Thu, 3rd Sep 2020 20:00

Modern & Contemporary Art

Lot 159
Lot 159 - Penny Siopis (South Africa 1953-)


Penny Siopis (South Africa 1953-)
Spirit Matter

glue, ink and oil glaze on canvas

Artwork date: 2016

Sold for R398,300
Estimated at R350,000 - R500,000

Condition Report

The overall condition is excellent. Colours are vibrant and stable.

Please note, we are not qualified conservators and these reports give our opinion as to the general condition of the works. We advise that bidders view the lots in person to satisfy themselves with the condition of prospective purchases.


glue, ink and oil glaze on canvas

Artwork date: 2016


76.5 x 60.5 cm


Having been exposed to the traditions of painting in her studies, academic roles, extensive career as well as her mother’s library of artbooks, Penny Siopis’s accumulated knowledge makes radical contingency unexpectedly fitting to her process.Using ink and glue (the medium Siopis first experimented with when she produced the Shame series in 2002) results in an unconventional but complex method has aided her exploration of the nature of her painting and interest in the ‘first form’. The artist describes this form as being unconstrained by definition,1 existing at a point prior to apprehension, a moment where emotion is felt before a word could be written of it. Siopis’ collaboration with contingency has allowed her to summon this space, between form and formlessness. The resulting decision of how to work from what is revealed, is where her artistic potency lies.In Spirit Matter (2016), Siopis works horizontally with liquid ink and glue to draw out a deeply evocative image that seems to be of the body and mind. A central figure emerges from flowing fires, staring directly at the viewer as if this were a mirror to the interior space we feel, red and hot, the very conundrum of felt emotion and definition, spirit and matter.As her contemporary painting practice repeatedly encourages one to critically redefine this medium steeped in heavy tradition, Siopis continues to affirm her position as a prominent figure in South Africa’s art canon.

Joshua Stanley

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Auction: Modern & Contemporary Art, Thu, 3rd Sep 2020

This Spring, Aspire Art Auctions broke new ground with a fresh, yet considered selection of artworks that is demographically more representative and reflects the spirit of current times. With a strong focus on South Africa, the sale also proudly represented artists from 10 African countries (Benin, DRC, Ghana, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Sudan, Togo, Uganda and Zimbabwe) and international artists from Europe, the UK and USA. 

A great highlight was Edoardo Villa’s monumental steel sculpture titled Traverse from 1957 which achieved R4,893,400 – an auction record for the artist. Other exceptional offerings included works by Gerard Sekoto, George Pemba, Peter Clarke and Nicholas Hlobo.

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