One man’s wine cellar is another man’s canvas. That’s what internationally acclaimed South African artist Joachim Schönfeldt demonstrated when he completed the cellar façade at Solms-Delta in early 2009. Commissioned by old university friend Mark Solms, Schönfeldt gave the wall an imaginative relief treatment.
In the same spirit of inclusiveness that pervades every aspect of Solms-Delta, the project brought the whole community together. Farm residents, even children, were involved in every step of the process, from conception through to execution. Schönfeldt even utilized the talents of local Franschhoek craftsmen for added depth and interest.
The 33m x 9m east-facing wall is now covered with a massive map of the Cape, based on an 18th century drawing attributed to a visiting minister by the name of François Valentyn. Superimposed over the landscape is a network of golden highways, with raised and glazed ceramic discs depicting Cape Town, Paarl, Stellenbosch, Solms-Delta and Franschhoek. Scattered throughout are evocative iconic images, like gargoyles, stars and elephants.
The artist used a variety of mixed media techniques, including sculpture, clay modelling, ceramics, grouting and painting — with pigments derived from Khoesan techniques and natural materials drawn from the farm.
Johannesburg-based artist Joachim Schönfeldt has work in various private and public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art (MoMa) in New York, the Smithsonian, the University of the Witwatersrand and the National Gallery in Cape Town. Click here for more details