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NANDIPHA MNTAMBO [solo exhibition] May 16 – June 20, 2013

It is with great pleasure that Andréhn-Schiptjenko announces the first European solo-exhibition of South African artist Nandipha Mntambo at the gallery. Mntambo’s signature material is the cowhide. Across cultures and belief-systems a relationship to the cow is universal, however different this relationship may be. Mntambo focus is on the female body, often using her own, and she creates “empty” yet very corporeal sculptures where the shape of the female body collides with the lumpy and coarse cowhide and disrupt conventional perceptions of attraction and repulsion. A key concept in this most recent body of work is that of the doppelganger or the sensation of having a glimpse of oneself in peripheral vision, in a position where it could not possibly be a reflection. This recognition of the dark double is an extension of Mntambo’s earlier photographic works Narcissus and The Rape of Europa in which the artist herself enacted both protagonists, whilst maintaining a clear acknowledgement of the self. The battle of the male and female energy continues the be a thread that is explored within Mntambo’s process and this body of work is informed by the artist’s interest in the mythology of Zeus and his relationship and marriage to Hera – wife and sister and his equal in power. The recognition of the self in the other as well as the challenge that it presents are at the center of the fluctuations and conflicts of their relationship.  At the core of the artist’s œuvre are the binaries of love/hate, attraction/repulsion and safety/danger, and Mntambo’s work simultaneously embraces, explores, destabilizes and challenges these dichotomies. In addition to this group of sculptures, we are pleased to present a series of works on paper with cow-hair, referencing the sculptures in material whilst distinctively painterly. Nandipha Mntambo was born 1982 in Swaziland and currently lives and works in Johannesburg. She received her MFA from Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town in 2007 and was awarded the prestigious Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Visual Art (South Africa) in 2011. She has been included in the 17th Biennale of Sydney in 2010, DAK’ART 2010, 9th Biennal of Contemporary Art (Dakar, Senegal) in 2010, and Bamako Encounters, African Photography Biennial (Bamako, Mali) in 2009. Major international group exhibitions include venues such as Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art (Helsinki, Finland, 2011), the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art (Atlanta, USA, 2009) and The San Diego Museum of Art (San Diego, USA, 2008). Solo-exhibitions include Oliewenhuis Art Museum (Bloemfontein, South Africa) in 2012, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum (Port Elizabeth, South Africa) in 2011, and the North-West University Art Gallery (Potchefstroom, South Africa) in 2011. She is currently showing in on Female Power: Matriarchy, Spirituality and Utopia at the Arnhem Museum in the Netherlands.