PPC Imaginarium: sticks and stones create a masterpiece

11 January 2019

Chris Soal is an award-winning artist living and practicing in Johannesburg. Using found materials as his departure point, Soal’s sculptural and spatial approach to making art is driven by formal concerns such as texture, light and form expressed in an abstract minimalist language. Conceptually, his works refer to the political context of their making, highlighting the histories embedded in the found material, and utilising them in a way that challenges societal assumptions of value.

In 2017, Soal graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts (Hons) at the University of Witwatersrand. He was awarded the overall PPC Imaginarium Award in 2018, alongside being named the winner of the Sculpture category. Soal has been awarded residencies by the South African Foundation of Contemporary Art and invited as a research fellow by the RAW Material Company in Dakar, Senegal.

He has exhibited in many group shows, had his first solo exhibition in Johannesburg in 2018. Soal’s work has been included in many notable private and public collections, both locally and internationally.

One of his pieces that received a high level of attention early in 2018, is called “In a time of peace there was a casualty of war” and is a continuation of his exploration of the use of materials such as toothpicks and concrete. By juxtaposing the toothpicks and concrete, a textural and visual contrast is created in the work, which Soal hoped to push further through the paradox of the title. This piece of work is currently in the collection of Allude Cashmere’s founder, Andrea Karg, in Berlin.

Soal explains that the PPC Imaginarium has made him more conscious of the fact that artists and creatives are professionals. Artists are people who the industry can and should take seriously. He notes the fact that the PPC Imaginarium has invested R150 000 in his work as an incredible compliment; at the same time, it shows that the competition takes what he does very seriously.

The recognition from PPC was important in developing my thinking around artists as cultural producers and as figures who have the potential to be instrumental in societal change.”

More information at

Read the latest issue

Latest Issue