Zwelethu Mthethwa at Andréhn-Schiptjenko

Zwelethu Mthethwa at Andréhn-Schiptjenko


November 8, 2005

Women in Private Spaces

Zwelethu Mthethwa at Andréhn-Schiptjenko

November 3 – December 3, 2005

It is a great pleasure for Andréhn-Schiptjenko to announce their first solo-show with South African artist Zwelethu Mthethwa. Mthethwa is considered to be, alongside with David Goldblatt and Santu Mofokeng, one of South Africa’s most recognised photographers to date.

Since the 1990’s photographic work by African photographers has come to the Western public’s attention. These photographers have established artistic initiatives that build their own critical operations and contribute to a process of reassessment of cultural practices often attributed only to the West. Moreover, their conceptual modes of photographic production present a critical alternative to the hypersaturation of documentary and photojournalistic images of apartheid and post-apartheid South Africa.

In Women in Private Spaces Mthethwa makes use of the principles and traditions of Western painting. Rooms and objects become the expression of inner states and of social status. His subjects are depicted in their homes among personal objects and home decorations, themselves active participants in the staging of their own image. These could be visual documents offering an examination of some of the key social issues affecting the life of people living in the periphery of urban settlements in post-apartheid South Africa, but also offer a sense of negotiation between subject and photographer in the construction of the images.

Says Mthethwa: “Art in our day is not really done for art’s sake; it questions issues related to global processes such as urban industrialization, contemporary cultures, identity crisis, gender, race and social imbalance”. Working in photography, pastel drawings and, more recently, film, Mthethwa’s approach to these matters involves a subtle and poignant revision of how subjects choose to represent themselves.

Zwelethu Mthethwa, born 1960 in Durban, South Africa, holds an Advanced Diploma in Fine Art from the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town as well as a Masters in Imaging Arts from Rochester Institute of Technology in the US. Recent exhibitions include solo-shows at the Centre National de la Photographie, Paris and The Cleveland Museum, Ohio and group-shows The Experience of Art, Venice Biennial, curated by Maria de Corall, Emergencies, MUSAC, Leon and New Work/New Acquisitions at MOMA, New York.

The exhibition opens Thursday November 3rd, 5-8 pm and runs through December 3rd. Our opening hours are Tues – Fri 11 am-5 pm, Sat 12-5 pm. For further information and visuals, please contact the gallery at or visit our website

Next show: Helene Billgren, December 10th

Andréhn-Schiptjenko will be present at the ArtNova Section of ArtBasel Miami Beach.

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November 8, 2005

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