Penny Siopis, Siestog, 2005. Spitbite, sugarlift, aquatint, with burnishing, scraping and hand stamping, 99 x 69 cm. AP, Edition of 15. Framed.
From the artist's catalogue below:
"Three Essays on Shame was a journey into the most intimate spaces of trauma: the spaces of feminine sexuality and its abuse. The installation carried the hallmarks of Siopis’s work as a whole. She is one of the few artists in the world today who can weave a material web of marks, gestures, voices, words, found things and painted surfaces to entangle the brute forces of history with the delicate threads of human vulnerability. Threading them together, so that we never see the one without the other, she challenges the viewer to share the entanglement of politically charged history and psychologically intense living. The Freud Museum did not merely house the paintings of an artist long engaged with Freudian thought as a meditation on subjectivity and the social. Instead, Siopis examined the house for its own traces, and caught up the voices, gestures and memories that inhabit the place and the legacy it archives. Shame involves psychological nakedness, exposure, humiliation, hurt, deep embarrassment. When shamed, we lose our dignity and integrity in full view of others — we live in a state of disgrace. But in South Africa ‘shame’ is also colloquially an expression of sympathy for, and identification with, someone else’s public pain. If you should fall in the street people, for instance, might exclaim ‘shame’ or cry out ‘sorry’, even though they are not to blame for your fall. The Afrikaans version of this crying out at hurt is ‘siestog’, tellingly translated as a mixture of disgust (‘sies’) and pity (‘tog’). Often ‘siestog’ implies an almost sentimental kindness."
Penny Siopis, Siestog, 2005. R45000.00
Penny Siopis was born in 1953 in Vryburg, South Africa, and lives in Cape Town. She has an MFA from Rhodes University, Grahamstown (1976), and is an Honorary Professor at Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town. Siopis’s abiding interest in what she calls the ‘poetics of vulnerability’ — manifest in a tension between materiality and image — coalesces with her explorations of history, sexuality, race, memory, estrangement and violence in her paintings, installations and films. Solo exhibitions include Incarnations, at the Institute of Contemporary Art Indian Ocean, Port Louis, Mauritius (2016); Penny Siopis: Films at the Erg Gallery, Brussels (2016); Time and Again: A Retrospective Exhibition at the South African National Gallery, Cape Town (2014) and Wits Art Museum, Johannesburg (2015); Red: The iconography of colour in the work of Penny Siopis at the KZNSA Gallery, Durban (2009), and Three Essays on Shame at the Freud Museum, London (2005), in addition to Stevenson Cape Town and Johannesburg. Notable group shows include Unfinished Conversations at the Beirut Art Center (2015); Boundary Objects at the Kunsthaus Dresden (2015); After Eden/Après Eden - The Walther Collection at La Maison Rouge, Paris (2015); Public Intimacy: Art and Other Ordinary Acts in South Africa at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco (2014); Prism: Drawing from 1990-2011, Museum of Contemporary Art, Oslo (2012); Appropriated Landscapes, Walther Collection, Neu-Ulm/Burlafingen, Germany (2011); PEEKABOO - Current South Africa, Tennis Palace Art Museum, Helsinki (2010); Black Womanhood: Images, Icons and Ideologies of the African Body, Hood Museum, New Hampshire; Davis Museum, Wellesley, Massachusetts, and the San Diego Museum of Art, California (2008), as well as the biennales of Taipei (2016), Venice (South African Pavilion 2013, and 2003), Sydney (2010), Johannesburg (1995 and 1997), Gwangju (1997) and Havana (1995). [Courtesy Stevenson Gallery]