Artist Spotlight: Tony Gum and Ananké Asseff
Hello everyone! We’re back after a short hiatus; with summer getting started for us and internships in full swing for Anita and Maxime, it’s been pretty hectic.
Recently, I’ve been thinking I wanted share with you some artists that I admire or whose work stands out to me. The two that I’m presenting to you today are Tony Gum and Ananké Asseff. Although they make really different work on different continents, and are in different stages of their careers, they’re both bringing into dialogue really important issues through pieces that are complex and meticulously researched. I’ll keep making posts like these in the future, so I hope you like them!
Tony Gum is not only a 20-some female artist kicking ass in her native South Africa and internationally, but her Instagram is dope and Vogue called her “The Coolest Girl in Cape Town.” Gum is represented by the Christopher Moller Gallery in Cape Town, and has recently been making appearances in the United States, when her work was shown at PULSE art fair in New York and subsequently in the Miami Beach edition.
Although Gum has, in many ways, taken on a sort of “It-Girl” persona, this by no means detracts from the importance, social relevance, and intricateness of her work. Her photography, almost all self-portraits up to recently, deals a lot with native South African heritage, and her most well-known series, Ode to She touches on aspects of womanhood in Xhosa culture. The images featured below are part of that series:
I’m in the middle of a research project that deals with Ananké Asseff’s work, and she’s amazing. Her work has a lot of depth that’s both personal and public, individual and collective. Asseff’s been actively mostly since the late 1990s, and since then her work has been respected more and more, featured in solo shows in her native Argentina (where she still lives and works).
Most recently and very importantly, pieces from Asseff’s photography series POTENCIAL (POTENTIAL) (2005-2007) were featured in an exhibition entitled “Contradiction and Continuity: Photographs from Argentina, 1865-2015” at the J. Paul Getty Institute in Los Angeles. The exhibition moved, and is now currently on display in Buenos Aires, Argentina at Fundación Proa (I’m dying to go to this exhibition, so if you’re anywhere near Buenos Aires try to make it!).
In POTENCIAL, Asseff presents images of middle and upper-middle class Argentine individuals in what appear to be their homes, with guns in their hands, looking at the camera straight on. They directly address inseguridad in contemporary Argentina.
In her career, Asseff has worked in various media including photography, video, installation, and performance. In her own words, her works “evoke fear and threat, imagined and/or promoted in personal and social construction.” Her work is so intelligent and complex, so I really suggest you look through the featured works on her website.
I really encourage everyone to look more into these two amazing women artists!