WITW

Mary Sibande


The Reign

The Reign 2010, Mixed Media,

Admiration of the Purple Queen

Admiration of the Purple Queen , Photograph,

A Reversed Retrogress, scene 1

A Reversed Retrogress, scene 1 , Installation,

A Terrible Beauty is Born

A Terrible Beauty is Born , Photograph,

Standard Bank Young Artist: The Purple Shall Govern

Standard Bank Young Artist: The Purple Shall Govern 2013, Exhibition Invitation,

The Purple Shall Govern

The Purple Shall Govern 2013, Installation,

The Purple Shall Govern'

The Purple Shall Govern' 2013, Installation,

I am a Lady

I am a Lady , Photograph,

They don’t make them like they used to

They don’t make them like they used to , Photo,

The Reign

The Reign , Sculpture,

Lovers in Tango

Lovers in Tango 2011, Installation, Courtesy stunned via Flickr

The Reign

The Reign , Sculpture,

Wish You Were Here

Wish You Were Here 2010, Installation,

Lovers in Tango

Lovers in Tango 2011, Mixed media installation (Fibreglass and 100% cotton fabric), 10,000x300cm

...of Prosperity

...of Prosperity 2011, Mixed media installation (Fibreglass and 100% cotton fabric), 187x300x300cm

…of Prosperity

…of Prosperity 2011, Mixed media, South African Pavilion

Her Majesty Queen Sophie

Her Majesty Queen Sophie 2010, Digital print, 110x80cm
Image courtesy of Gallery MOMO

Conversations with Madam CJ Walker

Conversations with Madam CJ Walker 2009 , Mixed media installation,

I put a spell on me

I put a spell on me 2008, digital print on cotton rag matte paper, 90 x 60cm

The wait seems to go on forever

The wait seems to go on forever 2008, digital print on cotton rag matte paper, 90 x 60cm

Caught up in the rapture

Caught up in the rapture 2008, digital print on cotton rag matte paper, 90 x 60cm

I’m a lady

I’m a lady 2008, digital print on cotton rag matte paper, 90 x 60cm

They don’t make them like they used to

They don’t make them like they used to 2008, digital print on cotton rag matte paper, 90 x 60cm

I am a lady

I am a lady 2009, digital print on cotton rag paper, 62 x 60cm

Current Review(s)

Long live the dead Queen

Mary Sibande at Gallery MOMO

Mary Sibande’s exhibition ‘Long Live the Dead Queen’ at the Gallery MOMO in Johannesburg consists of life size mannequins and photographs thereof. The faces of the mannequins are a cast of Sibande’s own face and the figures are clothed in an elaborate hybrid of a 'maids' uniform and Victorian dresses. According to the artist’s statement, 'the body… and particularly the skin, and clothing is the site where history is contested and fantasies are played out'. The histories being played out here are the 'stereotypical depictions of women, particularly black women in our society'. One cannot deny that the figure of `the maid’ is one of South Africa’s most common stereotypes.

Stereotypes are contradictory in the sense that on the one hand they stand in for a group in the most generalised and recognisable way, but on the other hand are also invisible through the process of generalisation. The `servant’ traditionally is conceived of as an invisible, sightless, deaf and mute figure to those she serves. She has no individuality, and one of the ways this is realised is through the uniform. The uniform literally covers the body but at the same time covers the clothing of the `maid’ that might identify her as an individual who has made particular sartorial decisions.

Sibande’s 'maids' uniforms, however, have been extended and remodelled into lavish and voluptuous dresses. Sibande has used masses of tulle to create the over-feminised costume of the Victorian `lady’ as in  I’m a Lady, (2009).  The extravagance of the dresses disables the figures from easy movement, let alone to be able to perform the work of a `maid’. This inability to perform tasks, ironically, becomes a marker of status: a figure dressed as such would have to be waited on, her inaction indicating her position in the hierarchy.


09 July 2009 - 03 August 2009

The Purple Shall Govern

Mary Sibande at Iziko South African National Gallery

My viewing of Mary Sibande’s Standard Bank Young Artist Award exhibition, ‘The Purple Shall Govern’, was preceded with a near-unanimous account, from those who had seen it, that the exhibition was perplexing. Encountering the work first-hand, it was immediately apparent that both the space in which this leg of the touring exhibition has been installed and the content of the exhibition itself are bound to raise eyebrows.

While the title, ‘The Purple Shall Govern’,  derives from an incident in 1989 where anti-apartheid protestors were sprayed with purple dye for easy identification later, this political origin has little relation to the sentient mass of tangled vines and tentacles which make up “the purple” in Sibande’s work. Aided by factors such as the “scene 1” in the title of one of the exhibition’s major works, A Reversed Retrogress, scene 1 (2013), the dominant impression of ‘The Purple Shall Govern’ is that this exhibition is only a prologue to something larger. Factoring in Sibande’s work on Gallery MOMO’s display at the FNB Joburg Art Fair this year, her contribution to the 12th Biennale de Lyon and her project at Galeries Lafayette in Paris, the title reads as a statement of intent for Sibande’s practice in the near future.


27 November 2013 - 15 January 2014

Listings(s)

Long live the dead Queen

Mary Sibande at Gallery MOMO

Sibande continues to explore the construction of identity in a postcolonial South African context, critiquing stereotypical depictions of women, and black women in particular. A domestic servant uniform is transformed into Victorian dress by Sibande, probing power relationships between women, as particular to the colonial, and current, relationship of maid and 'madam'.


09 July 2009 - 03 August 2009

'(Re)Constructions: Contemporary Art from South Africa'

Mary Sibande, Tracey Rose, Various Artists, Lawrence Lemaoana and Kagiso Pat Mautloa at Museu de Arte Contemporanea de Niteroi (MAC)

Curated by Daniella Géo, this exhibition brings together 13 artists from South Africa, from emerging young artists to those internationally established. All of their works have a close relationship to the notion of reconstruction, whether conceptually or aesthetically. The range of diverse works reflects the multiplicity of artistic strategies in post-apartheid South African society.The exhibition programme includes a round table, educational activities, guided tours for public schools, and a bilingual catalogue.

Artists: Roger Ballen, Dineo Seshee Bopape, David Goldblatt, Diana Hyslop, William Kentridge, Lawrence Lemaona, Kagiso Pat Mautloa, Santu Mofokeng, Sam Nhlengethwa, Thenjiwe Nkosi, Tracey Rose, Lerato Shadi and Mary Sibande


19 March 2011 - 15 May 2011

'ARS 11'

Mary Sibande, Pieter Hugo, Steven Cohen, Kudzanai Chiurai, Nandipha Mntambo and Andrew Putter at Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma

'ARS 11' is a major international art event filling Helsinki's Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art with artworks, performances, screenings, discussions and workshops, and extending to eight cities in Finland as well as to Stockholm, Sweden. Investigating Africa in contemporary art, the exhibition includes not only artists living in Africa, but also those who live outside the continent; artists of African descent as well as Western artists who address African issues in their work. The exhibition features some 300 works by a total of 30 artists, including Mary Sibande, Kudzanai Chiurai, Nandipha Mntambo, Andrew Putter, Steven Cohen and Pieter Hugo.


15 April 2011 - 27 November 2011

'The Rainbow Nation'

Wim Botha, Jane Alexander, Mary Sibande, Paul Edmunds, Willie Bester, Nandipha Mntambo and Nicholas Hlobo at Various venues around The Hague

This year, the Hague Sculpture Festival focuses on South Africa, with more than 50 sculptures by major artists of the past 60 years from 29 May to 9 September on the Lange Voorhout and from 8 June to 30 September in Museum Beelden aan Zee. The artists at the exhibition range across three generations. The first generation is represented by artists including Edoardo Villa, Sidney Kumalo and Noria Mabasa. Andries Botha, Willie Bester, Jane Alexander and Angus Taylor are among the second generation artists. Works by artists such as Wim Botha, Paul Edmunds, Nicolas Hlobo, Nandipha Mntambo and Claudette Schreuders represent the third and youngest generation. Nelson Mandela International Day will be celebrated in The Hague on Wednesday, July 18 with the unveiling of the Nelson Mandela monument by Dutch sculptor Arie Schippers.


29 May 2012 - 30 September 2012

'The Purple Shall Govern'

Mary Sibande at Iziko South African National Gallery

In her solo exhibition titled 'The Purple Shall Govern', Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner for 2013, Mary Sibande employs the human form as a vehicle through painting, photography and sculpture, to explore the construction of identity, particularly black women's identity, in a postcolonial South Africa.

Sibande draws inspiration from a specific event in the late 1980s, in which the police sprayed protestors with a water cannon laced with purple dye to enable them to identify and arrest anti-apartheid activists. This act motivated Mary’s interest in the roles that colour played in the history of this country. Colour remains a predominant factor in our social interactions and it continues to play a dominant role in our perceptions of one another as South Africans. In Sibande’s view it is like a monster that we are all too familiar with. On a personal level, this new work comes full circle as Sibande connects it back to her very first exhibition, where she displayed a figure - that represented her – in purple attire. 

'The Purple Shall Govern' presents the next chapter, in which Sibande speaks of her own aspirations, desires, fears and anxieties of being a woman. The concept of rebirth, where she refers to the idea of transitioning from the person you were before into a new or different idea of yourself – death and rebirth – is extensively explored. 


27 November 2013 - 15 January 2014

Venice Biennale

Mary Sibande, David Goldblatt, Andrew Putter, Siemon Allen, Kendell Geers and Nicholas Hlobo at Various venues around Venice

The South African contingent is strong at this year's Venice Biennale, not only in the much-discussed South African Pavilion, but also in the main curated show and several collateral exhibitions:

David Goldblatt and Nicholas Hlobo in 'ILLUMInations'
Bice Curiger (curator): 'La Biennale is one of the world’s most important forums for the dissemination and "illumination" about the current developments in international art. The title of the 54th Exhibition, "ILLUMInations" literally draws attention to the importance of such developments in a globalised world. I am particularly interested in the eagerness of many contemporary artists to establish an intense dialogue with the viewer, and to challenge the conventions through which contemporary art is viewed'.
Venue: Arsenale and Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Giardini

Mary Sibande, Siemon Allen and Lyndi Sales in 'Desire: Ideal Narratives in Contemporary South African Art' (South African Pavilion)
Curated by Thembinkosi Goniwe, this exhibition features South African artists whose work explores a range of realities, memories and fantasies. The artists produce imaginary truths or rather ideal narratives that reflect on South Africa, a country that is simultaneously adored and detested.
Venue: Torre di Porta Nuova, Arsenale Nuovissimo

Andrew Putter in 'Personal Structures'
The exhibition brings together an extraordinary combination of established artists next to artists whose oeuvre is less known. What they have in common is a dedication to the concepts of Time, Space and Existence.
Venue: Palazzo Bembo (by Rialto Bridge, Grand Canal)

Kendell Geers in 'Glasstress 2011'
This exhibition, devoted entirely to glass, features international artists, designers and architects, and includes indoor and outdoor. Brutality and beauty characterize Kendell Geers' object arrangements and material camouflages. Violence, risk, danger, and perpetration carve themselves into the work through poetic language and the unambiguous shaping of the material. Kendell Geers actively pushes the borders and isn't afraid to address banality, kitsch, or sexism. The shift in context and intensification of Geers' work is a result of both the site (Venice) and his focus on working with a specific material.


04 June 2011 - 27 November 2011

'The Purple Shall Govern'

Mary Sibande at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Museum

In her solo exhibition titled 'The Purple Shall Govern', Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner for 2013, Mary Sibande employs the human form as a vehicle through painting, photography and sculpture, to explore the construction of identity, particularly black women's identity, in a postcolonial South Africa.

Sibande draws inspiration from a specific event in the late 1980s, in which the police sprayed protestors with a water cannon laced with purple dye to enable them to identify and arrest anti-apartheid activists. This act motivated Mary’s interest in the roles that colour played in the history of this country. Colour remains a predominant factor in our social interactions and it continues to play a dominant role in our perceptions of one another as South Africans. In Sibande’s view it is like a monster that we are all too familiar with. On a personal level, this new work comes full circle as Sibande connects it back to her very first exhibition, where she displayed a figure - that represented her – in purple attire. 

'The Purple Shall Govern' presents the next chapter, in which Sibande speaks of her own aspirations, desires, fears and anxieties of being a woman. The concept of rebirth, where she refers to the idea of transitioning from the person you were before into a new or different idea of yourself – death and rebirth – is extensively explored. 


31 July 2013 - 01 September 2013

'Desire: Ideal Narratives in Contemporary South African Art'

Mary Sibande, Lyndi Sales and Siemon Allen at Torre di Porta Nuova

The works in 'Desire' offer three approaches to re-thinking the ideals and experiences promised by democracy. Here, desire is taken to mean yearning and need, recognising what individuals do not have, but long for. The notion of desire suggests both a lack as well as alluding to the simple motivation behind many human actions and deeds. Desire speaks to crisis and determination. It is an unrelenting force. Nothing is inert, complete and fixed about desire. Neither is desire tangible. It is rather a mystical force that exists in the form of imagination, the aspiring agent inherent with the power to dream. And, desire is the source of both creativity and of art.

Democracy in South Africa provides enabling conditions for artists to explore works of art that centralise their desires, to explore subjects that are no longer restricted to oppressive conditions primarily concerned with apartheid and its consequences. Post-apartheid art tackles a variety of subjects ranging from memory, history and culture to the self, the body, psyche and emotions. Representations of these subjects are imaginative and poetic, more so rendered in subtle and nuanced ways that avoid political over-determinancy. These representations engage the meaning and value of life in the social realm at its most complex and ambiguous levels. Through the works of Mary Sibande, Lyndi Sales and Siemon Allen, the exhibition 'Desire' presents some of these South African artistic developments at the Venice Biennale.

The exhibition is curated by Thembinkosi Goniwe


03 June 2011 - 27 November 2011