Contemporary Art

including the Property of a Collector

Contemporary  |  6:00pm Sat 15 Feb 2020

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Lot 3

South African 1992-
The Arboretum, triptych
oil on tracing paper
99 by 69cm; 177 by 60cm; 99by 69cm

Sold for R 120 000
Including Buyer's Premium and VAT R 136 560

Estimate R 40 000 - 60 000


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Swinney’s work responds to the physical, virtual, and spiritual worlds around her. If art is to imitate life, then art, as Swinney’s paintings are, is a copy of a copy – leading us, again, towards illusion, rather than reality. Swinney engages with Plato’s philosophy of art, which describes the physical world as an imperfect and decaying copy of a perfect, eternal changeless original. This reverts back to the tensions made tangible by Swinney between unreal and hyper-real natural environments, such as aquariums, greenhouses, and botanical gardens. She depicts nature through illustrating the hyper-natural in a dream-like fog, defamiliarising it almost in an attempt to familiarise us with it: to make us feel what nature has been or could be.1

1. Lindsay Raymond (2019) Ruby Swinney: Hold Still. Cape Town, WHATIFTHEWORLD.


WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town Art Fair, 17 to 19 February 2017.



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