Deborah Margaret Bell

(1957 – )

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.

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)

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

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

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

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

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