Porky Hefer’s works have become a well-loved fixture on the global design circuit. At the end of August, these playful and immersive nest environments will return from the world stage to join new works for his first solo show in Johannesburg.
The human scale nests and living pods are both fantasy world and furniture – beautifully crafted, functional but alive somehow and evocative of childhood and wildness. ‘Porky is a designer who makes art’, says Southern Guild co-founder Julian McGowan. ‘The apparent playfulness of the work belies the depth of thinking.’
Recurring themes are the loss of instinct, humanity’s preoccupation with received wisdom and the lessons implicit in the natural world. By engaging with these works – climbing into ‘Shell’ or perching on ‘Leopard Branch’, for example – audiences are returned to a child-like state, awake to instinct and immediate perception.
Porky embraces the skills and processes that are readily available indigenously, rather than trying to emulate foreign processes. He executes his pieces intuitively and employs age-old techniques and skills, working alongside local craftsmen at the historic leather merchant Woodheads and The Cape Town Society for the Blind.
Porky is the recipient of the 2013 Design Foundation Icon Award, represented South Africa at the inaugural London Design Biennale and had a solo show at R & Company in New York this January. His ‘Fiona Blackfish’, which forms part of the show, was acquired by the National Gallery of Victoria and is the first museum acquisition in the field of collectible South African design.
The Porky Hefer solo runs from 31 August to 4 November 2017
Southern Guild Gallery
19 Keyes Avenue