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Simphiwe Ndzube: Embracing the Coexistence of Seemingly Irreconcilable Realities

Join SCI-Arc Channel as they visit with Simphiwe Ndzube (b.1990, Cape Town, South Africa), an artist living and working in Los Angeles, CA and Cape Town, South Africa. He received his BFA from the Michaelis School of Fine Arts in 2015. Ndzube’s work is characterized by a fundamental interplay between objects, media and two-dimensional surfaces; stitching together a subjective account of the Black experience in post-apartheid South Africa from a mythological perspective.

In this film, we tour the intricacies of his studio and background, taking a close look at two of his recent exhibitions. The first, Like the Snake that Fed the Chameleon at Nicodim Gallery, expands Ndzube’s cosmology, reimagining Black bodies as mythical and fantastic beings capable of inhabiting multiple dimensions. His figures fly, flail, fall, and dance their way from sculpture, to sound, to canvas through multiple environments, highlighting the fluidity and permeability of identity itself. Like the snake, his characters can be cold-blooded and stealthy; like the chameleon, they are capable of change.

Simphiwe Ndzube

From here Ndzube goes deep into his most recent exhibition Oracles of the Pink Universe at the Denver Art Museum. This exhibition is an expansion of Ndzube's visual search that explores a mythological place, drawing from his personal experiences, imagination, and art history. He presents 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 we step into this alternate universe, we’re confronted with artworks that explore themes of conflict, tension, resilience, strength and a fight for human rights.

Additional recent exhibitions include The Fantastic Ride to Gwadana, Stevenson Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa (2020, solo); INXS: Major Never Before Seen Works by Simphiwe Ndzube, Moffat Takadiwa, and Zhou Yilun, Nicodim Gallery, Los Angeles, USA (2020); Hollywood Babylon: A Re-Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome, Nicodim, Jeffrey Deitch, and AUTRE Magazine, Los Angeles, USA (2020). His work can be found in the collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Musée d’art contemporain de Lyon, Lyon, France; and the Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa, among others.

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