Born in 1982 in Freestate, South Africa. Kobus grew up on a farm in Viljoenskroon, a small town between Klerksdorp and Potchefstroom. Matriculating in 2000, he received his schooling in Klerksdorp. He moved to Pretoria in 2001, studying at the then Pretoria Technicon, majoring in Sculpture and Ceramic studies and further lecturing for the ceramics department in 2004. He also regularly participated in competitions and student and staff exhibitions during this time.
Kobus can be understood as a prolific and versatile sculptural creator. He explores the poetry of the human form and expresses a deep curiosity for the narratives the body bears within it. Although he is most strongly connected to the tradition of woodcarving, he has also turned to cast bronze, welded steel, ceramics, and fire sculpture as additional avenues of creative output. Kobus’s work reminisces on the whimsy of folktales and the storytelling that takes place around campfires. His sculptural expressions are raw and authentic; the slashes and tears in his work create texture and embody the unfiltered nature of traditional story-sharing. Whilst there is an impulsiveness and spontaneity in his work, he still displays decisive and intentional deliberation which can be credited to his meticulous training in the craft.
After graduating in 2005, Kobus moved to Cape Town in 2006. He started working from a studio at 3 Foregate street in Woodstock where he collaboratively runs 4G8 foundry, which he set up with fellow artist and sculptor Egon Tania.
In 2008 la Grange entered the Sasol new signatures competition, winning the merit prize. Inspired by images of athletes, he carved figures directly from solid beams with chainsaws and grinders, using salvaged wood for the podium.
Whilst visiting his parent on a farm in the Vaal, he created work that draws on the anticipation and tensions of South Africa hosting the Soccer World cup the following year. The work La Grange produced during this time, was later included in a two man show with Nigel Mullins in Stellenbosch in November 2009.
Following this, in 2010, choosing “adolescence” as his subject matter, La Grange started increasing the scale of his work. His sculpting process involved gluing together blocks of wood and then carving from these larger blocks. In June, these larger sculptures were exhibited at the group show Flow, organised by the respected art dealer, Carol Lee in Johannesburg. This was the first of many exhibitions in collaboration with Lee.
He and painter Gabrielle Raaf continued with the theme of adolescence during their two persons show in February 2011 in Stellenbosch.
Following this show, La Grange returned to carving figures from solid beams, which were sourced from the docks in Cape Town. Concentrating on male figures, he incorporated orbs and other geometric shapes into their compositions, to create cohesive yet open-ended narratives. To create rhythm and stratification, he staggered the heights of the beams, whilst still keeping the figure in a similar dimension.
In late 2012, La Grange by chance found timber off-cuts from the décor factory of the Spur restaurant chain. These laminated blocks then offered him the opportunity to again work on a larger scale and return to larger sculptural pieces.
In 2013 la Grange engaged in both carving out solid blocks and working with laminated blocks, incorporating found objects which he used to add to elevate the narrative element of his work. During this time, he also travelled to southwest USA, forming part of a team of South African artists participating in the Burning Man festival.
La Grange exhibited a large figurative work of two boys chasing one another, in the 2014 solo exhibition, The View Keeps Changing, held in Franschhoek. He used laminated blocks of wood carved from solid beams depicting the scene set in a stairwell. H included cast bronze sculptures of laughing Chinese figurine combined with R5-coins, and also incorporating various other elements found at Milnerton flea market.
In 2017, La Grange produced works in Belgium, near the town of Lummen, and returned in May 2018 to finalise his exhibit of 21 works in Hasselt. The show was titled Motsamai, meaning the one who walks or a traveller in Southern Sotho. Importantly, La Grange draws inspiration from the people he meets and the experiences during his travels.
During 2020s lockdown period, La Grange’s focus began to shift back to woodwork during the and in December he moves into a studio dedicated to wood sculpture in Observatory. In January 2021, he exhibited alongside painter Phillip Willem Badenhorst in Wellington at the Breytenbach centre, the exhibition draws inspiration from the literary works of South African writer the Karel Schoeman.
In December La Grange opened the solo exhibition to Kill the Flame, at SMAC gallery in Woodstock, Cape Town. 31 works were exhibited, figures roughly hewn from beams with only a chainsaw and dyed black- the works are inspired by the regeneration of a landscape after a fire. Selected works are exhibited at Cape Town Art Fair in Feb 2022.
2023 Optimal Vibration, Group Exhibition, Graham Contemporary, Johannesburg
Sunny Side Up, Group Exhibition, Graham Contemporary, Johannesburg
2022 New Day Spring Group Exhibition, Graham Contemporary, Johannesburg
Turbine Art Fair, Johannesburg Cape Town Art Fair
2021 Exhibition alongside painter, Phillip Willem Badenhorst at Breytenbach Centre, the exhibition draws on the works of writer, Karel Schoeman. Kill the Flame, solo exhibition, SMAC Gallery, Cape Town
2019 Medulla solo exhibition, Franschhoek Buncka Kulcha group exhibition, St John’s College, Johannesburg Sculpt X, Johannesburg
2018 Motsamai, Hassalt, Belgium
2015 Solo exhibition, Pretoria Travels to Graulhet, France to join Guy du Toit and Egon Tania for a 5-week guerrilla bronze casting workshop
2014 The View Keeps Changing, solo exhibition, Franschhoek
2013 Burning Man Festival, travels to US as part of a crew of participating South African Artists
2011 Relation, Two person exhibition with Gabrielle Raaff, Stellenbosch
2010 Flow, Carol Lee Fine Art, Johannesburg
2009 Two man exhibition with Nigel Mullins, Stellenbosch (The work exhibited here draws on the anticipation and tensions of South Africa hosting Soccer world cup the following year)
2008 Awarded the Merit Prize, Sasol New Signature Competition