Modern, Post-War and Contemporary Art, Decorative Arts, Jewellery and Fine Wine

Live Virtual Auction, 8 - 11 November 2020

The Tasso Foundation Collection

Sold for

ZAR 102 420
Lot 418
  • Penny Siopis; Pinky Pinky: Eye
  • Penny Siopis; Pinky Pinky: Eye
  • Penny Siopis; Pinky Pinky: Eye
  • Penny Siopis; Pinky Pinky: Eye

Lot Estimate
ZAR 90 000 - 120 000
Selling Price
Incl. Buyer's Premium & VAT
ZAR 102 420

About this Item

South African 1953-
Pinky Pinky: Eye
oil and found objects on canvas
38,5 by 48,5cm excluding frame; 45,5 by 56 by 6,5cm including frame


The present lot forms part of an important suite of paintings made between 2002 and 2004. Collectively titled Pinky Pinky, the series takes its name from an ambiguous figure of legend said to prey on adolescent children at school toilets. The project originated out of a chance encounter with a speech prepared by Thapelo Monyaki, a friend of the artist’s son, Alexander Richards, on this human-animal figure for a school project. ‘It so happened that I was giving an art talk to school kids a few days later, and I encouraged them to tell me who Pinky Pinky was, what it looked like, how it acted. They all had their versions, which I then translated into paintings. I relied a lot on the materiality of the painted surface, which is thick and fleshy, and into which I stuck plastic body parts like fake scars, wounds, eyes, fingernails, teeth … The manner in which they’re painted muddles figure and ground distinctions, so that the image appears to be emerging from the pink paint surface.’¹ The series is consistent with the artist’s long-term interest in formlessness, both as a philosophical idea and operational pursuit in painting allowing Siopis to create a tension between reference (figuration) and materiality. A wall text for the Pinky Pinky series in the artist’s 2014 retrospective exhibition at the South African National Gallery further elaborated: ‘The series investigates personal and public narratives around fear and trauma in South Africa, giving forms to things that seem impossible to speak about directly.’1

1.  Gerrit Olivier (ed) (2014) Penny Siopis: Time and Again, Johannesburg: Wits Press, pages 141 and 144.


Strauss & Co, Cape Town, 12 October 2015, lot 584.

The Tasso Foundation Collection of Important South African Art assembled by the Late Giulio Bertrand of Morgenster Estate.


View all Penny Siopis lots for sale in this auction

Other lots that might interest you
Stanley Pinker; Into Orbit
Stanley Pinker
Into Orbit
ZAR 300 000 - 500 000
Walter Battiss; Township
Walter Battiss
ZAR 200 000 - 300 000
Anton Karstel; Two Gymnasts
Anton Karstel
Two Gymnasts
ZAR 30 000 - 50 000
Penny Siopis; Feral Fables: Changeling
Penny Siopis
Feral Fables: Changeling
ZAR 100 000 - 150 000
Penny Siopis; Untitled
Penny Siopis
ZAR 500 000 - 700 000
Judith Mason; Reaching for the Sun
Judith Mason
Reaching for the Sun
ZAR 90 000 - 120 000