Die Noute/The Narrowing 2019 combines Coetzee’s love for stone and asking questions. It is a question in stone, or rather a collection of stones asking a question.
What is the question? How do we interact with nature, something we are so far removed from? What will drive us to alleviate the effects climate change? How can we design cities to work with nature, and not against it? Global warming is certainly set in stone, but how we can soften the blow of the environmental disasters coming our way, is still up in the air.
To ask this question, Hannelie went to the mountain, well, to a white granite koppie in the Kalahari. She chose a 100-ton off-cut from the quarry and brought the mountain to Joburg. She deconstructed her sliver into 90 pillars and reconstructed it on William Nicol, but with a pathway leading through the mountain. You can see the geology, the history of the stone, on both sides.
Passers-by will be overwhelmed by the sheer size of the brilliantly white deconstructed mountain, by the ice age creature about to pounce. It is however the primal experience of walking into the belly of the mountain that will move people. It is almost like stepping onto consecrated ground. You are enveloped by a quiet cave-like structure and brought to a standstill. It is this experience, this pause from life, that the artist hopes will make people start asking the hard questions about our future.
Hannelie believes that the answers will require different disciplines to work together. She aligns herself with scientists, engineers and architects; partners who are willing to question the status quo. The Sandton Gate Precinct is the partner for this round. Instead of treating the art as an afterthought, as a decorative sculpture to be plonked down once the lawn has settled, they involved Hannelie from the outset. They were open to letting her work alongside their engineers, architects and builders as the development grows.
Die Noute/The Narrowing 2019 is the first in a series of questions to be asked at the Sandton Gate Precinct, in collaboration with artist, Hannelie Coetzee.”