Knot I : I Knot
14 . 10 . 17
11 . 11 . 17
SMAC Gallery is proud to present Knot I : I Knot, an exhibition of new paintings and ceramic sculptures by Marlene Steyn. This is the artist’s second solo exhibition with the gallery, and will be her first in Johannesburg.
Steyn’s characteristically elongated, distorted figures bend and twist in yoga-like positions, often writhing and transmuting into the sporting goods by which their actions are accompanied. The title is a play on Not I, a short dramatic monologue written in 1972 by Samuel Beckett, in which a singular disembodied mouth utters jumbled sentences at a ferocious pace. This separation of self is reminiscent of Steyn’s practice – which is punctuated by dismembered body parts in bright, pastel colours – and that often evidences fragments of the human form, eluding to philosophical ideas of the division between the body and mind.
The loose, looping figures that contort themselves throughout Steyn’s practice reference the tying of a knot, or the forming a yoga pose, the function of which is the knotting of the body in order to unknot the mind. Capable of fluctuating between observer and observed, interior and exterior, conscious and subconscious, physique and psyche, these figures remain signifiers of the difficult business of living in a body, and the kaleidoscopic moments of contact with the world beyond.
Knot I : I Knot opens at 10:00AM at SMAC Gallery in Johannesburg on 14 October, and will be showing until 11 November 2017.
Marlene Steyn was born in 1989 in Cape Town, South Africa, where she currently lives and works. She obtained her Master of Fine Art degree in 2014 from the Royal College of Art in London, UK. Steyn’s work features in numerous public and private collections including the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA) and featured at the museum’s inaugural exhibition in 2017.
Marlene Steyn has presented a number of critically acclaimed solo exhibitions, including: How Cannibals Cuddle at Cabin Gallery in London, in 2014; Mad Love at Lychee One in London and The End is Located Underneath Her Third Armpit (if the muscle is flexed) in Cape Town, both in 2015; as well as Your Skin Is Not The Best Hiding Place at SMAC Gallery in Cape Town; and You Can’t Cry When Your Head is Underwater at Lychee One, London, both in 2016.