Deborah Margaret Bell

(1957 - )

About

Deborah Bell is one of South Africa´s most acclaimed artists, whose work is created in dialogue with multiple worlds, texts, histories and consciousnesses. She is also widely known for her collaborative projects with William Kentridge and Robert Hodgins.

Her works possess a kind of ‘mystical godliness’ which comes from deep within her. Her art making is a spiritual practice in which the role of the artist is to ‘co-create the world, to materialise what exists and has existed for all time’. Inspired by museum objects from ancient civilisations, including African, Babylonian and Egyptian, her work incorporates multi-layered references to past and present worlds. Deborah Bell’s work is a highly spiritual and personal experience of mark making. Memory and the role it plays personally, and in society, thematically prevails throughout her body of work from the 1980s to present.

  • Studies

    1975 - 1977

    University of the Witwatersrand, gaining a BA (FA)

    1978

    University of the Witwatersrand, gaining a BA (Hons)

    1981 - 1985

    University of the Witwatersrand, under Robert Hodgins, Giuseppe Cattaneo, PaulStopforth, Professor Alan Crump and Terry King, being awarded an MA (FA)

  • Exhibitions

    2016

    Dreams of Immortality, CIRCA Gallery, London, UK

    Opening Group Exhibition, CIRCA Gallery, London, UK

    Winter Collection, Group Show, Everard Read Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa

    2015

    Dreams of Immortality, Everard Read Gallery, Cape Town & Johannesburg, South Africa

    Renunciation, David Krut, Johannesburg, South Africa

    Bronze, Steel & Stone, Everard Read, Johannesburg, South Africa

    1:54Contemporary African Art Fair, CIRCA Gallery Booth, London, UK

    FNB Jo-burg Art Fair, Everard Read Gallery Booth, Johannesburg, South Africa

    2013

    What would wisdom say to you dark heart?, Everard Read Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa

    Centenary Exhibition, CIRCA & Everard Read, Johannesburg, South Africa

    2012

    A far country, John Martin Gallery, London & Glydebourne Opera Festival, London, UK

    Rainbow Nation, Group exhibition of South African Sculptors Museum Beelden Aan Zee, Den Haag, Netherlands

    2011

    Presence, CIRCA & Everard Read Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa

    HORSE, 60 South African artists curated by Ricky Burnett, CIRCA & Everard Read, Johannesburg, South Africa

    2010

    Solo Exhibition, Alchemy, David Krut, Johannesburg

    TWENTY, 20 Years of SA Sculpture, Nirox Foundation, South Africa

    2009

    Solo Exhibition,Flux, Goodman Gallery, Cape

    Joint Exhibition,Collaborations, David Krut, Johannesburg

    Group Exhibition, Contemporary Sculpture in the Landscape, Nirox Foundation

    2007

    Solo Exhibition,Objects of Power: memory of metal, memory of wood, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg

    Group Exhibition, Lift Off II, Goodman Gallery Cape, Cape Town

    Group Exhibition, David Krut Print Workshop, UNISA Art Gallery, Pretoria

    2005 - 2006

    Solo Exhibition,Crossings and Monuments, Oliewenhuis Museum, Bloemfontein

    2005

    Solo Exhibition,Crossings and Monuments, Aardklop Festival Potchefstroom University Library Gallery

    Group Exhibition, Art Basel Miami Beach, Miami Beach, USA, with Goodman Gallery

    Group Exhibition, Works on Paper, Collaborative prints from David Krut Print Workshop, Franchise Gallery, Johannesburg

    Group Exhibition, David Krut Collaborations: 25 Years of Prints and Multiples, National Arts Festival, Grahamstown

    2004

    Solo Exhibition,Sentinels, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg

    Group Exhibition, Earthworks/Claybodies, Sasol Museum Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch

    2003

    Group Exhibition, Earthworks/Claybodies, Pretoria Art Museum

    Group Exhibition, Earthworks/Claybodies, Standard Bank Centre Gallery, Johannesburg

    2002

    Solo Exhibition,Unearthed, Joao Ferreira Gallery, Cape Town

    2001

    Solo Exhibition,Unearthed, The Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg

    2000

    Solo Exhibition,The Journey Home, Art First, London

    Group Exhibition, Icons for the Millennium, Atlanta, USA

    1999

    Group Exhibition, The Paper Show, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg

    Group Exhibition, Emergence, Group Show, National Arts festival, Grahamstown

    Artery, A.V.A Gallery, Cape Town – in conjunction with the Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg

    Group Exhibition, Artists in residence, Standard Bank National Arts Festival, 25th Anniversary, Grahamstown

    1998

    Solo Exhibition,Displacements, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg

    Group Exhibition, Earth Hues – Contemporary African Art, Group Show, World Space, Washington DC, USA

    1997

    Joint Exhibition,Collaborations 1986-1997 (11 years of collaborative projects between artists Kentridge, Hodgins and Bell), Johannesburg Art Gallery, in association with the FNB Vita Awards

    Joint Exhibition,UB101: A portfolio of etchings done in conjunction with Kentridge and Hodgins.Exhibited at the Grahamstown Festival and at the Gertrude Posel Gallery (Curated by Fiona Rankin-Smith)

    Group Exhibition, Images and Form: Prints, drawings and sculpture from Southern Africa and Nigeria, Brunei Gallery, University of London and Edinburgh College of Art, U.K

    The Gencor Collection, Sandton Art Gallery, and The Grahamstown Festival

    Group Exhibition, Kempton Park Metropolitan Substructure Fine Arts Award Show, Kempton Park

    Group Exhibition, New Art from South Africa, Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh, U.K

    Group Exhibition, Les Arts de la Resistance, (Fin de Siecle a Johannesburg), Galerie Convergence, Galerie Jean-Christian Fradin; Galerie Michel Luneau and Galerie les Petit Murs, Nantes, France

    Group Exhibition, Not Quite a Christmas Exhibition, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg

    Group Exhibition, CRAM, A.V.A Gallery, Cape Town (in conjunction with The Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg)

    1996

    Group Exhibition, Gay Rights: Rites, Re-writes, Travelling Exhibition, South Africa

    Group Salon, Rose Korber representing artists at the Bay Hotel, Cape Town

    Group Exhibition, Common and Uncommon Ground: South African Art to Atlanta, City Gallery East, Atlanta, USA

    Group Exhibition, Vita Awards, Johannesburg Art Gallery

    Group Exhibition, Tomorrow is Now, First Canadian Place and Knights Galleries International, Toronto, Canada

    Group Exhibition, Barber Signs, The Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg

    Group Exhibition, Recent Drawings, Gallery on Tyrone, Johannesburg

    Group Exhibition, Ceramics Biennal, Sandton Art Gallery

    1995

    Solo Exhibition,Muses and Lamentations, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg

    Group Exhibition, The Bag Factory: The First Five Years, the Civic Theatre Gallery, Johannesburg

    Group Exhibition, The Art of Tea, Kim Sacks Gallery, Johannesburg

    Group Salon, Rose Korber representing artists at the Bay Hotel, Cape Town

    1994

    Joint Exhibition,Memo, installation with video at the Grahamstown festival in collaboration with William Kentridge and Robert Hodgins

    Joint Exhibition,Lamentations, Art First, Cork Street, London

    Group Show, Newtown, Johannesburg

    Group Exhibition, Anything Boxed, Group Show, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg

    Group Exhibition, South African works on Paper, North Western University of Illinois, Chicago, United States

    1993

    Joint Exhibition,Easing the Passing (of the hours),Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg

    Joint Exhibition,Portraits in the round, ceramic exhibition in collaboration with William Kentridge and Retief van Wyk, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg

    Group Exhibition, Gallery on Tyrone, Johannesburg

    Group Exhibition, Vita Awards, Johannesburg Art Gallery

    Group Exhibition, Momentum Life Exhibition, Pretoria

    Group Exhibition, Internations of Millenium, Newtown Gallery, Johannesburg

    1992

    Joint Exhibition,Easing the Passing (of the hours),Waterfront, Cape Town (Computer Animation, laser prints and drawings) in collaboration with William Kentridge and Robert Hodgins

    Group Exhibition, ICA, 50 Johannesburg Artists, Johannesburg

    Group Exhibition, Paris: The Catalyst, Alliance Francaise, Durban

    Group Exhibition, Looking at Art: Looking at Watercolours, Goodman Gallery,Johannesburg

    Group Exhibition, Vita Awards, Johannesburg Art Gallery

    Group Exhibition, Works made in August, Newtown Gallery, Johannesburg

    1991

    Joint Exhibition,Little Morals, a portfolio of etchings done in conjunction with Hodginsand Kentridge, Cassierer Gallery, Johannesburg; Gallery International, Cape Town and Taking Liberties, Durban

    Group Exhibition, Cape Town Triennal

    Group Exhibition, Painted People: Painted Spaces, Newtown Galleries, Johannesburg

    Group Exhibition, Hand Coloured Graphics, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg

    Group Exhibition, Tiny Tapestry Show, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg

    1990

    Group Exhibition, Women choose Women, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

    Group Exhibition, Art from South Africa, MOMA, Oxford, UK

    Group Exhibition, Standard Bank Drawing Competition, Johannesburg

    1989

    Solo Exhibition,Deborah Bell,Potchefstroom Museum

    Volkskas Atelier Award Exhibition, South African Vita Awards, Johannesburg Art Gallery

    Group Exhibition, African Encounters, Dome Gallery, New York and Washington, USA

    Group Exhibition, The Little Big Show, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg

    1988

    Joint Exhibition, with Jenny Stadler and Nagel, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg

    Group Exhibition, CASA (Culture for Another South Africa), conference in Amsterdam, Holland

    Volkskas Atelier Award exhibition, South African Association of the Arts, Pretoria

    Group Exhibition, 100 Artists Protest detention without trial, in aid of DPSC, Market Theatre, Johannesburg

    Group Exhibition, Artists for Human Rights Exhibition, Durban Exhibition Centre

    1987 - 1988

    Joint Exhibition, Hogarth in Johannesburg, a portfolio of etchings done in conjunction with Hodgins and Kentridge (this exhibition travelled to all the major centres in South Africa)

    1986

    Volkskas Atelier Award Exhibition, South African Association of Arts, Pretoria

    1985

    Joint Exhibition, MAFA exhibition, Rembrandt Gallery, Milner Park, Johannesburg

    Cape Town Triennal New Visions, Market Gallery, Johannesburg

    Group Exhibition, 11 Figurative Artists, Market Gallery, Johannesburg

    1984

    Group Exhibition, UNISA Lecturers, Bloemfontein

    1983 - 1984

    Joint Exhibition, with Hodgins and Sassoon, Carriage House Gallery

    1982

    Solo Exhibition,Deborah Bell, Market Gallery, Johannesburg

  • Collections

    Public Collections– International:

    • Bristol Myers Squibb Corp., USA
    • Hara Museum, Tokyo, Japan
    • Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA
    • National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C, USA
    • Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C, USA

    Public Collections - South Africa:

    • Friends of the National Gallery, Cape Town
    • Johannesburg City Council

    Museums & Galleries- South Africa:

    • Johannesburg Art Gallery
    • Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum, Port Elizabeth
    • Oliewenhuis Museum, Bloemfontein
    • Pretoria Art Museum
    • Roodepoort Museum
    • Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town
    • Tatham Art Gallery, Pietermaritzburg

    Corporate Collections- South Africa:

    • BCE, Johannesburg
    • Bell, Dewar and Hall, Johannesburg
    • Legal Resources Centre, Johannesburg
    • MTN Art Institute, Johannesburg
    • BHP Billiton South Africa Ltd.
    • Sanlam Collection
    • Sasol Collection
    • Standard Bank Investment Corporation, Johannesburg
    • Telkom

    University Collections - South Africa:

    • University of South Africa, Pretoria
    • University of Pietermaritzburg Collection
    • University of the Orange Free State Collection, Bloemfontein
    • University of the Witwatersrand Collection, Johannesburg
  • Commissions

    1999

    Sculpture for Standard Bank

    1994

    Graphics for Weekly Mail Film Festival Poster

    Involvement in movie animation for Arts Alive

    Title sequence for Grass Roots, NNTV

    1993

    Graphics for Weekly Mail Film Festival Poster

    1991

    Large sculpture for Wits Business School

    Artist-in-Residence, Standard Bank National Arts Festival – 25th Anniversary, Grahamstown

    1990

    1 Set of 6 Graphics for First National Bank

  • Awards

    1997

    APSA Award for the best New Signature, Ceramics Biennal

    1991

    Vita Quarterly Award, runner up for Main Award

    Mamba Award for the Most Sustained Artist

    1986

    Merit Prize Winner, Volkskas Atelier