- R100 Strauss & Co Masterclass: Penny Siopis
Colour, Materiality and Process in my work as a painter. Conducted by Penny Siopis.
Penny Siopis is foremost a painter, although she frequently works with video and installations. Siopis’ work is marked by three interests, the physicality of paint, the accumulation of found objects (including video footage), material memory, and the politics of the body. She has also continually engaged with the shifting social and political situations in South Africa.
There is a sense of intimacy and personal closeness of experiences in the narratives of Siopis’ works, however they do bridge over to a wider global social context and how the viewer relates to the fragility of the subject. Siopis has had a longstanding interest in what she coins ‘the poetics of vulnerability’. The juxtaposition of associations, history, femininity, as well as the traces and the repositioning of the past into the now through collective memory are what appear as you submerge into the worlds Penny Siopis creates.
Siopis has exhibited locally and internationally since 1975, and has won numerous of awards including the Volkskas Atelier Award, and the Vita Art Now award. Solo exhibitions include Time and Again: A Retrospective Exhibition at the South African National Gallery, Cape Town (2014) and Wits Art Museum, Johannesburg (2015); Red: The iconography of colour in the work of Penny Siopis at the KZNSA Gallery, Durban (2009), and Three Essays on Shame at the Freud Museum, London (2005). Notable group shows include Boundary Objects at the Kunsthaus Dresden (2015); After Eden/Après Eden – The Walther Collection at La Maison Rouge, Paris (2015); Public Intimacy: Art and Other Ordinary Acts in South Africa at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco (2014); Prism: Drawing from 1990-2011, Museum of Contemporary Art, Oslo (2012);Appropriated Landscapes, Walther Collection, Neu-Ulm/ Burlafingen, Germany (2011); PEEKABOO – Current South Africa, Tennis Palace Art Museum, Helsinki (2010); Black Womanhood: Images, Icons and Ideologies of the African Body, Hood Museum, New Hampshire; Davis Museum, Wellesley, Massachusetts, and the San Diego Museum of Art, California (2008), as well as the biennales of Venice (South African Pavilion 2013, and 2003), Sydney (2010), Johannesburg (1995 and 1997), Gwangju (1997) and Havana (1995).
Penny Siopis, is in several group shows in 2016, some of note are: Films at the Erg Gallery, Brussels; Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town; Incarnations, a solo exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art Indian Ocean; The Taipei Biennial, curated by Corinne Diserens, with thematic of ‘Gestures and archives of the present, genealogies of the future: A new lexicon for the biennial;’ a group exhibition Home Truths: Domestic Interiors in South Africa, curated by Michael Godby, at the Iziko South African National Gallery, which also includes artists Deborah Poynton and Ian Grose; and I Love You Sugar Kane, curated by Zasha Colah, at the Institute of Contemporary Art Indian Ocean, Mauritius.
Siopis currently holds the position of Honorary Professor in Fine Arts and is the chairperson of the department’s governing committee at Michaelis School of Art at the University of Cape Town.