Curatorial Voices: Modern and Contemporary Art from Africa

Live Virtual Auction, 28 February 2023

Curatorial Voices: Modern and Contemporary Art from Africa
About the Session

Curatorial Voices: Modern and Contemporary Art from Africa is a dynamic collaborative project conceived by Strauss & Co to address the need for diversified representation of artists from across the African continent in the secondary market. Curated by Strauss & Co Heads of Sale, Kirsty Colledge and Kate Fellens, with input by seven international art experts with embedded knowledge of Africa; Serge Tiroche, Valerie Kabov, Heba Elkayal, Danda Jaroljmek, Anne Kariuki, Dana Endundo Ferreira, Kimberley Cunningham. Curatorial Voices presents collectors with a broad selection of work by leading contemporary artists alongside select pieces by important historical artists.

Sold for

ZAR 199 325
Lot 2
  • Chris Soal; An Unfolding in Time
  • Chris Soal; An Unfolding in Time
  • Chris Soal; An Unfolding in Time

Lot Estimate
ZAR 160 000 - 240 000
Selling Price
Incl. Buyer's Premium & VAT
ZAR 199 325

About this Item

South African 1994-
An Unfolding in Time

accompanied by a Chris Soal certificate of authenticity signed, dated 2021, inscribed with the title and medium

bamboo and birch wood toothpicks, polyurethane sealant on board
height: 117cm; width: 124cm; depth: 18cm


An unfolding in time (2021) is emblematic of the artist’s evolving and explorative body of work with the humble toothpick. Tonality in the work comes from the combination of toothpicks made respectively from birch wood and bamboo, and leaves the impression of having organically grown out of the wall to occupy the same space we reside in. Suggestive of pelts, animal skins, coral, and organic forms, the work speaks to a relationship between nature and culture that needs addressing in the face of the pressing ecological concerns of our time.

The title acknowledges the laborious making of the work, while also acknowledging the time that the birch wood and bamboo would have taken to grow before being reduced to the sliver that is momentarily utilised and then forever discarded. Form can only come through careful observation and patient working.

Chris Soal is an award-winning, emerging South African artist. Soal’s studio-based practice is sculptural in its output, working with objects and materials in ways which show not only a conceptual engagement with the contexts and histories of the objects but also re-enforce the body as a site for knowledge reception and production. Soal’s works seek to make a poetic statement through the simplest of means, engaging the viewer’s spatial awareness and perception while challenging societal assumptions of value. Through his use of discarded and mundane ephemera, such as toothpicks and bottle caps, along with concrete, rebar, electric fencing cable, and other industrial materials,

Soal’s work intuitively develops the familiar to the point of the uncanny. Soal’s works can be considered as a social abstraction that is deeply rooted and reflective of having grown up in Johannesburg, South Africa. Foregrounding our current pressing ecological concerns, the artist’s works with toothpicks primarily consider and seek to expose the paradoxical relationship humankind has with nature, that of simultaneous dependence and domination.

Biography courtesy of the artist. Images courtesy of Hayden Phipps and the artist.


Private Collection.

View all Chris Soal lots for sale in this auction

Other lots that might interest you
Nandipha Mntambo; Quiet Acts of Affection (A)
Nandipha Mntambo
Quiet Acts of Affection (A)
ZAR 40 000 - 60 000
Troy Makaza; Vision
Troy Makaza
ZAR 35 000 - 50 000
Rodan Kane Hart; Figures and Forms, Shelving Unit
Rodan Kane Hart
Figures and Forms, Shelving Unit
ZAR 45 000 - 55 000
Serge Alain Nitegeka; Fragile Cargo II; Studio Study II, diptych
Serge Alain Nitegeka
Fragile Cargo II; Studio Study II, diptych
ZAR 300 000 - 500 000
Atang Tshikare; Modimolle, five
Atang Tshikare
Modimolle, five
ZAR 60 000 - 80 000
Athi-Patra Ruga; Proposed Model for Tseko Simon Nkoli Memorial
Athi-Patra Ruga
Proposed Model for Tseko Simon Nkoli Memorial
ZAR 500 000 - 700 000