN had to secure the area but didn’t want conventional burglar proofing or a closed wall. The sunken courtyard was then filled up to be utilized as a sculpture garden while the screens were then installed on top of a low retaining wall to serve both as a security feature and as an integrated design element. They are also practical in the sense that they prohibit entry but let light into the lower gallery. The 5 screens were designed by 5 artists (Alpheus Mvula, Nicky Marais, Niina Turtola, Francois de Necker and Chris Snyman)” – Hercules Viljoen, Director at the NAGN.