MIAMI BEACH—A monumental bronze sculpture by Zanele Muholi will be on view at Art Basel Miami Beach from December 1-3, 2022. Depicting the South African artist and visual activist as a reclining figure, the work, Muholi V, 2022, will extend beyond the standard art fair format and will be shown outdoors under the trees in a landscaped garden, Collins Canal Park, on the north side of the Miami Beach Convention Center.
The sculpture is presented by the artist’s galleries Yancey Richardson, New York, and Stevenson, Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Amsterdam, and is part of the fair’s Meridians sector, curated by Magali Arriola, Director of Museo Tamayo, Mexico City. The Meridians sector will include 20 large-scale projects by renowned and emerging artists.
Muholi’s first bronze, Muholi, 2021, was shown at Yancey Richardson’s booth in Art Basel Miami Beach 2021, and traveled to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston for the exhibition Being Muholi: Portraits as Resistance from February 10 – May 8, 2022.
Known internationally for their photographic works, Muholi has embraced bronze sculpture as a new way of exploring self-portraiture. Evolving from larger than life-size busts to monumental figures, their newest bronze, Muholi V, is the artist’s largest to date. The sculpture combines Muholi’s activist and aesthetic interests, culminating in a work that directly references the art historical canon while remaining embedded in today’s social and political issues.
Muholi V builds on Muholi’s reclining photographic self-portraits such as Julile I, Parktown, Johannesburg, 2016, appropriating an art historical motif that dates from the Hellenistic portrayals of Ariadne and Hermaphrodite and continues to the present day. For Muholi, the sleeping bronze figure of Muholi V comments on labor and rest, referencing the burdens historically shouldered by Black women. Raised in a township during Apartheid by a mother who was a domestic worker, Muholi has often referenced both her mother and the theme of labor in her photographs. Pictured recumbent with closed eyes, the figure emanates innocence, vulnerability, and a long-sought freedom from fear.
Yancey Richardson will also show several photographs by Muholi dating from 2022 and 2014 at Untitled Art Miami Beach from November 29 through December 3.