Important South African and International Art, Decorative Arts & Jewellery

Cape Town  |  10:30am Mon 5 Mar 2018


Select a Session

Go to Lot

Wim Botha; Fuse
Click on the image to zoom

Lot 615

South African 1974-
charred fire-resistant pine, wood and lacquer
height: 204cm including base

This lot did not sell

Estimate R 600 000 - 800 000

Click here to view all the results


Wim Botha’s bust depicting two lovers fused in gesture as well as body was first exhibited on a group exhibition at Stevenson. Curated by Federica Angelucci, the exhibition investigated “the complexity of the spheres of love, desire and self-inquiry”.1 Botha’s monumental study of heterosexual love was selected to develop as much as explore “the relationship that we have with ourselves, what we like and dislike, what we desire or reject, and why”. As is Botha’s manner, his work is not a settled repetition of two lovers in embrace. It is a macabre counterpoint to Auguste Rodin’s marble sculpture, The Kiss (1882), and yet very much part of a romantic tradition that encompasses Hindu temple sculpture and René Magritte’s The Lovers II (1928).

Botha is well known for his appropriation, mimicry and distortion of well-known symbols and icons – what the artist describes as “saturated images”.2 His method as an artist involves study, reflection and interpretation, often using unorthodox (non-classical) materials to express his final form. Botha has defined his role as artist as involving the appropriation of “an image that is so assimilated into the communal psyche, taking that image and presenting something that takes you by surprise, catches you off guard”.3

This lot is typical of a series of works from 2009-11 made from layers of bonded wood from which figures were carved in bust form. Botha has spoken of how he used to “anguish” over the process of making a bust, “because each one needed to be absolutely unique, which is farcical. I now see them as part of an on-going process … The one begets the other; it’s almost as if the same bust is being constantly remade.”4 In the manner of his busts and full-length figures made from carved bibles, Botha does not obscure his source material in this lot. If anything, it proudly reveals its materialism. Botha’s work poses questions about the relationship between form and material, and, further, asks how our understanding of a familiar icon, gesture or pose can be augmented, troubled or simply frustrated by the use of an unorthodox or profane material.


1. Press release, available at

2. Sean O’Toole. (2002) ‘Interview with Wim Botha’, Clean/Grime, Cape Town, Bell-Roberts. Page 6.

3. Ibid., page 6.

4. Wim Botha, Rooms: 2001-2014, Cape Town: Stevenson, 2014, Page 3.

Stevenson, Cape Town, What we talk about when we talk about love,  1 December 2011 to 14 January 2012.

Sophie Perryer (ed.) (2012) Wim Botha: Busts, 2003-2012. Cape Town: Stevenson. Illustrated in colour on pages 76 and 77.

Lot Images Select an image below to view

Other lots that might interest you

Lionel Smit; Morphous Maquette
Lot 633
Lionel Smit
Morphous Maquette

R 80 000 - 120 000
Robert Hodgins; Study After Michelangelo No 1
Lot 614
Robert Hodgins
Study After Michelangelo No 1

R 350 000 - 500 000
Gerard de Leeuw; Dialogue/Tweegesprek
Lot 566
Gerard de Leeuw

R 200 000 - 300 000
Sam Nhlengethwa; Observation No: 14. This is just in, we're mortal
Lot 502
Sam Nhlengethwa
Observation No: 14. This is just in, we're mortal

R 30 000 - 50 000
Lionel Smit; Delineation
Lot 634
Lionel Smit

R 80 000 - 120 000
Johann Louw; Groot Landskap-rotse, Piketberg
Lot 438
Johann Louw
Groot Landskap-rotse, Piketberg

R 30 000 - 50 000