The Ghosting of Nandipha Mntambo
In Titfunti emkhatsini wetfu (The shadows between us), South African artist Nandipha Mntambo deftly shapes cowhide to suggest the muscularity and materiality of the body. Mntambo's empty floating hides, which recall Yinka Shonibare's batik clad figures and the cowskin tapestries of Chinese artist Zhang Huan, play on the relationship between volume and void, absence and presence, and animal and human.
These are ghostly, strange and beautiful works. The patterned and marked surface of the cowskin only suggests the living animal it once covered and the garment forms follow the lines of a female body that is not there. The cowhide in its several manifestations is never fully complete.
Mntambo's work will be presented by the Andréhn-Schiptjenko Gallery (Booth K18) at Art Basel. The artist is also currently enjoying her first European solo-show at the Andréhn-Schiptjenko Gallery in Stockholm.