city, houses

Art as Exploration

Elsa Young


ABOVE: The living room is dominated by mid-century designs includig Mies van der Rohe's Barcelona Table and Hans J Wegner's CH24 Wishbone Chairs, which were imported in the early 1960s, and the Bertoia Bird Chair. The circular side table is by Ercol. The circular work above the cabinet is by Andrzej Urbanski. The gun fetish work is by Michael MacGarry.

The Joburg home of Warren Siebrits and Lunetta Bartz pulses with the energy of their fascinating collections of art, design and ephemera

Art collector, curator, consultant and dealer Warren Siebrits likes to quote Walter Gropius, father of modernism and founder of the Bauhaus art school: 'All men are born with eyes, and through education they learn how to see.'

kentridge

CAPTION: An edition of 'Fire Walker' by William Kentridge and Gerard Marx greets visitors in the courtyard of the Illovo, Joburg, home of Warren Siebrits and Lunette Bartz, which was designed by visionary architects Michael Sutton and David Walker. The large ceramic on the wall is by Bill Hart and was commissioned with the building. Anthony Philbrick of Wetland Pools added the eco pool with a wetland filtration system in 2009. The bricked outside area was restored - it had white tiles and fibreglass patio cover, which was removed too. 'We "un-altered" it,' says Lunette.

For Warren and his wife Lunetta, collecting art is not about possession or investment. Rather, it represents an exploration of the world through the hidden language of objects and their histories. Warren collects to learn and discover, 'to piece history together through collecting'.

livingroombartz

CAPTION: A large scale work by Deborah Poynton entitled 'Surrender' graces the living room.

'To be a collector, you have to research. You have to immerse yourself in something,' he says. 'It’s the journey that’s the interesting part. It's not the things themselves.' That's why his art collection is supplemented by archives of correspondence, old journal articles, photographs and more.

'What do these things mean in the evolution of consciousness and change, intellectual development?' - Warren

study

The house itself is significant in this way. It is a townhouse designed by Michael Sutton and David Walker in 1981. In the architecture section of the bookshelf, you’ll find the classic works of Joburg architectural history, Johannesburg Style and Johannesburg Transition, by Clive Chipkin. In them, Chipkin notes that Sutton and Walker pioneered 'a new modern vernacular' in post-war Joburg architecture.

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CAPTION: Warren and Lunetta in the spare bedroom. The Le Bambole bed by Mario Bellini is from a limited edition of 200. The walls are filled with photographic works, including one from Pieter Hugo's 'Looking Aside' series.

Styling Heather Boting

The full article originally published in HL September 2015