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Fabian Saptouw

Cape Town


Type of book work: Editioned / printed work; Digital work
Dimensions: 1000 x 700
Media: Digital Print - Epson

Artist's / designer's statements

This project entails the creation of text-based portraits of various South African tertiary institutions that feature all of the ISBN and ISSN entries in each institution's library database.


Type of book work: Unique / sculptural book-object (one-of-a-kind)
Dimensions: Variable
Media: Steadler HB Pencils, Monami erasers and A4 examination pads

Artist's / designer's statements

This project is a transcription of the entire textual content of 'On Writing and Difference'. The transcriptions of the text will be erased and the residue presented as the 'book'.

My artistic output is linked to four research topics; process art, materiality, the tension between text-image and the history of the printed word. These ideas are engaged in a variety media, often through a series of time and labour-intense production processes.

The taxing nature of the production processes are key because it defines the overall conceptual trajectory of each project. The projects often engage a product or a process with a level of intensity that is alien to its manufactured purpose. The logic of these decisions are embedded in the historical roots of the Process Art movement.

This artistic movement emphasized process as integral to artistic practice and the nuanced investigation of the materiality of the art-object. The artists' actually regarded the process as more important than the artwork. Other key issues tackled by the artists of the movement was an urge to render that production process transparent in the mind of the viewer, shifting away from the idea of the artwork as a collectable commodity and the utilization of experimental materials and processes to investigate conceptual concerns. There has been a contemporary resurgence of interest in the conceptual value of 'process' and process-based production in art. This is something evident in the recent number of texts, craft fairs, conferences and the rise to fame of various artists that employ time and labour-intense processes.

Artist / Academic


2009 Master of Fine Art with distinction, University of Cape Town - Michaelis School of Fine Art, South Africa
2006 BA: Fine Art with a distinction in Studiowork, University of Cape Town - Michaelis School of Fine Art, South Africa


2015 "Engaging the Archive". Solo exhibition. University of Cape Town Chancellor Oppenheimer Library, Bellville Library & Cape Town Central Library, Curated by Fabian Saptouw. 18 June - 29 July 2015 - 30 June 2016.
2013 "Regions A-G" Curated by Ruth Sacks and Talya Lubinsky at the Johannesburg City Library. Johannesburg
2012 "Context" Curated by Fabian Saptouw. Michaelis Galleries. Cape Town.
2011 "Open Books" Curated by Tim Leibbrandt and Johann du Plessis, I-Art Gallery. Cape Town.
2007 "Unravelled and Rewoven Canvas". Solo exhibition.
Michael Stevenson. Greenpoint.


2006 Michaelis Prize
2009 Golden Key - Visual and Performing Arts Award
2014 National Lottery Fund- Fieldworks project grant
2014-16 UCT Teaching Grant (with Jean Brundrit and Carmelita Lee Shong)
2015-17 NRF Community Engagement Programme (with Lucina Reddy and Sianne Abrahams)

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