Indepth Arts News: |
"Siemon Allen: Current Projects"
2004-01-17 until 2004-02-22
Anderson Gallery, Drake University
Des Moines, IO,
USA United States of America
While varied in tone, the work of South African artist Siemon Allen (born 1970, Durban, South Africa) is characterized by its ongoing reflection on individual and national identity by means of visual archives and the built environment. The artist often considers spaces in terms of how they impact and reflect the lives of those who inhabit them.
One of Allen's latest projects, which premiered in a solo exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., and was later exhibited in Detourism at the Renaissance Society, Chicago, is entitled Stamp Collection - Imagining South Africa. This installation examines the political history and shifting identity of South Africa through the display of a nearly complete archive of postal stamps released in the country from 1910 to the present. Amassing factual evidence from which viewers can draw their own conclusions, the piece reveals how South Africa has chosen to represent itself both within its borders and internationally. As interpreted by Kendall Buster, "Stamp Collection - Imagining South Africa offers a fragmented narration that speaks not only through what is shown but also through what is concealed and censured."*
Other projects by Allen include a 1/4-scale reconstruction of the artist's childhood home in South Africa; the creation and maintenance of the Flat International gallery in Durban (an exhibition space open to work critical of the Apartheid regime); and beautiful woven videotape installations included in the first Johannesburg Biennial.
Allen's work has been featured in The New York Times, Artforum, Flash Art, Art Journal, and the New Art Examiner. His numerous solo and group exhibitions include shows at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the Institute of Contemporary Art, Johannesburg; Artists Space, New York; the Renaissance Society, Chicago; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
Courtesy of the artist and Fusebox, Washington, D.C.