The consumer’s Christmas, questioned

Cape Town’s THEFOURTH explores and reimagines the festive season with their latest exhibition.

A pampas grass Christmas tree featuring surprising symbology. Suspended tinselled sculptures. The framed nostalgia of family portraits. This is Christmas as you’ve never experienced it before.

Lifestyling readers will be familiar with our advocacy of conscious capitalism, and THEFOURTH’s latest exhibition entitled “The Spectacle” proves a powerful parallel. It is an active consideration of the relentless cycle of production and consumption, reflected by the ubiquitous end-of-year festivities. It questions what our often-unconscious annual habits and actions convey, and leaves us wondering whether things will be different in 2021? 

If you don’t know it yet, THEFOURTH is a hybrid between art gallery and design showroom in Cape Town – the brainchild of artist Rodan Kane Hart and interior curator Maybe Corpaci. Their latest show offers an introspective and reflective “Christmas” theme – buttressing the familiar with the new as they ask: “Has humanity’s bout with chaos presented any alternatives worthy of unwrapping?”

What does the festive season actually mean? What would happen if we were to radicalise and improvise new interpretations of it? What has been lost (or, indeed, gained) over this traditionally celebratory time due to the Covid pandemic? “The Spectacle” is a reference to philosopher Guy Debord’s “The Society of the Spectacle”, and his analysis of consumerism, performance and the public square. 

“The Spectacle” proposes multi-faceted responses to these questions through commissioned works by local artists, designers and makers – coupled with furniture pieces by international brands. It examines the locus of Christmas within capitalism – and its resultant commercialization. Furthermore, by taking art and design away from the quintessential gallery space, and allowing participants to converge in an urban environment, the exhibit manages to create a kind of meta-alternative.

To visit THEFOURTH, book a slot via email at, or send a DM to their Instagram account @___thefourth___

“The Spectacle” exhibition closes on 22 February 2021.

4th floor, Exchange Building,
28 St. Georges Mall
Cape Town CBD

Hours: Tue-Fri 10-5pm

Words and production: J-P de la Chaumette
Photography: Supplied

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