Michele Mathison


Michele Mathison was born in South Africa in 1977 and raised in Zimbabwe. Through sculpture and installation, his work has consistently drawn from observations of daily, lived experience in order to interpret the shifting dynamics of political, social and economic conditions in Southern Africa and how they relate to our communal and individual concerns.

His sculptures are a study on the value of familiar objects and materials highlighting their historical narratives, common usage and inherited value in our shared identities. Disrupting the common apprehension of his chosen medium the works monumentalise the purity of their form, function and symbolic guise.

Mathison completed his BFA at Michaelis School of Fine Arts, University of Cape Town, South Africa in 2000. He has had several solo exhibitions with WHATIFTHEWORLD, including CIVILIAN (2023) Over and over (2021) and States of Emergence (2017). Other noteworthy solo exhibitions include: Dissolution (2018) and Uproot (2016) at Tyburn Gallery, London; Harvest (2015) at the Zeitz MOCAA Scheryn Pavilion, Cape Town and EXIT/EXILE (2014) at Nirox Projects, Johannesburg.

Representing Zimbabwe at the 55th Venice Biennale, this body of work, titled, Harvest, was later installed at the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA) as a special presentation for the opening of the museum in 2017, alongside the inaugural group exhibition. Mathison has also shown the large-scale work Parallax at Frieze Sculpture in London (2018) and installed the public sculpture, Angular Mass (2017), for the V&A Waterfront and Zeitz MOCAA in Cape Town. He spent much of 2019 in residence in Italy at Muse Salentine, Alessano and Castello San Basilio, Pisticci and in 2020 he relocated from Johannesburg to Cape Town. In 2021, the artist completed a series of three significant public sculptures, commissioned by North-West University and installed on various sites on campus.

Noteworthy group exhibitions include Inner Landscapes (2019) at Galleria Anna Marra, Rome, and Broken English (2015) at Tyburn Gallery, London.

Mathison is included in collections such as the Norval Foundation’s Homestead collection, the Zeitz MOCAA permanent collection, the Leridon Collection, Spier Arts Trust and the Standard Bank Art Collection. Most recently, Mathison’s work was acquired by the Celine Art Project, curated by Hedi Slimane for Celine Shanghai.

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2023 Civilian - WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town
2021 Over and over - WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town
2018 Dissolution. Tyburn Gallery, London
2017 States of Emergence - WHATIFTHEWORLD, Johannesburg
States of Emergence - WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town
2016 Uproot, Tyburn Gallery, London
2015 Harvest, Zeitz MOCAA Scheryn Pavilion, Cape Town
2014 Manual - WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town
2011 EXIT/EXILE, Nirox Projects, Johannesburg, South Africa

Selected Group Exhibitions

2022 The Phoenix Runway - WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town
2021 That Hidden Thread, NIROX Sculpture Park, Johannesburg
RESTUDIO, Cunningham Contemporary, Johannesburg
2018 Frieze Sculpture, Regent's Park, London
AKAA Carreau Du Temple, Paris
2016 A Place in Time, Nirox Sculpture Park, Johannesburg
Negative Space - WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town
2015 Broken English, Tyburn Gallery, London
You love me, You love me not, Galeria municipal do Porto, Portugal
Nirox Sculpture / Winter 2015, Nirox Sculpture Park, Johannesburg
2014 Nirox Sculpture / Winter 2014, Nirox Sculpture Park, Johannesburg
Public sculpture, Arts on Main, Johannesburg
Zoo, Nirox projects, Johannesburg
2013 Dudziro, Zimbabwe Pavilion, 55th Venice Biennale
Trans-Africa, Absa Gallery, Johannesburg
2012 Outside the lines, WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town
Southern Guild, Everard Read Gallery, Johannesburg
2011 EXIT/EXILE, Nirox Projects, Johannesburg
2009 HIFA, National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare
Various, Brodie/Stevenson, Johannesburg
2005 Visions of Zimbabwe, Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester

Art Fairs

Cape Town Art Fair 2024
Miart 2024
Artissima 2023
FNB Art Joburg 2023
NOMAD Capri 2023
Miart 2023
Cape Town Art Fair 2023
Joburg Art Fair 2022
Artissima 2021

Permanent Collections

CÈLINE art Collection

Zeitz MOCAA Collection

Norval Foundation Collection

Nirox Sculpture Park Collection

North-West University Collection

The Spier Art Collection