Marlene Steyn

b. 1989, Cape Town, South Africa.

Lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa.

Marlene Steyn is known to produce immersive, installation-based experiences, cultivating an expectation for her ever increasingly fantastic, constructed worlds. Her distinctive iconography takes shape through unsettling established ideas surrounding themes of psychoanalytic theory, certain historical narratives of art as well as popular signifiers, borrowed from contemporary culture. Adept at choosing telling details, Steyn reviews familiar objects to create uncanny motifs through repetition and unpredictable combinations. Using anchor points such as the androgynous figure, the fried egg, and braided ropes of hair, Steyn reinforces the symbolic visual language that has become the cornerstone of her practice.

Biography

Marlene Steyn is known to produce immersive, installation-based experiences, cultivating an expectation for her ever increasingly fantastic, constructed worlds. Her distinctive iconography takes shape through unsettling established ideas surrounding themes of psychoanalytic theory, certain historical narratives of art as well as popular signifiers, borrowed from contemporary culture. Adept at choosing telling details, Steyn reviews familiar objects to create uncanny motifs through repetition and unpredictable combinations. Using anchor points such as the androgynous figure, the fried egg, and braided ropes of hair, Steyn reinforces the symbolic visual language that has become the cornerstone of her practice.

Marlene Steyn was born in 1989 in Cape Town, South Africa, where she currently lives and works. She obtained her Master of Fine Art degree in 2014 from the Royal College of Art in London, UK. Steyn has since presented a number of critically acclaimed solo exhibitions, including: How Cannibals Cuddle at Cabin Gallery in London, in 2014; Mad Love at Lychee One in London and The End is Located Underneath Her Third Armpit (if the muscle is flexed) in Cape Town, both in 2015; as well as Your Skin Is Not The Best Hiding Place at SMAC Gallery in Cape Town; and You Can’t Cry When Your Head is Underwater at Lychee One, London, both in 2016; Knot I : I Knot at SMAC Gallery in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2017,  as well as her most recent exhibition Shouty Insides at Galerie DYS in Brussels, Belgium in 2018.

Recent group exhibitions include: Faces & Other Scenarios, a two-person show at Galerie d’Ys in Brussels, Belgium; New Monuments at Commune.1, Cape Town, South Africa; Paper, publication, performance at Lychee One, London, UK; Inside Out at Castlefield Gallery in Manchester, UK; and Across the Divide at Rosenfeld Porcini in London, UK, all in 2016; Where They Hum (a three women show with Rose Wylie and Freya Douglas-Morris) at Lychee One, London, UK; Another Antipodes, at Urban Axis – PS Art Space in Fremantle, Australia; the FNB Joburg Art Fair; 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair both with SMAC Gallery in 2017 and her recent group presentation with SMAC Gallery at the 2018 Investec Cape Town Art Fair at the Cape Town international Convention Centre (CTICC) in Cape town, South Africa.

Marlene Steyn’s work features in numerous public and private collections including the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA) and featured at the museum’s inaugural exhibition in 2017.

Recently Steyn presented her solo presentation at the MiArt Fair in Fiera Milano City, Italy in April 2018. Steyn also participated in a two-month collaborative residency with Kay 16 and Artport Residency in Tel Aviv, Israel. The residency culminated in September, in an exhibition produced with the support of: Kay 16 – Community Gallery for Contemporary Art; Ministry of Culture Israel; Mifal HaPais; Yehoshua Rabinovich Foundation for the Arts; ArtPort; Beit Benyamini Ceramics Centre; and Maccabee Beer.

News

Marlene Steyn is currently part of a two person solo exhibition, Garden Smoothies with Gabrielle Kruger, at SMAC Gallery in Stellenbosch. The exhibition will run from 22 November  to 19 January 2018.

GALLERY SOLO EXHIBITIONS & PRESENTATIONS

GALLERY GROUP EXHIBITIONS & PRESENTATIONS

Press Highlights

Article: Sean O’Toole in Sunday Times, 24 October 2017: Marlene Steyn is proving to be an artist worth watching – PDF

Interview: Kurt Snoekx in BRUZZ, 11 March 2018: Marlene Steyn: Pretzel Perfect – PDF

Review: Danny Shorkend in the Cape Times, 23 August 2016: Playful, Sinister Metaphors – PDF

Article: Emily Steer in Elephant Magazine Online, 08 August 2016: Marlene Steyn: Your Skin Is Not The Best Hiding Place – PDF

Review: Roxy Kawitzky in adjective, 05 September 2016: Runny yolks and Running JokesPDF