The Oliver Powell and Timely Investments Trust Collection

Live Virtual Auction, 20 September 2022

The Oliver Powell and Timely Investments Trust Collection
About the Session

Strauss & Co is pleased to present this extraordinary collection as the featured session this September Live Virtual Auction. An established insolvency practitioner with a passion for the arts, Oliver Powell's principal focus has been collecting South African painting, sculpture and works on paper made since 1950. Colour, graphic ingenuity and emotional weight are all attributes in an artwork that Powell is drawn to. Powell also emphasises the importance of his many encounters with artists. “There is so much value in meeting an artist,” says Powell. “Aspects and details of their life are reflected in what and how they paint.”

  • Mikhael Subotzky; The Therapist
  • Mikhael Subotzky; The Therapist

Lot Estimate
ZAR 150 000 - 200 000

About this Item

South African 1981-
The Therapist

signed with the artist's initials and inscribed with the title on the side of the stretcher; inscribed with the artist's name on a label adhered to the reverse

oil and ink on canvas
100 by 70 by 2,5cm, unframed


The very title of the show “Yellow Bile”, referring to the bodily liquid, taps into notions of revulsion and rejection that the bitter substance is synonymous with. As Subotzky himself points out, in ancient Greek Hippocratic medicine, yellow bile is one of the four essential elements that constitutes the body. “An excess or overbalance of bile was thought to lead to aggression and anger.” Through the aggressive ripping and manipulation of his own photographs as well as found imagery, and the combining of other materials, in these works Subotzky attacks the very objects that his practice as a photographer results in. His aim is to deconstruct them in order to make better sense of what they represent. It’s a visceral practice: “Yellow Bile is literally the contents of our stomachs,” he says, “What can we ‘stomach’?”1

1., accessedon 20 July 2022.


Goodman Gallery, Cape Town, 2009.

The Oliver Powell and Timely Investments Trust Collection.


Maitland Institute, Cape Town, Yellow Bile (or Work in Progress), 14 September to 31 October 2017.

View all Mikhael Subotzky lots for sale in this auction

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