It’s always tempting, when looking at the work of the 80 finalists of the Sasol New Signatures competition, to try and guess at the direction that contemporary art is going. You can play a game with yourself in which you try and spot the next big thing. You’re almost guaranteed to be wrong, go off on a tangent or miss something obvious right under your nose, but as Sasol New Signatures chair Pieter Binsbergen says: “These are works that stand as barometers or signs of our time in terms of contemporary visual communication.” Trying to tease out the trends can be almost as satisfying as looking at the artworks themselves.

They’re sometimes astoundingly original, sometimes naive or derivative – you can play another game spotting who loves William Kentridge the most, or Willem Boshoff or Mary Sibande or Kendell Geers or Nelson Makamo – but always fascinating. Regardless of talent, the exhibition is also a window onto the issues that preoccupy the predominantly young (and sometimes...

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