Minnette Vári

Minnette Vári was born in 1968 in Pretoria, South Africa. She now lives in Johannesburg. As Kendell Geers observes in a catalogue essay published in 2004 by Kunstmuseum Lucerne, “Minnette Vári has in her lifetime witnessed the fall of apartheid and all its structures, followed by the new democracy.” In response to this history, Vári has written a history of herself in relation to this trajectory, one that attempts to recover what is lost, to give shape and voice to forgotten or erased memories. Her work conflates self and history,examining how identity arises out of the traumatic past. In her videos and drawings, Vári frequently depicts her own body enduring a disfiguring metamorphosis – she merges with and emerges from nature as well as from the concrete architecture of modern cities. The female “protagonist” of her video works is sometimes archetypal and sometimes spectral, a persona who ingests and is ingested by time. Vári has exhibited her work since the early nineties, participating in such group exhibitions as the Johannesburg Biennale, Memoris, Intimas, Marcas at MUHKA in Belgium, the Venice Biennale, the Seoul International Media Art Biennale, and the Havana Biennale. Her solo exhibitions include Aurora Australis at the Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg, Chimera at Art Unlimited, Basel, Vigil at Serge Ziegler Galerie, New York, and shows in 2008 and 2009 at Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg.

Solo Exhibitions

2013 Songs of Excavation, Goodman Gallery Johannesburg, South Africa.
2012 Revenant, Goodman Gallery Cape, South Africa.
2010 Parallax, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
2009 Time and Tide: An anthology in video Goodman Gallery Cape, South Africa
2008 Goodman Gallery Cape, South Africa
2007 Minnette Vári, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
2007 Vigil, Elga Wimmer Gallery in collaboration with Serge Ziegler Galerie, New York, USA
2006 CHIMERA (black edition), Exhibition and Workshop Residency, Victoria H. Myhren Gallery, University of Denver, Colorado, USA
2005 Featured Festival Artist, Kleinkaroo National Arts Festival, Oudtshoorn, South Africa
2005 Aurora Australis, Galerie Renee Ziegler, Zürich, Switzerland
2005 Gallery Momo, Johannesburg, South Africa
2004 Minnette Vári, Kunstmuseum Luzern/Art Museum Lucerne, Lucerne, Switzerland
2003 Minnette Vári, Corkin-Shopland Gallery, Toronto, Canada
2003 Media Work, Jannotta Gallery, Hillyer Hall, Smith College, Massachusetts, USA
2003 CHIMERA (black edition), Galerie Renée Ziegler, Art Unlimited, Basel, Switzerland
2002 Minnette Vári, Serge Ziegler Galerie, Zürich, Switzerland
2001 Minnette Vári, Serge Ziegler Galerie, Zürich.
2001 Minnette Vári, Camouflage Art.Culture.Politics. Brussels.
2001 Aurora Australis, Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
1998 Beyond The Pale, at the invitation of and support by the French Institute of South Africa, Galerie d’Alliance Française, Johannesburg, South Africa
1994 Minnette Vári. Centurion Art Gallery, Centurion, South Africa.
1992 Painting and Language. FIG Gallery, Johannesburg.

Group Exhibitions

2015 Past Imperfect // Future Present, FADA Gallery, Johannesburg.
2014 The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Hell, Purgatory Revisited, by Contemporary African Artists, MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main.
2014 From Sitting to Selfie, Standard Bank Gallery, South Africa
2013 États Limites, Le Centquartre, Paris.
2011 The Underground, the Surface and the Edges, Michaelis Galleries, Cape Town
2011 Space, Ritual, Absence, FADA Gallery, University of Johannesburg Bunting Road Campus
2010-2011 Afropolis. City, Media, Art. Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum – Kulturen der Welt, Cologne, Germany (Catalogue)
2010-2011 VAF1. Contemporary African Video Art, organised through AGENCY: Art, Life, Society. Yorkshire, UK. (Catalogue)
2010-2011 Afropolis. City. Media. Art. Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum, Cologne; Iwalewa-Haus, Bayreuth,
Germany. (Catalogue)
2010-2011 Open End: An Exhibition of Paintings. Goodman Gallery Cape.
2010-2011VAF1. Contemporary African Video Art. Organised through AGENCY: Art, Life, Society. Yorkshire, UK. (Catalogue)
2010 Open End: An Exhibition of Paintings Goodman Gallery Cape
2010 In Context, Goodman Gallery Project Space, Arts On Main, Johannesburg (Catalogue)
2009 SPHÈRES 2009, Galleria Continua – Le Moulin, Boissy-le-Châtel, France
2009 The 10th Havana Biennale, Havana, Cuba
2009 Dystopia, Unisa Art Gallery, Museum Africa, Johannesburg, South Africa and Galerij Jan Colle, Ghent, Belgium
2009 5th VentoSul Biennial, Curitiba, Brazil. (Catalogue)
2009 Périfériks Curated by Kader Attia. Exhibition as part of the Eternal Tour festival, Centre d’Art de Neuchâtel, Switzerland
2008 The 5th Seoul International Media Art Biennale, South Korea
2007 African Pavillion, 52nd Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy
2007 Afterlife, Michael Stevenson, Cape Town, South Africa
2007 Voci dalla luna: a Homage to Federico Fellini, curated by Andrea Bruciati. Galleria Comunale d’Arte Contemporanea, Monfalcone, Italy.
2007 Diva Streets NYC, Digital and Video Art Fair, New York City, USA (Presented for Diva Streets by Serge Ziegler Galerie, Zürich, Switzerland)
2007 Luanda Triennial, Luanda, Angola
2006 Sd Observatorio, IVAM, Valencia, Spain
2006 Fairytale, TICA (Tirana Institute of Contemporary Art), Albania
2005 International Biennale Of Contemporary Art 2005, National Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic
2005 Digital Discourse, St. James Centre for Creativity, Valetta, Malta
2004 La Allegria De Mis Suenos, First Seville International Biennial of Contemporary Art, Seville, Spain
2004 Personal Affects: Power And Poetics In Contemporary South African Art, The Museum for African Art & the Cathedral Church of St John the Divine, New York, USA
2004 New Identities: Contemporary South African Art, Museum Bochum, Germany Pretoria Art Museum,
Pretoria, South Africa (Catalogue)
2004 Dimension Folly: Subjectivity, Passion and Excess in Everyday Life, Galleria Civica di Arte
Contemporanea, Trento, Italy (Catalogue)
2003 Banquet, Centre of Contemporary Art Palau de la Virreina, Barcelona, Spain; Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie, Karlsruhe, Germany; Conde Duque Cultural Centre, Madrid, Spain. (Catalogue)
2003 Transferts, curated by Toma Muteba Luntumbue for Africalia. Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels.
(Catalogue)
2003 Global Priority, Herter Art Gallery, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA. (Catalogue)
2002 STYX. Directed by Ralph Kotschka, Europäishe Kunstakademie, Trier, Germany. (Catalogue)
2002 Videoformes. Curated by Gabriel Soucheyre; South African programme compiled by Clive van den Berg. Clermont-Ferrand, France. (Catalogue)
2002 Muster Frau. Curated by Dr. Peter Joch. Kunsthalle Darmstadt, Germany. (Catalogue)
2002 Contributions from the Venice Biennial. Charlottenborg Udstillingsbygning, Copenhagen. (Catalogue)
2002 Slow Motion. Curated by Alexandra Kolossa. Ludwig Forum, Aachen. (CD-ROM Catalogue)
2002 In Progress. Curated by Harald Szeemann for the 55th International Film Festival, Locarno, Switzerland. (Catalogue)
2002 Dislocation, Image & Identity: South Africa, Circulo de Bellas Artes, Madrid; Sala Rekalde, Bilbao, Spain;Centro Cultural de Maia, O’Porto. (Catalogue)
2002 Survivre a L’apartheid, de Drum Magazine à Aujourd’hui, Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris, France. (Catalogue
2014 From Sitting to Selfie, Standard Bank Gallery, South Africa
2013 États Limites, Le Centquartre, Paris.
2011 The Underground, the Surface and the Edges, Michaelis Galleries, Cape Town
2011 Space, Ritual, Absence, FADA Gallery, University of Johannesburg Bunting Road Campus
2010-2011 Afropolis. City, Media, Art. Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum – Kulturen der Welt, Cologne, Germany (Catalogue)
2010-2011 VAF1. Contemporary African Video Art, organised through AGENCY: Art, Life, Society. Yorkshire, UK. (Catalogue)
2010-2011 Afropolis. City. Media. Art. Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum, Cologne; Iwalewa-Haus, Bayreuth,
Germany. (Catalogue)
2010-2011 Open End: An Exhibition of Paintings. Goodman Gallery Cape.
2010-2011VAF1. Contemporary African Video Art. Organised through AGENCY: Art, Life, Society. Yorkshire, UK. (Catalogue)
2010 Open End: An Exhibition of Paintings Goodman Gallery Cape
2010 In Context, Goodman Gallery Project Space, Arts On Main, Johannesburg (Catalogue)
2009 SPHÈRES 2009, Galleria Continua – Le Moulin, Boissy-le-Châtel, France
2009 The 10th Havana Biennale, Havana, Cuba
2009 Dystopia, Unisa Art Gallery, Museum Africa, Johannesburg, South Africa and Galerij Jan Colle, Ghent,
Belgium
2009 5th VentoSul Biennial, Curitiba, Brazil. (Catalogue)
2009 Périfériks Curated by Kader Attia. Exhibition as part of the Eternal Tour festival, Centre d’Art de Neuchâtel, Switzerland
2008 The 5th Seoul International Media Art Biennale, South Korea
2007 African Pavillion, 52nd Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy
2007 Afterlife, Michael Stevenson, Cape Town, South Africa
2007 Voci dalla luna: a Homage to Federico Fellini, curated by Andrea Bruciati. Galleria Comunale d’Arte
Contemporanea, Monfalcone, Italy.
2007 Diva Streets NYC, Digital and Video Art Fair, New York City, USA (Presented for Diva Streets by Serge Ziegler Galerie, Zürich, Switzerland)
2007 Luanda Triennial, Luanda, Angola
2006 Sd Observatorio, IVAM, Valencia, Spain
2006 Fairytale, TICA (Tirana Institute of Contemporary Art), Albania
2005 International Biennale Of Contemporary Art 2005, National Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic
2005 Digital Discourse, St. James Centre for Creativity, Valetta, Malta
2004 La Allegria De Mis Suenos, First Seville International Biennial of Contemporary Art, Seville, Spain
2004 Personal Affects: Power And Poetics In Contemporary South African Art, The Museum for African Art & the Cathedral Church of St John the Divine, New York, USA
2004 New Identities: Contemporary South African Art, Museum Bochum, Germany Pretoria Art Museum,
Pretoria, South Africa (Catalogue)
2004 Dimension Folly: Subjectivity, Passion and Excess in Everyday Life, Galleria Civica di Arte
Contemporanea, Trento, Italy (Catalogue)
2003 Banquet, Centre of Contemporary Art Palau de la Virreina, Barcelona, Spain; Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie, Karlsruhe, Germany; Conde Duque Cultural Centre, Madrid, Spain. (Catalogue)
2003 Transferts, curated by Toma Muteba Luntumbue for Africalia. Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels.
(Catalogue)
2003 Global Priority, Herter Art Gallery, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA. (Catalogue)
2002 STYX. Directed by Ralph Kotschka, Europäishe Kunstakademie, Trier, Germany. (Catalogue)
2002 Videoformes. Curated by Gabriel Soucheyre; South African programme compiled by Clive van den Berg. Clermont-Ferrand, France. (Catalogue)
2002 Muster Frau. Curated by Dr. Peter Joch. Kunsthalle Darmstadt, Germany. (Catalogue)
2002 Contributions from the Venice Biennial. Charlottenborg Udstillingsbygning, Copenhagen. (Catalogue)
2002 Slow Motion. Curated by Alexandra Kolossa. Ludwig Forum, Aachen. (CD-ROM Catalogue)
2002 In Progress. Curated by Harald Szeemann for the 55th International Film Festival, Locarno, Switzerland. (Catalogue)
2002 Dislocation, Image & Identity: South Africa, Circulo de Bellas Artes, Madrid; Sala Rekalde, Bilbao, Spain; Centro Cultural de Maia, O’Porto. (Catalogue)
2002 Survivre a L’apartheid, de Drum Magazine à Aujourd’hui, Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris, France. (Catalogue
2001 Short Stories. Curated by Roberto Pinto. La Fabbrica del Vapore, Milan. (Catalogue)
2001 Plateau of Human Kind, Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy
2001 Casino 2001, 1st Quadrennial of Contemporary Art, S.M.A.K., Ghent, Belgium
2001 World Wide Video Festival 2001, Arti & Amiticiae, Amsterdam, Netherlands
2000 Memorias Intimas Marcas, Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen
(MUHKA), Belgium; Museu da Cidade, Lisbon, Portugal
2000 South Meets West, National Museum, Accra, Ghana; Kunsthalle, Bern, Switzerland Johannesburg, Part of Atmosfere Metropolitane, Openspace, Milan, Italy
1999 Dialog 1: Vice Verses, O.K. Centre of Contemporary Art, Linz, Austria
1999 Channel, Association of Visual Arts, Cape Town, South Africa
FNB Vita Art Prize Exhibition, Sandton Civic Art Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
1998 Democracy’s Images: Photography And Visual Art After Apartheid, Bildmuseet, Umeå, Sweden
1997 Transversions, Part of Trade Routes: History and Geography, 2nd Johannesburg Biennale, Museum
Africa, Newtown, Johannesburg, South Africa

Academic Record and Residencies

1997 Masters Degree in Fine Arts, University of Pretoria

Collections

Public Collections
Johannesburg Art Gallery
MUHKA (Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, Antwerp)
The Museum of Art
Luzern; Johannesburg Art Gallery
Sindika Dokolo Collection of Contemporary African Art
Luanda, Angola
The South African National Gallery (Cape Town)
Standard Bank South Africa
UNISA (University of South Africa)
Zürich Versicherung, Switzerland

Selected Articles and Reviews

2003 ‘Strange Utopia: John Peffer in conversation with Minnette Vári’, Peffer, J. Art South Africa, Vol 2, Issue 2, Summer, p24-30.
2002 ‘Vári Pak Mitiese Monsters’, Van Bosch.C, Die Burger, Cape Town, 26 February 2002; Die Beeld,
Gauteng, 1 March
2002 ‘New media showcase’, Edmunds, P. The Mail & Guardian, South Africa, 1 – 7 March
2002 ‘Minnette Vári, Serge Ziegler Galerie, Zürich’, Hug, C. Tema Celeste, No. 93, Sept/Oct, p.105
2002 ‘Selected Works From The World Wide Video Festival at Michaelis Galleries’, Nic Dawes, Artthrob, http://www.artthrob.co.za/02mar/reviews/michaelis.html, March
2002 ‘Minette Vári’, Von Burg, D. Kunst-Bulletin, No. 7/8, July/August
2001 ‘Art Chicago Seeks The Cutting-Edge’, Stein, L. Chicago Tribune, 11 May
2001 ‘Blick Aus Der Ferne’, Omlin, S. Neue Zurcher Zeitung, 27 February
2001 ‘Mediale Zerrbilder’, Polzer, B. Kunst, Annabelle, 3/01, 2 February
2001 ‘Geschichte Verschlingen’, Mack, G. Kulturtipps, Cash, No.8, 23 February
2001 ‘Körpergeschichte’, Kraft, M. Kunst, Züritipp, No. 8, 23 February
2001 ‘49th Venice Biennale: Minnette Vári’, Sutton, P. Visual Arts/Features, The Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Gateway to Arts and Culture, November
2001 ‘Minette Vári At The Standard Bank Gallery’, Atkinson, B. Artthrob, http://www.artthrob.co.za/01nov/reviews/stdbank.html, 7 November
2001 ‘Art Pick of the Week’, Smith, K. The Mail & Guardian, South Africa, 23 – 29 November
2001 ‘A Deadly Explosive On Her Tongue’, Kerkham, R. Third Text, Spring 2001
2000 ‘Flash Art’, Atkinson, B. Elle, South Africa
1999 ‘City Artist on the Cutting Edge’, Fröling, G. Tonight, Pretoria News, 20 April
1999 ‘VexQuest’, in insert, Delapse, Johanneburg, interactive CD ROM Magazine, winter
1998 ‘Artbio’, Williamson, S. Artthrob, Issue No.7, http://www.artthrob.co.za
1998 ‘Reality is always re-written’, Lefebvre, E. Newtown Zebra, No.11, Sept-Dec
1998 ‘Vári Konfronteer Jou Met Jou Vrese’, Van Rensburg, W. Beeld, Johannesburg, 17 Nov
1998 ‘Morphing Minnette’, Atkinson, B. Electronic Mail & Guardian, 24 November
1997 ‘Zone of Metaphors’, Friedman, H. The Mail & Guardian, 11 April
1997 ‘Pta-kaalfoto ‘verslapping van sensuur’, Van der Spuy, B. Beeld, 23 June
1997 ‘Hearing the artist’s message’, Vári, M. Artspeak, Tonight, Pretoria News, 1 July
1997 ‘Planet Art’, Geers, K. Elle, South Africa, October
1997 ‘Multi-Parfuum, Ruk Masker Af’, Van Niekerk, L. Beeld, 8 October
1997 ‘Trapped In The Hall Of Mirrors’, Friedman, H. The Mail & Guardian, 12 April
1997 ‘Scratching Beneath The Surface”, Friedman, H. The Mail & Guardian, 19 April
1997 ‘The real dangers of fashion in art’, Geers, K. Tonight, The Star, 25 April
1997 ‘Duistere waarhede wat die sinne uitdaag’, Burger, L. Beeld, 30 April
1997 ‘(De)facing the surface’, Vári, M. Gallery Page, http://www.up.ac.za/academic/arts/gallery.html,
1996 ‘Message In A Bottle’, Berry, O. Tonight, Pretoria News, 5 December
1995 ‘Baring All For Art’, Berry, O. Tonight, Pretoria News, 22 September
1995 ‘Vanguardismo de Sudáfrica visita el Museo de Arte Contemporaneo’, Cultura, La Epoca, Santiago,
Chile, 2 November

Publications

2013 Art Cities of the Future: 21st Century Avant-Gardes. Phaidon, London.
2004 Perryer, S. (Ed) et al. 10 Years, 100 Artists: Art in a Democractic South Africa. Bell-Roberts Publishing in
association with Struik Publishers, Cape Town, South Africa.
2004 Minnette Vári. Monographic Catalogue. Susanne Neubauer (Ed.) Lucerne Museum of Art, Switzerland.
Texts by Kendell Geers, John M. Peffer, Harald Szeemann, Liese van der Watt.
2002 Powell, Richard J. Black Art: A Cultural History. Thames & Hudson Publishers, London,
UK.
2002 Barragán, P. El Arte Que Viene / The Art To Come. Subastas Siglo XXI, Madrid, Spain
1999 Atkinson, B. and Breitz, C. (Ed). Grey Areas: Representation, Identity and Politics in Contemporary
South African Art. Chalkham Hill Press, Johannesburg, South Africa.
1996 Williamson, S. and Jamal, A. Art In South Africa, The Future Present. David Philip Publishers, Cape Town, South Africa.

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Artworks in the SAFFCA Collection