It must be around 10 years ago when Gert Potgieter walked into my World of Art.
Although having been involved with art for many years, it was through his work and teaching that I was introduced to sculpting with steel. I learned about the technical difficulties in working such unwilling material with tools designed for industrial use. I learned about the exhausting hours it take to manipulate, even the smallest piece of steel, into finally becoming sculpture. Mostly however, in my line of work, I have learned how little the art market knows and unfortunately understand, about steel sculpture. I have since dedicated myself, to the best of my ability, to change that with the assistance of Gert’s work.
When looking at a good work of art, usually only a few words are needed to describe ones attraction. A few words that follow spontaneously at first sight. To me, “Life” and “Light” jumps out of the sculptures of Gert Potgieter. “Light”, has not only reference to the energetic play of surface quality, but also his ability to make such inherently heavy material seem weightless – like floating on air. “Life”, refers to the content of his work. Everyday life as is experienced by all of us on a daily basis, the poor, the ignorant, and the naive – everybody has a place in his work.
I have learned over time that this, wonderful down to earth artist, is just not extremely talented, most intelligent, but also totally fearless. Once a happening or situation becomes part of his consciousness, he will not stop at anything to portray it in such a manner that we all can understand.
I call Gert’s Art, “Monuments”. His care for everyday people and their situations, whether created by nature, government and their politics, businesspersons and their economics, he will not hesitate to sculptural confront by creating works that are indeed, “Monuments for Society”.
This book reflects on his life as a person and as a sculptor. The two cannot be divorced as he lives the same life he sculpts. He does not leave life behind when he enters his studio. It enters with him. It is within the confines of his single garage studio filled with cobwebs and smell of grid and iron that he will object to inhumane conduct in the most direct and truthful manner by cutting, grinding and welding this age-old material in a way no one has done before. It is here, behind his welding apron and typical red bandanna where steel is given a voice to speak, to tell a story about matters that so conveniently tend to pass us by until his sculptures so often creates the proverbial rude awakening.
Important Notes:
1) His book on his Art was released in 2019:
Notes of a Sculptor
A Country in steel
A great read about his thinking behind each of the 90 works discussed in this well-structured and laid out Publication. Compiled from all the notes he kept over the many years of sculpting in South Africa. Now available on order. Price R590 per book and R150 postage/courier for anywhere in South Africa.
2) Now his new release of a Video in 2020:
The Journey of Iron through the World of Art
(A western Perspective)
It is an hour long production and will be available on DVD/USB.
Price still to be announced.
3) Gert through his company AESTHETIC STUDIO, creates very short and captivating video Clips about his sculptures. It is informative and covers all the angles of his work.