Adrian Fortuin

South Africa

About the Artist

Adrian Fortuin is a Johannesburg-based artist whose work explores the relationship between figuration and abstraction in the context of post-apartheid and post/de-colonial South Africa. Working in a range of media, the scope of which is primarily informed by a conceptual approach, Fortuin is interested in the limits of representation and how personal identity is connected to family, language, ancestry, community, and society more broadly. He draws on personal, public and popular image archives to investigate the role art can play in restitution, memorialising, and narrative-making.

Fortuin graduated from the Wits School of Arts with a Bachelor of Fine Art degree in 2020, and was the recipient of the Wits Young Artist Award and the Martienssen Prize in 2019. He is currently enrolled in the MA Fine Arts programme at Wits University in Johannesburg, where his practice has shifted from a performative and lens-based approach to a transmedia engagement with painting and drawing. His paintings are characterised by an obsessive process of revision, in which paintings are sedimented under newer paintings, so that the painted surface becomes an archive of thought and gestures, and a metaphor for the endurance of personal historical traces in the present.

Fortuin is influenced by the work of Tracey Rose, Moshekwa Langa, and Daisuke Yokota, as well as expressionist tendencies in African modernisms and postmodernisms. He has exhibited his work in group exhibitions in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Kampala, and the roaming African platform Boda Boda Lounge, and is featured as part of the SOLO section at the 2024 Investec Cape Town Art Fair. His work is held in a number of private collections.

Exhibitions

  • 2023 Fresh Voices (two-person show), Guns & Rain, Johannesburg
  • 2022 Parallel Process (group show), David Krut Projects, in association with FORMS Gallery
  • 2022 This Bird Has Flown (solo), Artist Admin, Cape Town, in association with FORMS Gallery
  • 2022 Time is a Broken Umbrella (Group show), AVA Cape Town and KZNSA, Durban, in association with FORMS Gallery
  • 2019 Wits Young Artist Award exhibition (group show)
  • 2018 Boda-boda lounge (group show), Kampala.

Grants, Residencies and Awards

  • 2022 David Krut Print Workshop residency, Johannesburg
  • 2023 Postgraduate Merit Award, Wits University, Johannesburg

Selected Works

A Pale Fire, A Blue Rider

2024
Oil painting and soft pastels on canvas
150 x 150 cm

Butcher Boys Blues

2024
Oil painting and soft pastels on canvas
80 x 60 cm

Lest We Forget

2024
Oil painting and soft pastels on canvas
160 x 120 cm

To come undone I chained my wings to the sky.

2023
Oil paint and oil pastel on canvas
Diptych
130 x 160 cm

Summer 95’

2023
Oil paint and oil pastel on canvas
50 x 50 cm

Beautiful boys in the wake

2023
Oil paint and oil pastel on canvas
140 x 140 cm

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