Siopis with her large scale paintings at Maitland Institute, Cape Town
|Known for||Painting, installation, and film|
Penny Siopis ( 5 February 1953 )is a South African artist from Cape Town. She was born in Vryburg in the Northern Cape from Greek parents who had moved after inheriting a bakery from Siopis maternal grandfather. Siopis studied Fine Arts at Rhodes University in Makhanda, completing her master's degree in 1976, after which she pursued postgraduate studies at Portsmouth Polytechnic in the United Kingdom. She taught Fine Arts at the Technikon Natal in Durban from 1980 to 1983. In 1984 she took up a lectureship at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. During this time she was also visiting research fellow at the University of Leeds (1992–93) and visiting Professor in Fine Arts at Umeå University in Sweden (2000) as part of an interinstitutional exchange. With an Honorary Doctorate from Rhodes University, Makhanda - Siopis is currently Honorary Professor at Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town.
She came to prominence in the early 1980s with her ‘cake’ paintings, which materially encode feminist aesthetics in thick impasto oil paint surfaces. These works were followed by her ‘history paintings’, interpreted as a form of resistance against apartheid. Her interdisciplinary practice since the national liberation of her country has explored the persistence and fragility of memory, notions of truth and the complex entanglements of personal and collective histories. Experimenting with a wide range of materials and processes, she reflects on the politics of the body, grief and shame, estrangement, migration and more recently the relationship between the human and the not-human within the context of climate change. All her explorations assert materiality and process as inseparable from concept, with her characteristic use of contingent and chance-driven methods becoming emblematic of her interest in ‘the poetics of vulnerability’. Griselda Pollock states, “Penny Siopis is one of the few artists in the world today who can weave a material web of marks, gestures, voices, words, found things and painted surfaces to entangle the brute forces of history with the delicate threads of human vulnerability.”
Siopis established herself as one of the most talented and challenging artists in South Africa and beyond,  by working across painting, installation and film, bringing together diverse references and materials in ways that disturb disciplinary boundaries and binaries.
Concepts of time run through all her work often manifesting in the actual physical changes of her materials; in her early cake paintings oil paint is made to be unnaturally affected by gravity, age and decay; in her films using archival footage time is marked as much by the effects of age on the celluloid as by the historical period caught in the sweep of the camera; in her accumulations of found objects in her installations, ideas of the heirloom come to the fore with her ongoing conceptual work Will (1997 - ) - in which she bequeaths objects to beneficiaries - being the ultimate time piece only becoming complete on her death; her glue and ink paintings index flux as they record the material transformation that happens when viscous glue matter reacts with pigment, gravity, the artist's bodily gestures, and the drying effects of the air.
Siopis sees her art practice as ‘open form’, operating as an intimate model in which the physical changes of her materials can be extrapolated into a larger ethics of personal and political transformation. According to Achille Mbembe this quality marks her interest in process as a perpetual state of becoming and entails "the crafting of an unstable relation between form and formlessness, in the understanding that the process of becoming proceeds in ways that are almost always unpredictable and at times accidental”
Between 1980 and 1984 Siopis developed her 'cake' paintings which sprang from her childhood experiences of watching her mother ice cakes in the family bakery. Siopis’ fascination with the implements used in the shop gave rise to this first series of her career. Instead of the traditional paintbrush techniques, she used unconventional implements such as piping nozzles and other tools used in the decoration of cakes. Concerned with exploring the materiality of paint and its potential as object, Siopis worked with oil paint in a way that strayed from the norm, layering it thickly in high relief, in a technique referred to as ‘impasto’. This approach causes the outside layer of the medium to dry long before the interior, leading the surface to wrinkle and crack over time.
Siopis’ skilful use of form and colour within this body of work evokes associations with skin and flesh. The physical changes visible on the surface of her works serve as a direct metaphor for the all too real effects of time and circumstance on the human body which ages, wrinkles and eventually decomposes. Challenging the conventions of Western art history that idealize the female nude, Siopis suggests female body parts in states of decay, decomposition and excess, both confrontational and vulnerable at the same time. While the female body is the main focus of these works, their association with food and decay comments on larger social narratives of decay which are developed in the paintings that follow.
After her ‘cakes’ series, Siopis began to create the ‘banquet’ and early ‘history paintings’ in the mid- 1980s, extending into the early 1990s. These works coincided with the end of apartheid and South Africa's transition to a democratic nation. They commented on the excesses of colonialism and the mis/representation of race and gender within history. In contrast to the quieter, simpler compositions of the ‘cakes’ paintings, this body of work is epitomized by dramatically crowded scenes executed in intricate detail,- with tables full of food and other objects filling the canvas and emphasizing the idea of excess.
Between 1985 and 1995 Penny Siopis produced a body of work often referred to as her ‘history paintings’. Although her interest in the materiality of paint and her experimentation with this medium never ceased, the works from this period differed in many important ways from the ‘cake’ paintings. The transition was already marked in her Still Life with Watermelon and Other Things (1985); it was even more clearly evident in Melancholia (1986). Presenting a vision of colonialism in decline, the scene in Melancholia is both a vanitas and a history painting. It combines symbols of European high culture and references to Africa, all of them piling up as the debris of history within a claustrophobic space that signifies excess, ruin and psychological malaise. In the past the genre of history painting was seen as the highest achievement of the European art historical tradition. Siopis’ ironic interrogation of its form and ideology is evident in such works as Patience on a Monument: ‘A History Painting’ (1988).
In the history works she introduced the techniques of collage and assemblage as a means to disrupt direct depiction and to bring in references to the representations of colonial history that South Africans were brought up on through history books. These techniques also allowed her to mark the significance of objects as traces of history in their own right. Through the introduction of objects and found images her works challenged the invisible but powerful structures within the ideological systems of apartheid at a time when political tensions in the country were running high.
The Pinky Pinky  body of work was created between 2002 and 2004. Pinky Pinky is the visualization of a South African urban legend in which a creature that is part human, part animal, part man, part woman, not white, not black, but an amalgamation of forms, preys on children in school toilets and threatens to rape girls if they wear pink underwear. It is visible to girls but invisible to boys who experience its presence through a slap or a scratch on a cheek. After hearing the story from her son's school friend, Siopis embarked on a personal exploration of Pinky Pinky, producing visual representations of this mysterious figure according to verbal accounts by school children she interviewed on the topic.
Here, as in her early ‘cake’ paintings, the artist manipulates paint and form to simulate skin and flesh. The works exclusively use shades of pink, starting with the category of ‘flesh colour'. Siopis tinted the flesh colour in different ways, creating tones ranging from the cotton candy sugary sweetness signifying childhood to tones that act as metaphors for violation. Siopis applied thick layers of oil paint onto canvases using only a palette knife, building up areas of relief and texture – pocking and cutting its surface to the desired effect. Found objects such as glass eyes, plastic dolls, toe nails, teeth and eyelashes were added to the wet painted surface to bring the creature in its various configurations to life. It is often only through the effects of light on painted surface that form can be determined, giving the very visceral images a ghostlike quality.
The series investigates personal and public narratives around fear and trauma in South Africa, giving form to things that seem impossible to speak about directly. It is an allegory of the nation's deepest fears around issues of poverty, xenophobia, race, and crime, - at a time of radical social transition and uncertainty post- 1994. These at times playful configurations also serve as sites of felt and imagined traumas in a society where violence committed against women and children is far too common.
Siopis began the Shame paintings in 2002 and they became a key feature of her exhibition Three Essays on Shame (2005), an intervention in the museum of Sigmund Freud, once his house, in London. It was part of a project that marked the centenary of Freud's groundbreaking publication Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality. Responding to Freud, Siopis’ installation consisted of three parts located in Freud's study (with the famous couch), dining room and bedroom and titled Voice, Gesture and Memory. The small paintings shown in a grid in this room were presented as a frieze in the Memory section of the original exhibition. The artist invokes this exhibition here through the arrangement of some of the objects from the installation on a table reminiscent of that in Freud's dining room, where she had placed Baubo, one of Freud's objects from his collection of antiquities. Baubo is a small terracotta figurine who gestures to her genitalia in a provocative way, an act some have interpreted as a show of shame that speaks of both vulnerability and empowerment.
In the installation Siopis also evoked a complex dialogue between Freud's ideas and her personal experiences by inserting references (voice recordings and objects) to the traumatic proceedings of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission and colonial and apartheid history. Once again she was interested in binding the traces of human vulnerability and the dramatic effects of sweeping historical narratives.
In this body of work Siopis manipulates thick and gooey lacquer gel paint, used in home-craft to create stained glass and coloured mirror effects on surfaces. For her it is a physical process that moulds anxiety into form. It translates the result of childhood trauma that we know as shame onto a painted surface. Through the reflective qualities of the medium Siopis blends the bodily sensation with the experience of being looked at, both of which define shame. The use of language in the form of ready-made rubber stamped clichés that clash with the raw power of this familiar emotion further underscores the ‘unspeakable’ character of the experience. Siopis goes on to explore this in different ways in the Pinky Pinky series in the adjacent room.
Ink and glue paintings
From 2007 to presently Penny Siopis extends her range of medium and scale of imagery to large expansive canvases encased in viscous glue and fluid inks in large, expansive canvases. In this body of work the artist's skilful use of the associative qualities of her imagery and the inherent properties of this new medium creates scenes that are full of both violence and eroticism.
Although there is a dramatic shift in pictorial representation, the manner in which the medium acts on the surfaces remains of central concern. Embedded in the medium itself is the opportunity to work in a completely different mode where the dance of chance and the directness of the process allow the artist broader scope for imaginative association. There is also a move to abstraction where line begins to define and dissolve form and bleed across surfaces – where images appear to emerge from the medium itself.
The process involves a mix of ink, glue and occasionally water which are manipulated through splashing, dripping and moving the canvas to direct the flow. There is a strong element of surprise in this manner of working, as the final image only becomes apparent when dry. This openness to risk and the ‘accidents’ that happen as a consequence is what ultimately animates each work.
In the 1990s, Siopis extended her range of media to include monumental installations, film and video. The main focus of Siopis’ works is often visualised in existing objects. Siopis has always been interested in objects as carriers of meaning beyond themselves. Her installations have taken different forms but Charmed Lives, exhibited in 1999 at New York's Museum for African Art, became the core form and concept that shaped versions that followed. All the objects in the installations are from Siopis’ collection. In Charmed Lives they are arranged into sequences that speak of the fragile and unstable quality of memory, both personal and collective, asking probing questions about the nature of the archive and the relative truth of a historical record.
Occasionally, some are singled out to become part of the ongoing Will project. The installation Will, started in 1997, functions as an ultimate time piece. Siopis sees it becoming alive only on her death: she has singled out objects from her vast collection and bequeathed them to individuals all around the world. Upon her passing they will be sent out to their recipients. Seen as an autobiographical project, this particular collection also functions as an archive and inventory of both personal and collective history. The work comments on the lives and perceptions of objects that could function both as art and heirloom, representing different values for those who possessed them before the artist and those who will end up owning them in the future. The installation presupposes an end through its own fragmentation. It will continue living as a memory; at the same time the objects, having been dispersed, will acquire new meanings that have the potential to continue to evolve forever.
Siopis began working with film in 1994 with her film Per Kind Permission: Fieldwork. However, in 1997 Siopis found her niche in film making through the work My Lovely Day. She has continued to work with film throughout her career and describes the videos as montages, cut-and-paste images that move and unfold over time. Combined with text and music, film offers a wonderful opportunity for narrative.
In My Lovely Day Siopis cuts sequences from her mom's 8mm home movies that she took of their family life in the 50s and 60s, and the more public events that were caught in the sweep of her camera. She combined these with music and the remembered words of her grandmother, presented as subtitles. She wove the story of three generations of women, as a kind of transgenerational haunting. The story compresses historical time into one day. The historical moment of her telling is apartheid South Africa, but her references to social turmoil and catastrophe are to earlier times: the ‘exchange of populations’ following the Greco-Turkish conflict of 1919–1922, the massive migrations sparked by the two World Wars and the beginnings of the decolonisation of Africa.
Her mother's home movies led Siopis to the home movies of strangers, which she finds in flea markets and thrift shops in South Africa and on her travels abroad. She now has a huge archive of found film that she mines continually. Siopis sees the film as a ready-made in that it brings its own history and context into the scene. She cuts sequences from the film which she connects to the text in mostly allusive ways. So, whoever views it will shape their narrative too.
All the videos take a very particular story from South African history that has an elemental quality and speaks beyond its historical circumstances; two of them, Obscure White Messenger (2010) and The Master is Drowning (2012), look at the actual and attempted assassinations of apartheid Prime Minister H.F. Verwoerd. Siopis draws on various archival sources to construct the narrative, and use different modes of address, but she prefers the first person. In Obscure White Messenger she uses a question and answer format, which she drew from the psychiatrist's report of the interview he had with Dimitrio Tsafendas, immediately after the murder. In the beginning of the film it is not easy to work out who is talking: who's the ‘you’ and who's the ‘I’?.
- 2019 National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
- 2018 Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, Cape Town, South Africa
- 2017 Stevenson, Cape Town, South Africa
- 2016 Erg Gallery, Brussels, Belgium
- 2015 Stevenson, Cape Town, South Africa
- 2015 Wits Art Museum, Johannesburg, South Africa
- 2014 Brandts Museum, Odense, Denmark
- 2014 Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
- 2011 Stevenson, Cape Town, South Africa
- 2010 Brodie/Stevenson, Johannesburg, South Africa
- 2009 KZNSA Gallery, Durban, South Africa
- 2009 Michael Stevenson, Cape Town, South Africa
- 2007 Michael Stevenson, Cape Town, South Africa
- 2005 Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
- 2005 Freud Museum, London, UK
- 2003 University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
- 2003 Kappatos Gallery, Athens, Greece
- 2002 Gertrude Posel Gallery, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg,South Africa
- 2002 Tropen Museum, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
- 2002 Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
- 2000 Standard Bank National Arts Festival, Makhanda, South Africa
- 2000 Gasworks Artists’ Studios, London, UK
- 1998 Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
- 1994 Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
- 1990 Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
- 1990 Standard Bank National Arts Festival, Makhanda, South Africa
- 1990 Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
- 1987 Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
- 1983 Market Theatre Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
- 1982 NSA Gallery, Durban, South Africa
- 1980 Hiscock Gallery, Portsmouth, England
- 1979 British Council Centre, London, UK
- 1978 Hellenic Centre, Port Elizabeth, South Africa
- 1978 South Africa Collector's Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
Selected Group Exhibitions
- 2019 Nicodim Gallery, Bucharest, Romania; Los Angeles, California
- 2018 Stevenson, Cape Town, South Africa
- 2018 Oaxaca, Mexico
- 2018 Stevenson, Johannesburg, South Africa
- 2018 Pérez Art Museum Miami, USA
- 2018 The Glasgow School of Art, Scotland
- 2017 Prospect.4 Biennial, New Orleans, USA
- 2017 Stevenson, Cape Town, South Africa
- 2016 10th Taipei Biennial, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taiwan
- 2016 British Museum, London, UK
- 2016 ICA Indian Ocean, Port Louis, Mauritius
- 2016 Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
- 2016 Stevenson Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa
- 2016 Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
- 2015 The Walther Collection, La Maison Rouge, Paris, France
- 2015 Kunsthaus Dresden, Germany
- 2015 Tate Modern, London, UK
- 2015 Kunsthaus Dresden, Germany
- 2015 Galerie Les Filles De Calvaire, Paris, France
- 2015 Beirut Art Centre, Lebanon
- 2014 New Church Museum, Cape Town, South Africa
- 2014 Stevenson, Cape Town, South Africa
- 2014 Marian Goodman Gallery, Paris, France
- 2014 Yerba Buena Center for the Arts,San Francisco, USA
- 2014 Wits Art Museum, Johannesburg, South Africa
- 2013 Former Tagesspiegel Building, Berlin, Germany;
- 2013 Michaelis Gallery, University of Cape Town, South Africa
- 2013 South African Pavillion, 55th Venice Biennale, Italy
- 2013 Jeu de Paume, Paris, France
- 2013 Michaelis Gallery, University of Cape Town, South Africa
- 2012 Stevenson, Cape Town, South Africa
- 2012 Michaelis Galleries, University of Cape Town, South Africa
- 2012 Museum of Contemporary Art, Oslo, Norway
- 2012 Khiasma, Les Lilas, Paris, France
- 2012 Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre;
- 2012 University of Johannesburg Art Gallery, South Africa
- 2012 The New Church, Cape Town, South Africa
- 2011 Stevenson, Cape Town, South Africa
- 2011 Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town
- 2011 École nationale supérieure des Beaux-arts, Paris, France
- 2011 Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
- 2011 Walther Collection, Neu-Ulm/Burlafingen, Germany
- 2011 FADA Gallery, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
- 2011 Iwalewa-Haus, University of Bayreuth, Germany
- 2010 Tennis Palace Art Museum, Helsinki, Finland
- 2010 Michael Stevenson, Cape Town, South Africa
- 2010 7th Biennale of Sydney, Australia
- 2010 Savannah College of Art and Design, Gutstein Gallery Savannah, Georgia, USA
- 2010 Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
- 2009 Brodie/Stevenson, Johannesburg, South Africa
- 2009 San Francisco Camerawork, San Francisco,USA
- 2009 Den Hvide Kodby, Copenhagen, Denmark
- 2008 Michael Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
- 2008 Fowler Museum, Los Angeles, USA
- 2008 Hood Museum, New Hampshire
- 2008 Davis Museum, Wellesley, Massachusetts; San Diego
- 2008 Museum of Art, San Diego, USA
- 2008 3rd Guangzhou Triennial, China
- 2007 L'oeil en cascade, Paris, France
- 2007 Centre de Cultura Contemporania de Barcelona, Spain
- 2007 Michael Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
- 2007 Tate Gallery, Liverpool, England
- 2007 Goodman Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
- 2007 Cape '07, International Biennale, Cape Town, South Africa
- 2007 Art Extra, Johannesburg, South Africa
- 2007 Goodman Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
- 2006 Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
- 2006 Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
- 2006 Belfast, Northern Ireland
- 2006 Johannesburg Art Gallery, South Africa
- 2005 Royal College of Art, London, UK
- 2005 Print Center of New York, USA
- 2005 FLAC, Centrum voor Kunsten en Kultuur in Gent, Belgium
- 2005 Basis Gallery, Frankfurt, Germany
- 2004 Museum Bochum, Bochum, Germany
- 2004 Feria Internacional de Arte Contemporáneo, Arco, Madrid, Spain
- 2004 International Art Fair, Athens, Greece
- 2004 Fortis Circustheater, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
- 2004 MCH Messe, Basel, Switzerland
- 2004 Kunsthaus, Basel, Switzerland
- 2004 Michael Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
- 2004 MTN Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
- 2004 Klein Karoo Nationale Kunstefees, Oudtshoorn, South Africa
- 2003 Tropen Museum, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
- 2003 Arti et Amiciitiae, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
- 2003 Michael Stevenson, Cape Town, South Africa
- 2002 Davis Museum and Cultural Centre,
- 2002 Wellesley College, Boston, USA
- 2001 Centre de Cultura Contemporania de Arte, Barcelona, Spain
- 2001 Gertrude Posel Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
- 2000 Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town; Gertrude Posel Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
- 2000 XIII International AIDS conference, Durban, South Africa
- 2000 Harvard AIDS Institute, Boston, USA
- 1999 Villa Medici, Rome, Italy
- 1999 Museum for African Art, New York; Austin
- 1999 Museum of Art, Texas; Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University
- 1999 Palo Alto, California
- 1999 University of Arizona Gallery, Tucson, USA
- 1999 Gertrude Posel gallery, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
- 1999 South African National Gallery, Cape Town; Bamako Festival of Photography, Mali
- 1998 Fotofest, Houston, USA
- 1998 Standard Bank National Arts Festival, Makhanda
- 1998 Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town; Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
- 1998 BildMuseet, Umea, Sweden
- 1998 Grande Palais, Paris, France
- 1998 Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town, South Africa
- 1998 University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
- 1997 The National Touring Exhibitions, Oslo, Norway
- 1997 6th Havana International Biennial, Havana, Cuba
- 1997 2nd Johannesburg International Biennale, Johannesburg, South Africa
- 1997 Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
- 1996 Gertrude Posel Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
- 1996 Arnolfini, Bristol, UK
- 1996 Adelson Galleries, New York, USA
- 1996 The Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town, South Africa
- 1996 Culturgest, Lisbon, Portugal
- 1995 1st Johannesburg International Biennale
- 1995 Wits Galleries, Africus – 1st Johannesburg International Biennale
- 1995 Johannesburg Art Gallery, South Africa
- 1995 South African National Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
- 1995 Standard Bank National Arts Festival, Makhanda, South Africa
- 1995 Meridian Center, Washington DC, USA
- 1995 City Museum and Art Galleries, Birmingham, UK
- 1995 Bernard Jacobson Gallery, London, UK
- 1995 Center for the Arts, San Francisco
- 1995 1st Gwanju Biennale, South Korea
- 1995 Delfina Studio Trust, London, UK
- 1995 National Arts Festival, Makhanda, South Africa
- 1995 Meridian Center, Washington DC, USA
- 1994 5th Havana International Biennale, Cuba
- 1994 Art First Gallery, London, UK
- 1994 Block Gallery, Evanston, USA
- 1993 XLV Venice Biennale, Palazzo
- 1994 Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
- 1994 Giustinian Lolin, Fondazione Levi, Venice, Italy
- 1994 Sala 1 Gallery, Rome, Italy
- 1994 Leeds City Art Gallery, Leeds, England
- 1992 Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris, France
- 1992 Alliance Française Gallery, Durban, South Africa
- 1991 Cape Town Triennial, Iziko South African National Gallery
- 1991 Standard Bank National Arts Festival, Albany Museum, Makhanda
- 1991 Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
- 1991 Newtown Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
- 1990 Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, UK
- 1990 SOHO 20 Gallery, New York, USA
- 1989 The Portsmouth Collection, Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth, UK
- 1988 Market Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
- 1988 Johannesburg Art Gallery, South Africa
- 1988 Cape Town Triennial, Iziko South African National Gallery
- 1987 Oosterkerk, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
- 1986 Volkskas Atelier Award Exhibition, South African Association of Arts, Pretoria
- 1985 Africana Museum, Johannesburg, South Africa
- 1985 South African National Gallery, Cape Town
- 1985 Durban Art Museum, South Africa
- 1985 Cape Town Triennial, South African National Gallery, Cape Town
- 1984 South African Association of Arts, Pretoria
- 1983 University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
- 1983 University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg
- 1982 Cape Town Triennial, South African National Gallery, Cape Town
- 1977 Settler’s Museum, Makhanda, South Africa
The artist's work is represented in major public collections in South Africa; international collections include the Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Smithsonian Institution, Washington; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; and Tate, London.
- 2016 Arts & Culture Trust Lifetime Achievement Award, South Africa
- 2015 Helgaard Steyn Prize, South Africa
- 2002 Klein Karoo Nationale Kunsfees: Best Visual Artist Award, South Africa
- 1995 Vita Art Now, Quarterly Award Winner, South Africa
- 1991 Vita Art Now, Special Merit Award, South Africa
- 1988 Vita Art Now, Quarterly Award Winner, South Africa
- Vita Art Now, Merit Award, South Africa
- 1986 Volkskas Atelier Award, South Africa
- 1985 Cape Town Triennial, Merit Award, South Africa
- Sue Williamson, Resistance Art in South Africa. Cape Town: David Philip, 1989
- Colin Richards, ‘For want of (An)Other World’, in Penny Siopis, Johannesburg: The Artists Press, 1994.
- Clive van den Berg (ed) Panoramas of Passage: Changing Landscapes of South Africa, Washington and Johannesburg: Meridian Center and Wits Art Galleries, 1995.
- Okwui Enwezor (ed) Trade Routes: History and Geography, Greater Johannesburg Metropolitan Council, 1997.
- Frank Herremen & Mark D’Amato, Liberated Voices: Contemporary Art from South Africa, London and New York: Museum for African Art: Prestel, 1999
- Jennifer A Law, ‘The Story Teller: Penny Siopis’, in Liberated Voices: Contemporary Art from South Africa Frank Herreman (ed), New York: Museum of African Art, New York and Prestel, 1999.
- Brenda Atkinson and Candice Breitz (eds) Grey Areas: Representation, Identity and Politics in Contemporary South African Art, Johannesburg: Chalkham Hill Press, 1999.
- Olu Oguibe and Okwui Enwezor, (eds) Reading the Contemporary: African Art from Theory to the Marketplace, London: Iniva and MIT Press, 2000.
- Jennifer Law, Penny Siopis: Sympathetic Magic. Johannesburg: University of Witswaterstrand, 2002
- Kathryn Smith (ed) Penny Siopis, Johannesburg: Goodman Gallery, 2005.
- Colin Richards, 'Prima Facie: Surface as Depth in the Work of Penny Siopis' in Kathryn Smith (ed) Penny Siopis, Johannesburg: Goodman Gallery, 2005
- Griselda Pollock, ‘Painting, Difference and Desire in History: The Work of Penny Siopis 1985 - 1994’ in Kathryn Smith (ed) Penny Siopis, Johannesburg: Goodman Gallery, 2005
- Jennifer Law, Three Essays on Shame, London: Freud Museum, 2005.
- Penny Siopis, ‘Shame in Three Parts at the Freud Museum’ in Claire Pajaczkowska and Ivan Ward (eds), Shame and Sexuality: Psychoanalysis and Visual Culture, London: Routledge, 2008
- Sarah Nuttall, Entanglement: Literary and Cultural Reflections on Post- Apartheid, Johannesburg: Wits University Press, 2009.
- Brenton Maart (ed), Red, The Iconography of Colour in the work of Penny Siopis, Durban: KZNSA Gallery, 2009.
- Sarah Nuttall & Penny Siopis, An Unrecoverable Strangeness: some reflections on selfhood and otherness in South African Art, Critical Arts 24:3, 2010
- Colin Richards, ‘In Human History: Pasts and Prospects in South African Art today’ in Thembinkosi Goniwe, Mario Pisarra (eds), Visual Century: South African Art in Context 1907-2007, Vo 4, Johannesburg: Wits University Press, 2011.
- Sue Williamson, South African Art Now. New York: HarperCollins, 2011.
- Penny Siopis and Kim Miller, Whose Afraid of the Crowd, Catalogue 57. Cape Town: Stevenson, 2011
- Corinne Diserens, Appropriated Landscapes: Contemporary African Photography from The Walther Collection, Göttingen: Steidl, 2011
- Penny Siopis, ‘The Hooks of History - Three Films’ in Marie-Hélène Gutberelet, Cara Snyman (eds) Shoe Shop, Johannesburg: Jacana Media, 2012
- Brenton Maart (ed), Contemporary South African Art and the Archive, Makhanda: National Arts Festival, 2013
- Gerrit Oliver (ed), Penny Siopis: Time and Again, Wits University Press: Johannesburg, 2014.
- Griselda Pollock, ‘Remembering Three Essays on Shame, Penny Siopis, Freud Museum, London 2005’ in Gerrit Oliver (ed), Penny Siopis: Time and Again, Wits University Press: Johannesburg, 2014
- Penny Siopis, Grief, Stevenson: Cape Town, 2016
- Penny Siopis, Shame, Stevenson: Cape Town, 2016
- Penny Siopis, Material Acts , Stevenson: Cape Town, 2019
- Karen Milbourne, I Am…Contemporary Women Artists of Africa, Washington DC: Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, 2019
- "Stevenson". Stevenson. Retrieved 6 December 2019.
- Williamson, Sue (1989). Resistance Art in South Africa. Cape Town: David Philip.
- Siopis, Penny. "Warm Water Imaginaries". Stevenson. Retrieved 13 December 2019.
- Siopis, Penny (2007). Lasso. Cape Town: Stevenson.
- Pollock, Griselda (2014). 'Remembering Three Essays on Shame, Penny Siopis Freud Museum, London 2005' in Penny Siopis:Time and Again. Johannesburg: Wits University Press. p. 172. ISBN 978-1-86814-695-6.
- Olivier, Gerrit (2014). Penny Siopis:Time and Again. Johannesburg: Wits University Press. ISBN 978-1-86814-695-6.
- Law, Jennifer (2014). 'The Artist's Will' in Gerrit Olivier (ed) Penny Siopis:Time and Again. Johannesburg: Wits University Press. ISBN 978-1-86814-695-6.
- Mbembe, Achille (2014). 'Becoming Alive Again' in Penny Siopis:Time and Again. Johannesburg: Wits University Press. p. 39. ISBN 978-1-86814-695-6.
- Olivier, Gerrit (2015). Penny Siopis: Time and Again. Wits University Press. pp. 58–78. ISBN 978-1-86814-695-6. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
- Gershenson, Olga; Penner, Barbara (2009). Ladies and Gents: Public Toilets and Gender. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. ISBN 978-1-59213-941-5. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
- Olivier, Gerrit (2015). Penny Siopis: Time and Again. Wits University Press. pp. 139–146. ISBN 978-1-86814-695-6. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
- Pajaczkowska, Claire; Ward, Ivan (2008). Shame and Sexuality: Psychoanalysis and Visual Culture. East Sussex: Routledge. pp. 143–155. ISBN 978-0-415-42012-9. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
- Smith, Kathryn (2005). Penny Siopis. Johannesburg: Goodman Gallery Editions. pp. 104–116. ISBN 0-620-33546-7. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
This article's use of external links may not follow Wikipedia's policies or guidelines. (September 2015) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
- Stevenson. "Artists | STEVENSON" (PDF). Stevenson.info. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
- "Artist Website". Penny Siopis.
- "Penny Siopis, Obscure White Messenger". Tate Modern.
- "In new exhibit Penny Siopis rescues lost histories". Daily Maverick. Daily Maverick.
- "SAHO - Pippy Siopis". Sahistory.org.za. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
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