In the first U.S. solo museum exhibition for South African contemporary artist Simphiwe Ndzube titled Simphiwe Ndzube: Oracles of the Pink Universe, the exhibition at the Denver Art Museum (DAM) will present eight new works exploring the interplay between magical realism and history. Opening June 2021, the exhibition integrates themes related to power, conflict and the search for freedom through a Pink Universe, an imaginative world constructed by the artist, which combines fantasy with the history of Ndzube’s post-apartheid South Africa.
A genre first conceptualized in Latin America, magical realism infuses reality with elements of the fantastical. Oracles of the Pink Universe is organized by the DAM and curated by Laura F. Almeida, curatorial fellow of modern and contemporary art at the museum. The exhibition will be on view June 13, 2021, to Oct. 10, 2021, on level 2 of the museum’s Hamilton Building in the Martin and McCormick Gallery.
Oracles of the Pink Universe is an expansion of Ndzube’s visual search that explores a mythological place, drawing from his personal experiences, imagination and art history. He will present exclusive works that depart from Hieronymus Bosch’s painting The Garden of Earthly Delights (1490 – 1500), depicting a theatrical space where heaven, earth and hell intersect. As visitors step into this alternate universe, they will be confronted with artworks that explore themes of conflict, tension, resilience, strength and a fight for human rights.
Oracles of the Pink Universe will include an entirely new body of work comprised of vibrant paintings and sculptures, some of which ingeniously transform from two dimensional to three dimensional works of art. Ndzube’s installation will incorporate resin, spray paint, collage and found objects, such as second-hand clothing. They also will feature figures, sometimes depicted as headless, amorphous and non-binary, that appear to emerge from the traditional confines of paintings hung on walls.
Ndzube’s mythical world will also explore boundaries, whether ontological, political, or geographical, and will embrace the coexistence of seemingly irreconcilable realities, spaces and systems that confront the viewer’s perception of what is possible.