Time and Again: A retrospective exhibition by Penny Siopis

Iziko Museums of South Africa, Cape Town, South Africa
18 Dec 2014 - 10 Mar 2015

Time and Again: A retrospective exhibition by Penny Siopis

Penny Siopis - 
Feral Fables: In the Deep (2007), 
ink and glue on paper

Iziko Museums of South Africa presents the first retrospective exhibition by Penny Siopis titled Time and Again. The exhibition aims to provide a survey into the artistic career of this well known and loved contemporary South African artist. Many of her iconic works have become part of the country’s cultural heritage and are recognized, studied and admired by both school children and academics.

This exhibition draws on major institutional and personal collections within South Africa which include the Johannesburg Art Gallery; the Rupert Art Foundation; Wits Art Museum; William Humphreys Museum in addition to numerous private collectors. Working within the genres of painting, sculpture, video and multi-media installations this prolific artist explores intimate narratives that speak of personal and collective history, trauma, shame and loss. The artist layers the materiality of these various art forms to comment on the sociological and psychological traumas experienced by South Africans over time.

Time and Again is a retrospective look at three and a half decades of Siopis’ creative production and draws on the recurring themes of history, personal and collective memory and trauma. Although Siopis’ artwork is clearly grounded in the present, both past and future are deeply implicated in its content and physical appearance. The processes of change, decay and ageing, (all traces of the passage of time), are integral to her approach and highlight Siopis’ skillful ability to make time tangible through her manipulation of process, chance and materiality.

This exhibition provides the visitor with a unique opportunity to trace the evolution of Penny Siopis’ ideas, themes and techniques and to see their development in the context of the country’s history. This presentation will feature key examples from her seminal bodies of work which include her early Cake paintings that gained the artist international renown; her seminal History paintings through to her Shame and Pinky Pinky series and the more recent ink and glue paintings. Audiences will also be given an opportunity to experience Penny Siopis object filled installations as well as view films which speak to the artist’s personal history and South Africa’s collective history.

This exhibition will have a strong educational component drawing in learners and scholars from schools and tertiary institutions.

A comprehensive book tracing the trajectory of Penny Siopis artistic production is being published by Wits University Press titled Penny Siopis: Time and Again. The book will be made available to purchase at the South African National Gallery throughout the duration of the exhibition.  Edited by Gerrit Olivier this book contains essays and interviews by leading artists, critics and cultural commentators that contextualize this prolific artist’s contribution to South African art history.

A modified version of the exhibition will be installed at the Wits Art Museum in April 2015


Penny Siopis was born in 1953 in Vryburg in the Northern Cape Province. She studied Fine Arts at Rhodes University and Portsmouth Polytechnic before taking up a lecturing position at the Natal Technikon in Durban. In 1984, she moved to Johannesburg and has lectured in the Department of Fine Arts at the Witwatersrand University (Wits). She is currently an Honorary Professor at Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town. Siopis has exhibited locally and internationally since 1975, and has won a variety of awards. Her work is well represented in South African and international collections.




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