THE SPACE

an inspiring double volume space situated in the centre of Franschhoek that incorporates a variety of fine art and design disciplines without relying on existing concepts of a gallery. Patrizia Litty enjoys combining contradicting  elements, at the same time creating space for continuous flow and change, allowing the exhibits to interact instead of displaying isolated pieces. At present the gallery showcases the work of established artists side by side emerging “young guns” which will grant a sense of fluidity to the one and stability to the other, ultimately creating a visual engaging display for the viewer. The mix of elements creates a sense of surprise, dissolving existing barriers between disciplines, erasing the necessity for distinction and simply allowing the joy of experiencing beauty and individuality.

The gallery is also the home of ANPA Jewellery in Franschhoek.

interview with

Patrizia Litty | Owner | Curator

by Jeandre Leslie

Jeandre: When did you start ODA? Why? What does ODA mean?

ODA | objekt.design.art

The name is self exploratory when written correctly. The “objekt” is consciously written with a K as the meaning of the word is a more comprehensive and interesting one in the German language as well as refers to my German roots. The name stirs away from the traditional manner in which galleries are named after the owner/curator, indicating that at ODA the artist and his/her work are the center of attention. In my mind OBJEKT and DESIGN and ART are closely linked and in a modern context even interchangeable. In this digital age, the borders between different disciplines begin to melt where artists use 3-d technology to create or modify sculptures or designers grab a paint brush to artistically add to their work. The traditional model of an “art gallery” needs to be revisited and transformed in order for galleries to remain relevant in the future

Jeandre: Why be based in Franschhoek? 

Franschhoek offers an entire world within a nutshell. Both national as well as international visitors will frequent this gem of a place due to its scenic beauty, impressive culinary offerings or European style shopping on a visually pleasing high street. The village lends itself perfectly to establish a business that involves luxury and culture. On a more practical note, rentals are more affordable than in an urban environment and space is the one ingredient that is definitely required when opening an art gallery. On a more romantic note it is worth while to mention that I am of Huguenot descent and hence the circle closes for me to return to a settlement that was founded by Huguenots.

Jeandre: What sets your gallery apart from its peers?

As mentioned earlier on, ODA focuses on the artist. I establish close relationships with the ODA artists and my philosophy goes beyond “art as a business” but also try to support artists beyond ODA. Stanislaw Trzebinski was the first artist to come on board and ODA has supported his endeavors beyond the normal tasks of an art gallery.

Michaela Rinaldi who is such a fascinating artist with a classic female story. She only started her career after completing her domestic responsibilities towards her children etc. Her story stands out as she developed a full-time career whereas many women will turn towards the arts when left with more time but on a more hobby like scale. I have been involved with women rights since I am 15 years old, obviously this focus shows now in the way I develop the gallery as well. Just a little insight: It took the European wing of the museum of modern art 40(!!!) years to stage a solo exhibition by a female artist. I am sure, you agree that we have quite a lot of marketing and cleaning up the act, to do here. ODA includes other female artists such as Isobel O’Connor, Sandy Godwin and Samantha Morgan. Still, ODA is not a gallery run by a woman for women but it is definitely an interesting element of the complete concept.

The focus on the individual artist remains the central theme, hence ODA does not display an endless list of artists or shows an mind blowing change of different exhibitions but rather focuses on a small, selected group of artists. I also believe that displaying art is a form of story telling which is also such a strong element within an African context. Hence, for me it is impossible to simply show ONE work from an artist – there need to be at least 2 or 3 or more in order to fulfill the idea of “telling a story”.

Thirdly the gallery mixes different elements without creating limitations. ODA blurs the lines between fine art, design, ceramic (considered a craft) etc. which I feel is in line with a global development. I mean, who would have thought 20 years ago (just as an example) that a set designer for fashion shoots would publish several coffee table books , documentaries as well as sell a memoir – see Grace Coddington…………

Jeandre: What do you look for in artists? How do you select whom to feature?

ODA is still in the process of developing a distinct hand writing without loosing the ability to experiment. Many people  tend to mix the notion of art that they like with the fact of how to distinguish good art. The main focus remains on presenting good art which for me follows a clear definition:

  1. The artist needs to spend extensive time on her/his work, best full-time in order to develop the high level CRAFT that is required to become a fine artist.
  2. The artist needs to be recognizable, speak, show a distinct own handwriting, completely different from anybody else out there.
  3. Art needs to be the voice of what is happening NOW, right out there or at least run a commentary on either global developments or a closer to home environment.

Jeandre: What are the biggest obstacles to owning a gallery?

Not to be passionate about / completely dedicated to art and artists.

Jeandre: Any celebrity clients?

Would never disclose any such information in the public eye.