Simphiwe Ndzube: Like the Snake that Fed the Chameleon

Nicodim Gallery, Los Angeles

February 13 – March 20, 2021

Simphiwe Ndzube Installation Gallery Nicodim Art Painting

Simphiwe Ndzube: Like the Snake that Fed the Chameleon
Installation View
Nicodim Gallery, Los Angeles, 2021

Simphiwe Ndzube Installation Gallery Nicodim Art Painting

Simphiwe Ndzube: Like the Snake that Fed the Chameleon
Installation View
Nicodim Gallery, Los Angeles, 2021

Simphiwe Ndzube Installation Gallery Nicodim Art Painting

Simphiwe Ndzube: Like the Snake that Fed the Chameleon
Installation View
Nicodim Gallery, Los Angeles, 2021

Simphiwe Ndzube
Beast of No Nation, 2021
fabric, fog machine, resin, wood, metal, rope, motorbike lights, found clothing and tires
dimensions variable

Simphiwe Ndzube
Beast of No Nation, 2021
fabric, fog machine, resin, wood, metal, rope, motorbike lights, found clothing and tires
dimensions variable

Simphiwe Ndzube
Beast of No Nation, 2021
fabric, fog machine, resin, wood, metal, rope, motorbike lights, found clothing and tires
dimensions variable

Simphiwe Ndzube
Beast of No Nation, 2021
(detail view)

Simphiwe Ndzube
Beast of No Nation, 2021
(detail view)

Simphiwe Ndzube
Beast of No Nation, 2021
(detail view)

Simphiwe Ndzube
Beast of No Nation, 2021
(detail view)

Simphiwe Ndzube
Beast of No Nation, 2021
(detail view)

Simphiwe Ndzube
Beast of No Nation, 2021
(detail view)

Simphiwe Ndzube
Beast of No Nation, 2021
(detail view)

Simphiwe Ndzube Installation Gallery Nicodim Art Painting

Simphiwe Ndzube: Like the Snake that Fed the Chameleon
Installation View
Nicodim Gallery, Los Angeles, 2021

Simphiwe Ndzube
Nomalanga, 2021
acrylic on canvas
30 x 24 in
76 x 61 cm

Simphiwe Ndzube Installation Gallery Nicodim Art Painting Stevenson

Simphiwe Ndzube
The Return from Heaven, 2021
acrylic, collage, spray paint, resin and found clothing on canvas
90.5 x 96 in
230 x 244 cm

Simphiwe Ndzube Installation Gallery Nicodim Art Painting Stevenson

Simphiwe Ndzube
The Return from Heaven, 2021
(alternate view)

Simphiwe Ndzube
The Return from Heaven, 2021
(detail view)

Simphiwe Ndzube
The Return from Heaven, 2021
(detail view)

Simphiwe Ndzube
The Return from Heaven, 2021
(detail view)

Simphiwe Ndzube
The Return from Heaven, 2021
(detail view)

Simphiwe Ndzube: Like the Snake that Fed the Chameleon
Installation View
Nicodim Gallery, Los Angeles, 2021

Simphiwe Ndzube
Portrait of Daluxolo, 2021
acrylic, collage, and spray paint on canvas
51 x 39.5 in.
130 x 100 cm

Simphiwe Ndzube: Like the Snake that Fed the Chameleon
Installation View
Nicodim Gallery, Los Angeles, 2021

Simphiwe Ndzube
I am a Bird Now, 2021
fabric, found clothing, resin, synthetic hair, synthetic snakeskin, and wire
dimensions variable

Simphiwe Ndzube
I am a Bird Now, 2021
fabric, found clothing, resin, synthetic hair, synthetic snakeskin, and wire
dimensions variable

Simphiwe Ndzube
I am a Bird Now, 2021
(detail view)

Simphiwe Ndzube
I am a Bird Now, 2021
(detail view)

Simphiwe Ndzube: Like the Snake that Fed the Chameleon
Installation View
Nicodim Gallery, Los Angeles, 2021

Simphiwe Ndzube Installation Gallery Nicodim Art Painting

Simphiwe Ndzube: Like the Snake that Fed the Chameleon
Installation View
Nicodim Gallery, Los Angeles, 2021

Simphiwe Ndzube: Like the Snake that Fed the Chameleon
Installation View
Nicodim Gallery, Los Angeles, 2021

Simphiwe Ndzube Installation Gallery Nicodim Art Painting Stevenson

Simphiwe Ndzube
Individuation, Manifest, 2021
acrylic, collage, spray paint, fabric, artificial grapes, wire and wood on canvas
85 x 72 in
216 x 183 cm

Simphiwe Ndzube
Individuation, Manifest, 2021
(alternate view)

Simphiwe Ndzube
Individuation, Manifest, 2021
(detail view)

Simphiwe Ndzube
Individuation, Manifest, 2021
(detail view)

Simphiwe Ndzube
Individuation, Manifest, 2021
(detail view)

Simphiwe Ndzube Installation Gallery Nicodim Art Painting Sculpture

Simphiwe Ndzube: Like the Snake that Fed the Chameleon
Installation View
Nicodim Gallery, Los Angeles, 2021

Simphiwe Ndzube: Like the Snake that Fed the Chameleon
Installation View
Nicodim Gallery, Los Angeles, 2021

Simphiwe Ndzube Installation Gallery Nicodim Art Painting Stevenson

Simphiwe Ndzube
The Kiss, 2021
acrylic, collage, found clothing, resin on canvas
90.5 x 72 in
230 x 183 cm

Simphiwe Ndzube
The Kiss, 2021
(alternate view)

Simphiwe Ndzube Installation Gallery Nicodim Art Painting

Simphiwe Ndzube: Like the Snake that Fed the Chameleon
Installation View
Nicodim Gallery, Los Angeles, 2021

Simphiwe Ndzube: Like the Snake that Fed the Chameleon
Installation View
Nicodim Gallery, Los Angeles, 2021

Simphiwe Ndzube Installation Gallery Nicodim Art Painting Stevenson

Simphiwe Ndzube
Rehearsal for Rebellion, 2021
acrylic, collage, found clothing, resin, and spray paint on canvas
90.5 x 72 in
230 x 183 cm

Simphiwe Ndzube
Rehearsal for Rebellion, 2021
(detail view)

Simphiwe Ndzube
Rehearsal for Rebellion, 2021
(detail view)

Simphiwe Ndzube Installation Gallery Nicodim Art Painting

Simphiwe Ndzube: Like the Snake that Fed the Chameleon
Installation View
Nicodim Gallery, Los Angeles, 2021

Simphiwe Ndzube
Secrets of the Fields, 2021
metal, glay, gazing ball, and mulch
dimensions variable

Simphiwe Ndzube: Like the Snake that Fed the Chameleon
Installation View
Nicodim Gallery, Los Angeles, 2021

Simphiwe Ndzube
Notumato, 2021
acrylic and collage on canvas
39.5 x 30 in
100 x 76 cm

Simphiwe Ndzube
Notumato, 2021
(detail view)

Simphiwe Ndzube
Notumato, 2021
​(detail view)

Simphiwe Ndzube: Like the Snake that Fed the Chameleon
Installation View
Nicodim Gallery, Los Angeles, 2021

Simphiwe Ndzube
Ma Khulu, 2021
acrylic and collage on canvas
20 x 16 in
51 x 41 cm

Simphiwe Ndzube
Neon Vernacular, 2021
acrylic and collage on canvas
20 x 16 in
51 x 41 cm

Simphiwe Ndzube Installation Gallery Nicodim Art Painting

Simphiwe Ndzube: Like the Snake that Fed the Chameleon
Installation View
Nicodim Gallery, Los Angeles, 2021

Simphiwe Ndzube
Rainbow Nation of God, Cities on the Sky, 2021
sheetmetal, lumber, windows, plexiglass, artificial plants, dirt, found door, and mulch
dimensions variable

Simphiwe Ndzube
Rainbow Nation of God, Cities on the Sky, 2021
(alternate view)

Simphiwe Ndzube
Rainbow Nation of God, Cities on the Sky, 2021
(detail view)

Simphiwe Ndzube: Like the Snake that Fed the Chameleon
Installation View
Nicodim Gallery, Los Angeles, 2021

Simphiwe Ndzube Installation Gallery Nicodim Art Painting Stevenson

Simphiwe Ndzube
Goddess of the Night, Glory of the Stars, 2021
acrylic, collage, and duct tape on canvas
72 x 72 in
183 x 183 cm

Simphiwe Ndzube
Goddess of the Night, Glory of the Stars, 2021
(detail view)

Simphiwe Ndzube: Like the Snake that Fed the Chameleon
Installation View
Nicodim Gallery, Los Angeles, 2021

Simphiwe Ndzube: Like the Snake that Fed the Chameleon
Installation View
Nicodim Gallery, Los Angeles, 2021

Simphiwe Ndzube
Silumko, 2021
acrylic, duct tape, and spray paint on canvas
72 x 72 in
183 x 183 cm

Simphiwe Ndzube
Magwaza, 2021
acrylic and collage on canvas
20 x 16 in
51 x 41 cm

Simphiwe Ndzube: Like the Snake that Fed the Chameleon
Installation View
Nicodim Gallery, Los Angeles, 2021

Simphiwe Ndzube: Like the Snake that Fed the Chameleon
Installation View
Nicodim Gallery, Los Angeles, 2021

Simphiwe Ndzube Installation Gallery Nicodim Art Painting Stevenson

Simphiwe Ndzube
NoGolide the Great Mother, 2021
acrylic and spray paint on canvas
30 x 24 in
76.2 x 61 cm

Simphiwe Ndzube Installation Gallery Nicodim Art Painting Sculpture

Simphiwe Ndzube: Like the Snake that Fed the Chameleon
Installation View
Nicodim Gallery, Los Angeles, 2021

Simphiwe Ndzube Installation Gallery Nicodim Art Painting Stevenson

Simphiwe Ndzube
Once Upon a Time, Mine-Moon, 2020
acrylic, duct tape, and spray paint on linen
72 x 96 in
183 x 244 cm

Simphiwe Ndzube
Once Upon a Time, Mine-Moon, 2020
(detail view)

Simphiwe Ndzube
Once Upon a Time, Mine-Moon, 2020
(detail view)

Simphiwe Ndzube
Once Upon a Time, Mine-Moon, 2020
(detail view)

Simphiwe Ndzube
Once Upon a Time, Mine-Moon, 2020
(detail view)

Simphiwe Ndzube
TaBhiza, The Flâneur, 2021
concrete, metal, resin, silicon, fabric, shark teeth, thread and found clothing
81.5 x 26 x 48 in
207 x 66 x 122 cm

Simphiwe Ndzube
TaBhiza, The Flâneur, 2021
(detail view)

Simphiwe Ndzube
TaBhiza, The Flâneur, 2021
(detail view)

Simphiwe Ndzube
TaBhiza, The Flâneur, 2021
(detail view)

Simphiwe Ndzube Installation Gallery Nicodim Art Painting Sculpture

Simphiwe Ndzube: Like the Snake that Fed the Chameleon
Installation View
Nicodim Gallery, Los Angeles, 2021

Simphiwe Ndzube
Nombewu, the Seed, 2021
acrylic, fabric, and synthetic hair on canvas
36 x 24 in
92 x 61 cm

Simphiwe Ndzube
Nombewu, the Seed, 2021
(detail view)

Simphiwe Ndzube
Nombewu, the Seed, 2021
(detail view)

Simphiwe Ndzube: Like the Snake that Fed the Chameleon
Installation View
Nicodim Gallery, Los Angeles, 2021

Simphiwe Ndzube: Like the Snake that Fed the Chameleon
Installation View
Nicodim Gallery, Los Angeles, 2021

Press Release

My skin is tightening 
soon I shall shed it
like a monitor lizard
like remembered comfort
at the new moon rising
I will eat the last signs of my weakness
remove the scars of old childhood wars
and dare to enter the forest whistling
like a snake that had fed the chameleon
for changes
I shall be forever.

— excepted from Audre Lorde, “Solstice,” 1978

 

With Like the Snake that Fed the Chameleon, Simphiwe Ndzube continues to develop and expand his cosmology, reimagining Black bodies as mythical and fantastic beings capable of inhabiting multiple dimensions. His figures fly, flail, fall, and dance their way from sculpture, to sound, to canvas through multiple environments, highlighting the fluidity and permeability of identity itself. Like the snake, his characters can be cold-blooded and stealthy; like the chameleon, they are capable of change.


Whereas the bodies in Ndzube’s earlier works are often faceless or headless, this series includes detailed portraits of a number of the individual characters and further develops their unique personalities. In prior exhibitions, Ndzube’s figures reckoned with drought and desolate environments, but the landscapes in Like the Snake that Fed the Chameleon have grown fertile and sensual along with the humanoids that populate them. Where once the earth was dry and barren, it has now been sown and is ready for harvest. Within the paintings, pink flowers rise to the sky and spread their fleshy petal-tongues to the sunlight, begging to be kissed. Around them, a sculptural cornfield grows throughout the exhibition. A seven-foot dandy traipses throughout the proceedings, peacocking his vibrant couture to anyone who will pay attention. A Bacon-esque figure in a Garden of Earthly Delights, perhaps he is trying to draw the eyes of the couple making love in the sunlight on a canvas nearby.

At the belly of the snake lies the artist’s surrealist adaptation of a domestic shack, based on those of the townships surrounding Cape Town, South Africa, where Ndzube was born and raised. A twenty-minute sound piece Ndzube composed and recorded with Thabo K. Makgolo and Zimbini Makwethu emanates from within the large, suspended structure, filling the surrounding spaces with haunting music. It incorporates acoustic elements that evoke sorcery, witch-hunting, and creatures that fly by night. In Ndzube’s world, a darkness is always lurking, but on-notice that it will eventually be evicted by the light.

 

_____

 

Simphiwe Ndzube  (b. 1990, Cape Town, South Africa) lives and works in Los Angeles, CA and Cape Town, South Africa. He received his BFA from the Michaelis School of Fine Arts in 2015. Ndzube’s work is characterised by a fundamental interplay between objects, media and two-dimensional surfaces; stitching together a subjective account of the Black experience in post-apartheid South Africa from a mythological perspective. Recent exhibitions include The Fantastic Ride to Gwadana, Stevenson Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa (2020, solo); INXS: Major Never Before Seen Works by Simphiwe Ndzube, Moffat Takadiwa, and Zhou Yilun, Nicodim Gallery, Los Angeles, USA (2020); Hollywood Babylon: A Re-Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome, Nicodim, Jeffrey Deitch, and AUTRE Magazine, Los Angeles, USA (2020); Where Water Comes Together With Other Water, The 15th Lyon Biennale, Lyon, France (2019); People, Jeffrey Deitch, Los Angeles, USA (2019); In the Order of Elephants After the Rain, Galeria Nicodim, Bucharest, Romania (2019, solo); New Acquisitions, The Rubell Museum, Miami, USA (2018); NOISE!, The Frans Hals Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (2018); Waiting for Mulungu, The CC Foundation, Shanghai, China (2018, solo); Bharbarosi, Nicodim Gallery, Los Angeles, USA (2017, solo); and Becoming, WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town, South Africa (2016, solo). His work can be found in the collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Musée d’art contemporain de Lyon, Lyon, France; and the Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa, among others. Oracles of the Pink Universe, his first solo institutional exhibition in the States, opens at the Denver Art Museum this June. Like the Snake that Fed the Chameleon is the artist’s third solo exhibition with Nicodim.