SANAVA x Cité Internationale des Arts Benefit Auction

Timed Online Auction, 7 - 21 February 2023

SANAVA x Cité Internationale des Arts Benefit Auction
  • Thea Soggot; Head I
  • Thea Soggot; Head I
  • Thea Soggot; Head I

Lot Estimate
ZAR 25 000 - 35 000

About this Item

South African
Head I

signed and dated May '08; inscribed with the artist's name, the title, the date and medium on an Everard Read label adhered to the reverse

earth and black pastel on paper
37,5 by 57cm excluding frame; 53,5 by 72,5 by 6cm including frame


Artist's Bio

Thea Soggot is a South African artist who works with earth on paper. Drawing ideas as well as her material pigment from a South African landscape – the Magaliesberg – Soggot uses the body as the site from which to explore and evoke an emotive presence. Whether her focus is on the torso, forms engaging one another, or on a face, Soggot’s renderings have a weight beyond the fine draughtsmanship.
Drawn to the unpredictable quality of earth as a material, which introduces an element of chance into her making, Soggot applies wet the earth with her hands to create these works. As this earth is high in iron oxide, it stains and penetrates the paper. While the red earth distinctly evokes the surrounding areas where she lives, Soggot uses it metaphorically and evocatively for its colour and textures – referencing a connection to nature, the earth from which we have emerged and to which we will return. Thea Soggot received her Fine Arts degree from the University of the Witwatersrand in 1980, where she was awarded the Henri Lidchi prize for drawing. She has exhibited extensively since, including numerous solo exhibitions in South Africa since 1984. She began exhibiting her work internationally in 1996, and started her art school in the same year. She has completed several residencies, including the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris. Soggot is represented by the Everard Read Gallery, where she has shown her work since 2007. Her work is represented in public, corporate and private collections, including the Constitutional Court of South Africa, the Alliance Française, and Anglo American.

Artist's Statement

There is an intense humanism that informs and has always been present in Soggot’s work: a deep interest in the human form and the potential for emotion and connection that it contains. “Soggot’s formal grammar is a sparse, terse language deliberately circumscribed by minimal means. She uses a monochromatic palette to indicate the body – only the ochres and reds of the Magaliesberg earth framed by the black pigment of the ground or white of the paper. That is all. Just the body and space… She prefers to work with visual means alone, leaving the act of translation to her viewers. Working in the language of mark on paper she stands outside the more fashionable art engagé. Soggot strips her bodies of narrative support. As Gormley would put it, 'The existential silence created by the refusal to provide narration is contradictorily weighted with an emotive force – one that remains tantalisingly out of reach of normal discourse.' Soggot extends this reductive approach. Her bodies are often shown as partial forms – only a headless back, or a torso on the white void of the paper, or a head poised on a neck whose arch is achingly beautiful. It is this very hint of muscular contraction that an empathetic link is created between the image and the viewer. One knows, but just what one knows, remains out of reach. It is as if language has been bypassed and body speaks to body.“ – from Earth and Ink by Wilma Cruise

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