Contemporary Southern Africa forms an example of a distinct, and new social condition. One in which political and social borders define different political incarnations of African democracy and creates a vast transient community of displaced. Michele Mathison (b. 1977) currently lives and works on both sides of the border between South Africa and Zimbabwe.
His sculptures are a study on the value of familiar objects and how they have developed into the prevalent imagery and symbols of sub-Saharan Africa’s post-independent condition. By removing the utility from everyday tools and decaying urban infrastructure, Mathison presents the irony of their transformation into symbolic guises.
Examining the form and function of quotidian objects, Mathison builds geometric groups and visual fields. Considering how an individual piece relates to the whole, his work creates a narrative of the region’s collective concerns. Themes in his work, such as the migration of people and natural resources, represent both the personal and political.
Mathison also makes use of marks or residue left behind when minerals and artefacts are extracted from land, often referring to agricultural, mining, and building sites to highlight issues of capital, labour, and economic inequality.
Mathison completed his BFA at Michaelis School of Fine Arts, University of Cape Town, South Africa in 2000. He has since had 3 solo exhibitions with WHATIFTHEWORLD, including Over and over (2021), States of Emergence (2017) and Manual (2014). Other notable 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. Mathison has also shown the large-scale work Parallax (2018) at Frieze Sculpture in London and installed the public sculpture, Angular Mass (2017), for the V&A waterfront and Zeitz MOCAA in Cape Town. His work has featured in group exhibitions such as Inner Landscapes (2019) at Galleria Anna Marra, Rome, Broken English (2015) at Tyburn Gallery, London and Dudziro (2013), Zimbabwe Pavilion, 55th Venice Biennale, Venice.
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. He has been commissioned to create a large-scale public sculpture for North-West University.
Selected Solo Exhibitions
|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|
CÈLINE art Collection
Zeitz MOCAA Collection
Norval Foundation Collection
Nirox Sculpture Park Collection
North-West University Collection
The Spier Art Collection