6th Mar, 2024 18:00

20th Century & Contemporary Art

  Lot 30
Lot 30 - Simphiwe Ndzube (South Africa 1990-)


Simphiwe Ndzube (South Africa 1990-)
Looking Up to the Sky, Searching Beneath the Ground

found clothes, ties, thread and industrial gloves on wood; gold leaf, ties, thread and acrylics and thread on canvas

Artwork date: 2015
Signature details: signed, dated and inscribed with the title on the reverse
Exhibited: Commune.1, Cape Town, 'But he doesn’t have anything on!', 26 November 2015 to 21 January 2016.
Location: Cape Town

Estimated at R500,000 - R700,000


found clothes, ties, thread and industrial gloves on wood; gold leaf, ties, thread and acrylics and thread on canvas

Artwork date: 2015
Signature details: signed, dated and inscribed with the title on the reverse
Exhibited: Commune.1, Cape Town, 'But he doesn’t have anything on!', 26 November 2015 to 21 January 2016.
Location: Cape Town


painting: 250 x 147 x 5.5 cm; sculpture: 116 x 111 x 70 cm


Private collection, Cape Town.

Commune.1, Cape Town.


The installation Looking up to the sky, searching beneath the ground (2015) by Simphiwe Ndzube is an extension of his previous body of work, Imithungo Yezivubeko. The title, in isiXhosa, translates to "stitches of remnants," suggesting the weaving together of internal and external struggles from the past and present. Ndzube employs stitching as a central motif, reflecting his research process. This approach allows the artist to navigate through various signifying objects, memories, and historical events to present a narrative of the black experience in post-apartheid South Africa, marked by lingering burdens of the past.

The physical act of cutting, stitching, and assembling objects and clothing on canvas or in a compact sculptural form, evokes powerful imagery of a body unravelling at the seams. The distorted shapes allude to the many historical atrocities endured by black bodies. Additionally, it symbolises Africa's broader socio-economic struggles, as the continent often becomes a literal dumping ground for cheap clothing from the West and emerging markets like China. This influx of imports further undermines African industries, particularly the textile sector, perpetuating economic disparities and exploitation.


  • Cementing his status as a top up-and-coming contemporary artist of international renown, Simphiwe Ndzube’s solo exhibition Chorus was recently shown at BLUM Los Angeles.
  • In 2023, he was among the selected artists featured in Singular Views: 25 Artists at the Rubell Museum in Washington; in Africa Supernova at Kunsthal KAde in Amersfoort, the Netherlands as well as in the Frieze Los Angeles group exhibition Boil, Toil and Trouble, presented by Art in Common.
  • In 2022, he formed part of the show Christen Sveaas Art Foundation: The Unseen, Selected by Hurvin Anderson at the Whitechapel Gallery in London. He also took part in Pacific Gold for the California Biennial at the Orange County Museum of Art in California.
  • The Denver Museum presented Ndzube’s Oracles of the Pink Universe, a large-scale solo exhibition which also marked his first museum solo exhibition in the USA. Other institutional solo exhibitions have taken place at Museo Kaluz, Mexico City in 2019 and at the CC Foundation, Shanghai in 2018.
  • In 2019, Ndzube exhibited at the 15th Lyon Biennale and was included in the Open Borders exhibition for the 14th Curitiba International Biennial in Brazil.


The artist is represented in numerous local and international collections, notably the Longlati Foundation, Shanghai; Fondation Gandur pour l'Art, Geneva; Musee d’art Contemporain de Lyon; France Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Los Angeles; Pérez Art Museum, Miami; The CC Foundation, Shanghai; HOW Art Museum, Shanghai; Christen Sveeas Collection, Norway; The Denver Art Museum; Museo Kaluz, Mexico City; Rubell family collection, Miami; Rupert Museum, Cape Town; University of Cape Town; Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town; Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA), Cape Town and the A4 Foundation, Cape Town.

You can place an absentee bid through our website - please sign in to your account on our website to proceed.

In the My Account tab you can also enter telephone bids, or email bids@aspireart.net to log telephone/absentee bids.

Join us on the day of the auction to follow and bid in real-time.

The auction will be live-streamed with an audio-visual feed.

Images *

Drag and drop .jpg images here to upload, or click here to select images.





While we endeavour to assist our Clients as much as possible, we require artwork(s) to be delivered and/or collected from our premises by the Client. In instances where a Client is unable to deliver or collect artwork(s), Aspire staff is available to assist in this process by outsourcing the services to one of our preferred Service Providers. The cost for this will be for the Client’s account, with an additional Handling Fee of 15% charged on top of the Service Provider’s invoice.

Aspire Art provides inter-company transfer services for its Clients between Johannesburg and Cape Town branches. These are based on the size of the artwork(s), and charged as follows:

Small (≤60x90x10 cm): R480

Medium (≤90x120x15 cm): R960

Large (≤120x150x20 cm): R1,440

Over-size: Special quote


Should artwork(s) be collected or delivered to/from Clients by Aspire Art directly, the following charges will apply:

Collection/delivery ≤20km: R400

Collection/delivery 20km>R800≤50km

Collection/delivery >50km: Special quote



A flat fee of R100 will be added to the invoice for packaging of unframed works on paper.


International Collectors Shipping Package

For collectors based outside South Africa who purchase regularly from Aspire Art’s auctions in South Africa, it does not make sense to ship artworks individually or per auction and pay shipping every time you buy another work. Consequently, we have developed a special collectors’ shipping package to assist in reducing shipping costs and the constant demands of logistics arrangements.

For buyers from outside South Africa, we will keep the artworks you have purchased in storage during the year and then ship all the works you have acquired during the year together, so the shipping costs are reduced. At the end of the annual period, we will source various quotes to get you the best price, and ship all your artworks to your desired address at once.

Aspire Art will arrange suitable storage during, and cost-effective shipping at the end, of the annual period.



Collections are by appointment, with 24-hours’ notice

Clients are requested to contact the relevant office and inform Aspire Art of which artwork(s) they would like to collect, and allow a 24-hour window for Aspire Art’s logistics department to retrieve the artwork(s) and prepare them for collection.


Handling Fee

Aspire Art charges a 15% Handling Fee on all Logistics, Framing, Restoration and Conservation arranged by Aspire.