The Contemporary Art Society acquires major installation by Dineo Seshee Bopape at Frieze London

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The Contemporary Art Society acquires major installation by Dineo Seshee Bopape at Frieze London
Dineo Seshee Bopape, Sedibeng, it comes with the rain, 2016. Mixed media. Variable dimensions. Installation view. Courtesy of the artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery Beirut/Hamburg.

EASTBOURNE.- The Contemporary Art Society has acquired an installation by Dineo Seshee Bopape at Frieze London for Towner Art Gallery in Eastbourne, inspired by her South African heritage and the artist’s spiritual and physical relationship with her surroundings. This year Bopape has won the Pinchuk Future Generation Art Prize, the Sharjah Biennial Art Prize and last year had a major solo show at Palais de Tokyo, Paris.

The Towner has a significant collection of works that explore notions of the 'edge in landscape', including those by Yael Bartana, Tacita Dean, Olafur Eliasson (a Contemporary Art Society acquisition in 2004), Omer Fast and Isaac Julien. The museum is located on the southern coast of England, along the constantly changing boundary between land and sea.

Sedibeng, it comes with the rain, 2016, was purchased through the Contemporary Art Society’s Collections Fund, which was set up in 2012 and is working in partnership with Frieze London for a second year. This scheme supports the acquisition of significant contemporary works for Contemporary Art Society museum members across the UK. It aims to draw together the knowledge, experience, and expertise of private collectors with that of museum curators.

Dineo Seshee Bopape, Sedibeng, it comes with the rain, 2016, is made of materials chosen for their link to cosmology and fertility. Bopape questions the politics of gender, race, spirituality, and cultural constructs through various imagery. The metal structures evolved from abstracted representation of masculine and feminine paradigms, with references to the warrior, the mother, the father, and the child. Letter charms hang loosely between the metal beams and bags of herbs containing sage, ginger, chamomile, and anise, all traditionally used to heal ailments of the womb, are fastened to the sculptures with string creating a mystical aroma. Feathers are strewn on the floor and poked through floral foam, as images of ripe fruits are inserted between them, all symbolising the fecundity of Mother Nature.

Bopape incorporates a slide projection of a woman’s hand moulding, touching, and throwing clay rocks, addressing the power of the feminine, its relation to nature, and race, while creating a cacophony of images, illusions, textures, and sounds. Surrounding the installation are stickers of flowers native to Africa, along with mirrors and overhead projectors reflecting and refracting the light. The clamour of the installation destabilises the everyday objects, allowing the viewer to reconsider their purpose. The installation was presented at Frieze London by Sfeir-Semler Gallery and was purchased at the fair.

Caroline Douglas, Director, Contemporary Art Society, said: “We wanted to seize this moment at Frieze to acquire a major installation by an artist whose relevance is now being recognised so widely. Bopape has the distinct voice of a new generation of South African artists, coming of age in the immediate post-apartheid era, and the issues she addresses in her work about our relationship with the earth are urgent for us all."

Brian Cass, Head of Exhibitions, Towner Art Gallery, said: “Dineo Seshee Bopape looks to the land for inspiration, her work reflecting how ones geographical location informs identity and memory. It is perhaps not surprising, given her South African heritage, that she is invested in the specifics of land, colonial histories, ecology and representation. But what is remarkable in works, or environments, such as Sedibeng, it comes with the rain (2016) is how she creates a range of associations that explore powerful socio-political and metaphysical notions of fertility, land, Afro-diasporic spiritual aesthetics and practices. Her work captures audiences emotionally and aesthetically and engages very directly with the idea of landscape that from the beginning has been at the heart of Towner’s Collection.”

Jo Stella Sawicka, Artistic Director, Frieze Fairs said: “The Collections Fund proves its national significance for a second year, with this major acquisition for Towner Art Gallery. We are thrilled to be enabling this addition to the Towner’s already exceptional collection of works, with an ambitious and thought-provoking installation by Dineo Seshee Bopape which pushes traditional notions of landscape into new, contemporary territory. In this unique partnership between Frieze, CAS patrons and the Towner, the fair provides a vital platform for discovery, engagement and acquisition, for museums and their audiences across the UK.”

Sedibeng, it comes with the rain will be presented at Towner Art Gallery during autumn 2018.

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