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Fabian Saptouw

Fabian Saptouw completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a distinction in studiowork in 2006, and a Master of Fine Arts with distinction in 2009 at UCT Michaelis School of Fine Art.   He is currently a Senior Lecturer at the school and teaches a variety of undergraduate and postgraduate courses.  His disciplinary base is Painting but he has also made contributions to the Printmaking, New Media and the Art History and Discourse of Art section. He supervises in the MFA, MAFA and the BA Honours Curatorship programs as well as Postgraduate Diploma students. He has a vested interest in teaching projects that intersect with social responsiveness and has collaborated with the Office for Inclusivity and Change to develop projects with students and external parties.

Saptouw’s research interests include Bookmaking, Text-Image studies, the history of the printed word and the relationship of these concepts to the contemporary manifestation of the artist’s book. This interest in the infinite possibilities of text is paired with an interest in Process Art, Materiality and Conceptualism.

His research projects include exhibitions of his own creative work as well as curated exhibitions. Notable solo shows include Unraveled and Rewoven Canvas at the Michael Stevenson Side Gallery, Cape Town in 2007 and Engaging the Archive at the University of Cape Town Chancellor Oppenheimer Library, Bellville Library and Cape Town Central Library in 2015.

Group shows include New World Order at The Turbine Art Fair in 2020, Conversations at the Michaelis Galleries in 2019 and Booknesses: South African Artists’ Books at the FADA Gallery in 2017. Earlier shows include Difference Loom at the SANG Annex in 2013, Regions A-G at the Johannesburg National Library in 2013 and However at the Arthub Gallery in 2015. 

Curated exhibitions include the following: Context at the Michaelis Gallery in 2012 and co-curated Suspicious Mind with Nina Liebenberg at the Michaelis Gallery in 2013.  Suspicious Mind was represented at the Iziko South African Gallery Annex as part of Brainstorm the City - a World Design Capital project 2014.

Fabian Saptouw is currently registered for his PhD and his research project entails delving into the archive as a site for meaning making through curatorial investigation. The project investigates the slippages between the archival object and its digital surrogate, with specific reference to the manuscript object. An additional interest is the consideration of what the library of the future will become in light of the multi-sensorial nature of reading as a performative act that simultaneously reaches into the past and the future.

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