Simphiwe Ndzube: New Works on Paper
From 24 September – 17 October 2020, Stevenson Amsterdam will present new works on paper by Simphiwe Ndzube. This exhibition marks the start of a regular exhibition programme in their Amsterdam space, with regular opening hours.
The drawings were created at the artist’s improvised home-studio in Los Angeles, in response to and in light of the restrictions created by the pandemic. Combining acrylics, spray paint, graphite, and oil pastel, New Works on Paper extends the mixed-media approach characteristic of Ndzube’s practice while marking a new allegorical chapter in his imaginative universe, Echoes of the First Stories. He writes:
I’ve been making studies in light of the emotions brought up by COVID-19 and the uncertainty of the world. The works portray feelings of despair, hope, and helplessness as well as the precarious nature of interpersonal trust and fear of the unknown. These studies, which signify a return to basics and an emphasis on the human subject, allow me to really get to know my characters: their evolution, depths, and physicality.
Quotations from Western and South African art history are interspersed with Ndzube’s magical-realist influences to produce the present tableaux. Some figures in the artist’s series of portraits pose with dignified solemnity and others—in neon landscapes—gesticulate with dread, evidenced by titles such as Bending over to see you upside down; Apple of my tongue, Queen of the all-seeing eyes under the water; and Untitled (Scream).
Work by the artist is currently on view at the Nest’s iteration of A Fair Share of Utopia, a group exhibition curated by Manon Braat that takes place across the Hague and Amsterdam. Ndzube held his debut exhibition with Stevenson, Uncharted Lands and Trackless Seas, in Cape Town in 2019. Solo presentations have also taken place at institutions including Museo Kaluz (2019) and CC Foundation, Shanghai (2018). Notable group shows include Là où les eaux se mêlent (‘Where water comes together with other water’), the 15th Lyon Biennale (2019); Open Borders, the 14th Curitiba International Biennial, Brazil (2019); People at Jeffrey Deitch, Los Angeles (2019) and Hacer Noche (Crossing Night) in Oaxaca, Mexico (2018).
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