b. 1951, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa
Lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa
Willem Boshoff is one of South Africa’s foremost conceptual artists with a career spanning more than thirty years. Boshoff works in a variety of media which includes; sculpture, installation, performance and printmaking. His extensive oeuvre reflects his interest in languages, words, plants, nature, materials, science, mathematics, astronomy, philosophy and politics. Boshoff’s practice has been described as an encyclopaedic obsession.
Willem Boshoff was born in 1951 in Vanderbijlpark and attended the University of Johannesburg where he studied teaching, printmaking and later received his masters in Fine Arts, majoring in sculpture in 1984.
Boshoff has received numerous awards over the years, most notably: the prestigious VILLA Extraordinary Award for Sculpture, by The Claire & Edoardo Villa Will Trust in 2017; the Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship for 2011 from the National Museum of African Art at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC; an Honorary Doctorate from University of Johannesburg in 2008 and the FNB Vita Award for Art in Johannesburg in 1997.
Boshoff is represented in various public and private collections in South Africa and abroad and his work has been shown extensively in numerous museum exhibitions, art fairs and biennales including the São Paulo Biennale, Venice Biennale; Havana Biennale; the Museum for African Art at the Smithsonian, Washington; Museo Nacional, Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid and the Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen, Belgium and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, USA.
In 2012, SMAC Gallery presented an exhibition of Boshoff entitled Text Works alongside acclaimed British land artist Richard Long. This was followed in 2013 by the performative exhibition, Big Druid in his Cubicle, where the artist physically inhabited and occupied SMAC Gallery in Cape Town for five weeks and engaged with the public as well as exploring his surroundings on numerous “Druid walks”, in and around the city. SMAC also presented a Big Druid in his Cubicle exhibition at the KKNK National Art Festival in 2014. In 2015, Boshoff’s work was part of 50/50, curated by Rory Bester, at the New Church Museum, Cape Town, South Africa and notably, What Remains is Tomorrow, curated by Christopher Till and Jeremy Rose, for the Pavilion of South Africa at the 56th Venice Biennale. In the same year, Boshoff’s solo show Reap the Whirlwind was presented at SMAC Gallery in Cape Town.
In June 2018, Boshoff participated in a month-long residency at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) in Wakefield, UK. The residency is a part of YSP’s continued partnership with the NIROX Sculpture Park, supported by the African Arts Trust.
Willem Boshoff will be an artist-in-residency at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP), Wakefield, UK, in June 2018. The residency is part of YSP’s continued partnership with the NIROX Sculpture Park, supported by The Africa Arts Trust.