Sanell Aggenbach


Sanell Aggenbach (b. 1975 Cape Town, South Africa) currently lives and works in Woodstock, Cape Town. Aggenbach’s work deals primarily with the intersection of history and private narratives by considering the process of recall and interpretation. Her work displays an accomplished virtuosity as she moves comfortably between the various disciplines of painting, printmaking and sculpture.

Since 2003, Aggenbach has focused mainly on subverted feminine tropes and feminist themes. Her sculptural work, primarily in bronze, parody Western masterpieces from Michelangelo, Henry Moore, and Warhol to Pierneef and take a refreshing look at these pivotal references from a woman’s perspective.

“My earlier works relied heavily on processing found imagery, rethinking associations and creating new fictions. These works were often an amalgamation of historic references with private narratives and forms part of a process of investigating pathologies and deconstructing the past. My primary intention is to construct subtle paradoxes by introducing a quiet humour, either formally or materially.”

Her explorative work has secured her many achievements including winning the Absa L’Atelier Award. Her work is represented in numerous public and private collections, including Sasol, Absa, Spier, SABC, Red Bull (Austria), the South African National Gallery, 21C Museum in Kentucky (USA) and Anglo Gold.

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2023 Nightshade - WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town
2021 The Great Lulllllll - WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town
2019 The Heart Has Many Rooms, Everard Read Gallery, Johannesburg
2017 Bend to Her Will - WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town
Bend To Her Will - WHATIFTHEWORLD, Johannesburg
2015 Atopia, NWU Gallery, Potchefstroom
2013 Famila Obscura, Brundyn+, Cape Town
2011 Some Dance to Remember Some Dance to Forget, Blank Projects, Cape Town
2009 Graceland, Gallery AOP, Johannesburg
2008 Sub Rosa, Joäo Ferreira Gallery, Cape Town
2007 Perfectly Still, ABSA Gallery, Johannesburg
2006 Blues and Greys, Art on Paper Gallery, Johannesburg
2005 Fools Gold, Bell Roberts Contemporary, Cape Town
Hoogwater/High Tide, KKNK, Oudtshoorn
2003 Blank, AVA Gallery, Cape Town
2001 From a Netherworld, Bell-Roberts Gallery, Cape Town
2000 Northern Ladies, Art Konsult, New Delhi, India

Selected Group Exhibitions

2023 If You Look Hard Enough, You Can See Our Future, African American Museum, Dallas
Bitches Brew, Everard Read, Johannesburg
2022 Seeds of the Fig - WHATIFTHEWORLD X Krone, Twee Jonge Gezellen, Tulbagh
2021 Between Strangers, Nuweland Gallery, Netherlands
RESTUDIO, Cunningham Contemporary, Johannesburg
2020 Over the Rainbow, Hangar-7 (Red Bull), Salzburg, Austria
2019 MERDELAMERDELAMERDELAMERDELAMERDELAMER, curated by Kendell Geers, Mario Mauroner Contemporary Art, Vienna
2017 Cape Town Art Fair 2017, Cape Town
The Future is Female, 21C Musem Hotels, Louisville, USA
2016 Transformation, Southern Guild, Cape Town
Nano, Barnard Gallery, Cape Town
2015 Foreign Bodies - WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town
2014 20 Years of Democracy, Appalachian State University, North Carolina
2012 Positive Tension - WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town
Seeing Eye, Brundyn +, Cape Town
Paint I, SMAC Gallery, Cape Town
2011 Alptraum, Deutscher Kuenstlerbund, Berlin, Germany
2010 Twenty, Contemporary Public Sculpture, Nirox, Johannesburg
2008 Print ’08: Myth, Memory and Archive, Bell-Roberts Gallery, Cape Town
2007 Arcadia, AVA Gallery, Cape Town
Turbulence, Hangar-7, Salzburg, Austria
2006 20 Artists 06, Contemporary Printing, Bell-Roberts Gallery, Cape Town
2005 Sweet Nothings, New Photographic Work, Bell-Roberts Gallery, Cape Town
2004 40 Years, University of Stellenbosch, Sasol Art Museum
2nd Spier Outdoor Sculpture Biennial, Stellenbosch
2003 Picnic, Bell-Roberts Gallery, Cape Town
Brett Kebble Art Awards, Cape Town
ABSA L'Atelier, Johannesburg
YDESIRE, Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town
2002 Autogeographie, Millennium Gallery, Johannesburg
Spier Outdoor Sculpture Biennial, Jan Marais Nature Reserve, Stellenbosch
2001 Micro/Macro, South African Printmakers at Xchanges Gallery, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
ABSA L'Atelier, Johannesburg
Aarsel/Waver, KKNK, Oudtshoorn


2013      ABSA L’Atelier

Permanent Collections

Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town
Absa Collection
Anglo Gold South Africa
Hollard Collection
Sasol Collection
Spier Collection
Labour 24 Pty Ltd
Red Bull Collection, Salzburg, Austria
New Church Museum
21C Museum in Kentucky

Selected Publications

2013      Familia Obscura
2009      Graceland Catalogue
2007      Turbulence, Hangar-7, Austria
2007       Sanell Aggenbach Catalogue
2007       Artinvestor, Germany
2007       Art South Africa: Vol. 5, Issue 04; Page 82 (Review)
2005       Cape Town Month of Photography
2004       2nd Spier Sculpture Biennale Catalogue
2004       Sasol Art Museum, University of Stellenbosch
2003       ABSA L’Atelier
2003       Art South Africa: Vol. 02, Issue 01; Page 14 (Review)
2002       Spier Sculpture Biennale Catalogue