The Contemporary Art Society has acquired an installation by Dineo Seshee Bopape at Frieze London for Towner Art Gallery in Eastbourne, inspired by her South African heritage and the artist’s spiritual and physical relationship with her surroundings. This year Bopape has won the Pinchuk Future Generation Art Prize, the Sharjah Biennial Art Prize and last year had a major solo show at Palais de Tokyo, Paris.
The Towner has a significant collection of works that explore notions of the ‘edge in landscape’, including those by Yael Bartana, Tacita Dean, Olafur Eliasson (a Contemporary Art Society acquisition in 2004), Omer Fast and Isaac Julien. The museum is located on the southern coast of England, along the constantly changing boundary between land and sea.
Sedibeng, it comes with the rain, 2016, was purchased through the Contemporary Art Society’s Collections Fund, which was set up in 2012 and is working in partnership with Frieze London for a second year. This scheme supports the acquisition of significant contemporary works for Contemporary Art Society museum members across the UK. It aims to draw together the knowledge, experience, and expertise of private collectors with that of museum curators.
Dineo Seshee Bopape, Sedibeng, it comes with the rain, 2016, is made of materials chosen for their link to cosmology and fertility. Bopape questions the politics of gender, race, spirituality, and cultural constructs through various imagery. The metal structures evolved from abstracted representation of masculine and feminine paradigms, with references to the warrior, the mother, the father, and the child. Letter charms hang loosely between the metal beams and bags of herbs containing sage, ginger, chamomile, and anise, all traditionally used to heal ailments of the womb, are fastened to the sculptures with string creating a mystical aroma. Feathers are strewn on the floor and poked through floral foam, as images of ripe fruits are inserted between them, all symbolising the fecundity of Mother Nature.
Bopape incorporates a slide projection of a woman’s hand moulding, touching, and throwing clay rocks, addressing the power of the feminine, its relation to nature, and race, while creating a cacophony of images, illusions, textures, and sounds. Surrounding the installation are stickers of flowers native to Africa, along with mirrors and overhead projectors reflecting and refracting the light. The clamour of the installation destabilises the everyday objects, allowing the viewer to reconsider their purpose. The installation was presented at Frieze London by Sfeir-Semler Gallery and was purchased at the fair.
Caroline Douglas, Director, Contemporary Art Society, said: “We wanted to seize this moment at Frieze to acquire a major installation by an artist whose relevance is now being recognised so widely. Bopape has the distinct voice of a new generation of South African artists, coming of age in the immediate post-apartheid era, and the issues she addresses in her work about our relationship with the earth are urgent for us all.”
Brian Cass, Head of Exhibitions, Towner Art Gallery, said: “Dineo Seshee Bopape looks to the land for inspiration, her work reflecting how ones geographical location informs identity and memory. It is perhaps not surprising, given her South African heritage, that she is invested in the specifics of land, colonial histories, ecology and representation. But what is remarkable in works, or environments, such as Sedibeng, it comes with the rain (2016) is how she creates a range of associations that explore powerful socio-political and metaphysical notions of fertility, land, Afro-diasporic spiritual aesthetics and practices. Her work captures audiences emotionally and aesthetically and engages very directly with the idea of landscape that from the beginning has been at the heart of Towner’s Collection.”
Jo Stella Sawicka, Artistic Director, Frieze Fairs said: “The Collections Fund proves its national significance for a second year, with this major acquisition for Towner Art Gallery. We are thrilled to be enabling this addition to the Towner’s already exceptional collection of works, with an ambitious and thought-provoking installation by Dineo Seshee Bopape which pushes traditional notions of landscape into new, contemporary territory. In this unique partnership between Frieze, CAS patrons and the Towner, the fair provides a vital platform for discovery, engagement and acquisition, for museums and their audiences across the UK.”
Sedibeng, it comes with the rain will be presented at Towner Art Gallery during autumn 2018.
Notes to Editors:
ABOUT THE COLLECTIONS FUND AT FRIEZE
The Contemporary Art Society’s Collections Fund was set up in 2012 and is designed to support the acquisition of significant contemporary works for Contemporary Art Society museum members across the UK. A key aim of the scheme is to draw together the knowledge, experience and expertise of private collectors with that of museum curators in a programme of research leading to an acquisition. For 2017 the Contemporary Art Society is once again partnering with Frieze London and will purchase a major work at the fair for Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne. Past acquisitions through the Collections Fund have included works by Simon Fujiwara for Leeds Art Gallery (2013); Ben Rivers for Royal Pavilion & Museum, Brighton & Hove, and Bristol Museum & Art Gallery (2014); Hito Steyerl for GoMA, Glasgow (2015) and John Akomfrah and Kader Attia for Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (2016).
The Collections Fund at Frieze is co-chaired by The Lady Lupton, with Jill Hackel and Anna Yang. The committee includes: Nicola Blake, Hugo Brown, Margaret Erbe, Emma Goltz, Paul Smith, Emily Sun, and Cathy Wills.
ABOUT CONTEMPORARY ART SOCIETY
The Contemporary Art Society champions the collecting of outstanding contemporary art and craft in the UK. Since 1910 the charity has donated thousands of works by living artists to museums, from Picasso, Bacon, Hepworth and Moore in their day, through to the influential artists of our times. Sitting at the heart of cultural life in the UK, the Contemporary Art Society brokers philanthropic support for the benefit of museums and their audiences across the entire country. Their work ensures that the story of art continues to be told now and for future generations. www.contemporaryartsociety.org
ABOUT TOWNER ART GALLERY
Founded as an art gallery for the people, Towner Art Gallery presents exhibitions of national and international importance to audiences across the UK and beyond. Showcasing the most exciting developments in modern and contemporary art, Towner develops and supports artistic practice, and provides a place for experiencing, creating and discussing art and culture. The gallery welcomes over 140,000 visitors a year and collaborates with individuals, communities and organisations to deliver an inclusive and accessible associated public programme and learning offer. Their acclaimed Collection of 4500 works is best known for its modern British art – including the largest and most significant body of work by Eric Ravilious (1903-1942) – and a growing collection of international contemporary art. In 2014, Towner became an independent charitable Trust, supported by a Board of Trustees, chaired by David Dimbleby. Towner is supported by Eastbourne Borough Council and Arts Council England through its National Portfolio Programme. www.townereastbourne.org.uk
ABOUT DINEO SESHEE BOPAPE
Dineo Seshee Bopape was born in Polokwane, South Africa in 1981. She received her undergraduate degrees in fine arts in Durban followed by an MFA from Columbia University. Working with multimedia installation and video, and often involving natural earthy and traditional elements, Bopape tackles various social, political, environmental issues related to her personal experiences and those of her country. She has had solo shows at the Darling Foundry, Montreal (2017), Art in General, New York (2016), Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2016), the Hayward Gallery, London (2015), the Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town & Johannesburg (2010, 2011), among others. She has participated in group shows and biennials across the globe including the Sharjah Biennial 13 (2017), where she received the Sharjah Biennial Art Prize, Sfeir-Semler Gallery (2017), the Marrakech Biennial (2016), the Sao Paolo Biennial (2016), SEMA at Media City Seoul (2016), Tate Modern (2015), ICA London (2015), Jewish Museum, New York (2015), ICA Philadelphia (2014), Pretoria Art Museum (2013), Witte de With (2010), South African National Gallery (2010) and many others. She is the 2017 Pinchuk Future Generation Prize Winner and has had her winning installation exhibited in Kiev and at the Venice Biennale. Bopape is represented at Frieze London by Sfeir-Semler Gallery.
Frieze is the leading platform for modern and contemporary art for scholars, connoisseurs, collectors and the general public alike. Frieze comprises three magazines—frieze magazine, Frieze Masters Magazine and Frieze Week—and three international art fairs—Frieze London, Frieze Masters and Frieze New York. Additionally, Frieze organizes a program of special courses and lectures in London and abroad through Frieze Academy.
Frieze was founded in 1991 by Matthew Slotover and Amanda Sharp, with the launch of frieze magazine, the leading international magazine of contemporary art and culture. In 2003, Sharp and Slotover launched Frieze London art fair, which takes place each October in The Regent’s Park, London. In 2012, they launched Frieze New York, which occurs each May in Randall’s Island Park, and Frieze Masters, which coincides with Frieze London in October and is dedicated to art from ancient to modern. Frieze fairs are sponsored by global lead partner Deutsche Bank.