The life of the artist J.P. Meyer

Last year, J.P. Meyer was artist in residence at Forster Gallery. Even after his stay in January 2022, the contact has remained intensive. The exchange is to be continued with another residency in December/January 2023/2024.

Is the memory of the residence in the Forster Gallery still present?
Oh yes! The wonderful time I spent at Forster Gallery in January 2022 is still very much alive. In fact, I often long to return, and I know that wish will come true at the end of the year. That’s fantastic.

What have been the highlights after the first residency so far?
I was very often able to do what I love most: spend time in my studio in Porterville, near Cape Town, painting, planning and experimenting with colors. I also received an invitation to design a book cover. A new exciting challenge for me. I participated in several group exhibitions and had a big joint exhibition called “play play” with two friends at the Daor Gallery in Cape Town.

In June 2022, I was privileged to curate an exhibition for the Glen Carlou Gallery in Stellenbosch. I asked sixteen artists to contribute two works each and one sentence that included the word “Paint.” The idea behind “Paint” was to give viewers a glimpse of the variety of styles, perspectives, subjects and media that contemporary painting has to offer.

The artistic hotspot in Europe?
That’s the Biennale di Venezia. For me, this international art exhibition is always a great source of inspiration and I try not to miss it. My favorite artist at the 2022 Biennale was the Belgian action artist Francis Alys, who lives and works in Mexico.

Your latest inspiration?
A trip to Japan has been at the top of my wish list for a long time. In May I had the wonderful opportunity to visit and exhibit in Japan. Our exhibition “Crossroads” was organized by sculptor Eiichi Tsujino. It was held at Kamado Gallery in Sakaide on the island of Shikoku. Two Japanese and two South African artists participated.

Which Japanese artist is your favorite?
One of my favorite artists in Japan is Tadanori Yokoo.

Does the trip to Japan still resonate?
Right after my trip to Japan, I opened four group exhibitions in South Africa in June. So I was and am very busy. But in my mind I keep returning to the Japanese artists I saw during my stay. I’m really in love with the tradition of Japanese woodblock printing, and I’m excited to see what influence it will have on my work.

Paintings from J.P. Meyer in the Forster Gallery


An insider’s view from Marina Majiba
This painting fascinated and irritated me. Because there is no trace of a party. Only a sultan sitting on his chair, festively dressed. J.P. Meyer explained to me why the picture is titled “The Party”: “The Sultan has dressed up for the party according to the etiquette of the time for correct dress and is now waiting in his dressing room for his appearance. – Different times, different customs.” We are curious to see if and how Zanzibari “sultans and princesses” of the present will become an artistic theme at J.P. Meyer’s next residency.