Defining Impressions: A Selection of Prints from South African Studios

Live Virtual Auction, 6 November 2023

Session 1
  • Penny Siopis; Shame Series, ten
  • Penny Siopis; Shame Series, ten
  • Penny Siopis; Shame Series, ten
  • Penny Siopis; Shame Series, ten
  • Penny Siopis; Shame Series, ten
  • Penny Siopis; Shame Series, ten
  • Penny Siopis; Shame Series, ten
  • Penny Siopis; Shame Series, ten
  • Penny Siopis; Shame Series, ten
  • Penny Siopis; Shame Series, ten
  • Penny Siopis; Shame Series, ten
  • Penny Siopis; Shame Series, ten
  • Penny Siopis; Shame Series, ten
  • Penny Siopis; Shame Series, ten
  • Penny Siopis; Shame Series, ten
  • Penny Siopis; Shame Series, ten
  • Penny Siopis; Shame Series, ten
  • Penny Siopis; Shame Series, ten
  • Penny Siopis; Shame Series, ten
  • Penny Siopis; Shame Series, ten
  • Penny Siopis; Shame Series, ten
  • Penny Siopis; Shame Series, ten
  • Penny Siopis; Shame Series, ten
  • Penny Siopis; Shame Series, ten
  • Penny Siopis; Shame Series, ten
  • Penny Siopis; Shame Series, ten
  • Penny Siopis; Shame Series, ten
  • Penny Siopis; Shame Series, ten
  • Penny Siopis; Shame Series, ten
  • Penny Siopis; Shame Series, ten
  • Penny Siopis; Shame Series, ten


Lot Estimate
ZAR 60 000 - 80 000

About this Item

South African 1953-
Shame Series, ten

each print signed, dated '04, numbered 4/20 and inscribed with a title in pencil in the margin

colour etching on paper
each image size: 19,5 by 13,5 cm; 54 by 46,5 by 4cm including frame

Notes

While deeply personal, Penny Siopis’s series of ten coloured etchings relates to the vulnerability of the female body in general. They form part of her continuous interest since 2000 in what has come to be known as her Shame series. The initial series of 90 miniature portraits and figures of women, executed in glossy enamel, in lacquer-like reds and pinks, focused on the psychosexual state of shame in post-apartheid South Africa as well as in other global contexts. While in Amsterdam in 2000, Siopis saw a documentary film, Long Night’s Journey into Day, about the Truth and Reconciliation Committee, narrating the shameful story of families torn apart under apartheid. Says Siopis: ‘On the way back to my room I went into a shop that made rubber stamps, wrote down ‘shame’ and asked the assistant to craft my script. My first impulse was to stamp shame all over my naked body, in glow-in-the dark ink, and film myself with the lights out. Back in South Africa, in the children’s section of a craft shop, I found readymade rubber stamps, hard curlicues of sentimental sayings: ‘I’m sorry’, ‘Get well soon’, ‘Hug me’, ‘Hush little baby’, ‘Forgive as you hope to be forgiven’.1 In Siopis’s etchings, however, the attention subsequently shifted to the depiction of young girls and their experience of various states of perceived and/or actual shame. The banal phrases appear sporadically in these etchings (which also serve as titles of the works) saying such things as ‘Don’t you cry’, ‘Shame’ and ‘Shame again’, suggesting something of the inadvertent shame felt by the speaker. Other phrases are more ambiguous, for example: ‘To a special father’ and ‘Hush little baby’. These phrases could well suggest something sinister, rather than something caring. ‘Shame, that all-embracing psycho-sexual, psycho-social thing!’ concludes Siopis.

1 Penny Siopis (2016). Shame, Cape Town: Stevenson, page 5.

View all Penny Siopis lots for sale in this auction



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