TAXI-003 Jeremy Wafer

Born in Durban in 1953, Jeremy Wafer received his BA degree from the University of Natal and his Masters in Fine Art degree from the University of the Witwatersrand in 1987. Since then, his sculptural and print work has remained informed by an artistic language which is modular, minimal and contemplative, and which varies in aesthetic effect and social purpose. By way of a conceptual sensibility that is at once rigorously structured and radically open, Wafer explores with extreme subtlety the complex territories of culture and identity. His talent for engaging these themes through work that is as visually seductive as it is socially potent has brought him numerous awards and international residencies, and he has exhibited extensively both locally and abroad.

Wafer lives in Durban with his wife Colleen, who collaborates with him on most of his projects. He has taught at Natal Technikon since 1983.

The book consists of 100 pages with 24 pages of colour images and a soft cover.

The text in this book was written by Lola Frost and has been translated into French and Dutch.

Philippa Hobbs is the author for the educational supplement published with TAXI-003 Jeremy Wafer.



“System, order, and repetition may formally and consistently characterise the work of Jeremy Wafer, but these features are the substratum for a set of subtle, complex and powerful effects which operate together with a variety of social, cultural and ethical meditations. Wafer’s work from 1987 onwards has remained consistent in its commitment to an artistic language which is modular, minimal and contemplative, even as it varies in aesthetic effect and social purpose. What follows is an attempt to tease out the richness and value of this potent, socially nuanced and contemplative language. The aesthetic effects of this body of work are produced by a unique combination of features, ranging, for example, from the use of allusive metaphors to the self-conscious absence of metaphor. Wafer’s visual repertoire is part of a structure which is never independent from its constitutive social field, or from a holistic and integrating vision.

Growing up on a farm in Kwazulu-Natal in the 1960’s exposed Wafer to the materiality of objects and, as a consequence of this, to the metaphoric power of materials. This interest in materiality and metaphor was amplified by his Fine Art studies at the University of Natal (1979) and the University of the Witwatersrand (1980 and 1987), where his lecturers promoted the modernist idea of “truth to materials”. Wafer has not remained strictly true to this idea, in that many of his later pieces are illusions of materials (such as metal or pottery), and throughout his work the preoccupation is with their metaphoric possibilities.” […


Author: Lola Frost is an artist who has exhibited in South Africa and Britain, as well as lecturing in Art Theory at the Fine Art Department, Technikon Natal. She has written numerous reviews, articles and essays on contemporary South African art and is currently enrolled for a research degree at Goldsmiths College, University of London.

Publisher: David Krut Publishing
Series Editor: Brenda Atkinson
Design and layout: Paul Emmanuel
Cover Photograph: Colleen Wafer
Translations: French: Catherine Lauga du Plessis Dutch: Loes Nas
Published in association with the French Institute of South Africa (IFAS) and Pro Helvetia – Arts Council of Switzerland, the Royal Netherlands Embassy and MTN Art Institute
IFAS Director: Catherine Blondeau IFAS Books: Maud Félix-Faure
Pro Helvetia Liaison Office South Africa Director: Mirjam Asmal
Advisory Committee: Carol Brown, Philippa Hobbs, Stephen Hobbs, Senzeni Marasela, Zayd Minty, Robert Weinek
ISBN 0-620-27380-1
© Lola Frost, Jeremy Wafer and David Krut Publishing 2001


TAXI-003: Jeremy Wafer, available through David Krut Publishing