14th Sep, 2022 18:00

20th Century & Contemporary Art

 
  Lot 66
 
Lot 66 - Zanele Muholi (South Africa 1972-)

66

Zanele Muholi (South Africa 1972-)
Thulani I, Paris, 'Somnyama Ngonyama' series

silver gelatin print

Artwork date: 2014
Edition: 3 from an edition of 8
Exhibited: Ethelbert Cooper Gallery of African and African American Art, Massachusetts, 'Somnyama Ngonyama: Hail the Dark Lioness', 31 January to 1 June 2020; Stevenson Gallery, Johannesburg, 'Somnyama Ngonyama', 19 November to 19 December 2015, 4 January to 29 January 2016.
Literature: Muholi, Z. (2015). Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama. Johannesburg & Cape Town: Stevenson, illustrated on p. 71

Sold for R204,840
Estimated at R150,000 - R250,000


Condition Report

The condition of the work is excellent.

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.

 

silver gelatin print

Artwork date: 2014
Edition: 3 from an edition of 8
Exhibited: Ethelbert Cooper Gallery of African and African American Art, Massachusetts, 'Somnyama Ngonyama: Hail the Dark Lioness', 31 January to 1 June 2020; Stevenson Gallery, Johannesburg, 'Somnyama Ngonyama', 19 November to 19 December 2015, 4 January to 29 January 2016.
Literature: Muholi, Z. (2015). Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama. Johannesburg & Cape Town: Stevenson, illustrated on p. 71

(1)

image size: 50 x 41 cm; framed size: 51.5 x 42.5 x 3.5 cm

Provenance:

Private collection, Cape Town.

Stevenson, Johannesburg.

Notes:

Thulani I, Paris, 2014 is part of the seminal Somnyama Ngonyama series, where Zanele Muholi stepped in front of the camera to create portraits in which the artist is both the participant and image-maker. Somnyama Ngonyama means ‘Hail, the Dark Lioness’ in isiZulu, and is Muholi’s personal approach as a visual activist to confront the politics of race and (gender) identity in the photographic archive. For Muholi, it is a statement of self-presentation and protest through portraiture.

This series sees Muholi experimenting with various archetypes and performing different characters, highly stylised and expressively portrayed in high-contrast black and white tonal values. These self-portraits were captured in different cities in America, Africa and Europe – part of the artist’s own journey to imprint the memories and connections made with those places and people.

In the introduction of the Somnyama Ngonyama catalogue published in 2015, Muholi wrote: ‘In Somnyama Ngonyama, I have embarked on a discomforting self-defining journey, rethinking the culture of the selfie, self-representation and self-expression. I have investigated how photographers can question and deal with the body as material or mix it with objects to further aestheticise black personhood. My abiding concern is, can photographers look at themselves and question who they are in society and the position/s that they hold, and maintain these roles thereafter?’[1]

Thulani I, Paris, 2014 is a striking, mesmerising portrait – extraordinarily powerful and emotionally engaging as the artist’s direct eye contact subverts the viewer’s gaze. The image was first exhibited in 2015 in the debut iteration of Somnyama Ngonyama at Stevenson Gallery in Johannesburg.

Marelize van Zyl

NOTES

The latest instalment of Somnyama Ngonyama opened in June 2022 at Fotografihuset in Norway, and the Kunstforeningen Gl Strand in Denmark recently presented the artist’s major survey exhibition, curated in association with Tate Modern and Bildmuseet.

[1] Muholi, Z. (2015). Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama. Johannesburg & Cape Town: Stevenson, p. 7.

Collections:

The artist is represented in numerous local and international collections, notably, Baltimore Museum of Fine Art, Baltimore.; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.; Guggenheim Museum, New York.; Tate Modern, London and Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town.

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Auction: 20th Century & Contemporary Art, 14th Sep, 2022

 

Aspire Art will impress collectors with this focused, boutique-style auction. Including 81 carefully selected lots the sale boasts impressive examples by many of South Africa’s most celebrated artists. A fine selection of William Kentridge works, including two original drawings, Eduardo Villa sculptures, painting by Robert Hodgins and Walter Battiss and a wonderful early Penny Siopis drawing are on offer.

Also featured are two special sections – Black Modernism and Photography. Aspire has firmly cemented itself as a champion of both these collecting segments and collectors will be spoilt for choice with a rare drawing by Dumile Feni as well as works by other modernists including Gerard Sekoto, George Pemba and Lucas Sithole and photographs by David Goldblatt, Mohau Modisakeng and Simphiwe Ndzube amongst others.

Viewing

The exhibition preview is open to the public.

Viewing is from Friday 9 to Wednesday 14 September.

Weekdays from 09h30 to 16h30, Saturdays from 09h30 to 14h00, and Sundays by appointment.

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