Mandy Johnston


Mandy Johnston is a multi-disciplinary artist and sculptor who lives in Cape Town, South Africa. Johnston’s passion for both visual art and sharing knowledge has led her to be involved in many inner-city initiatives as well as mentor artists within her practice. Johnston has shown multiple solo exhibitions and presented work as a festival artist of the KKNK in 2019. Her work explores the formation of value, underlined by specific historic, cultural and religious contexts and uses the constructed values, definitions and symbolisms attributed to materials to do so. Johnston holds a master’s degree in fine arts from the University of the Witwatersrand. (born 29 November 1978)

Artist statement

Consciously or unconsciously, we exist through personas, constructs of our contexts. The title Becoming undone ll refers to a process of becoming and seeing it as a simultaneous process of undoing. The word becoming also refers to beauty. The idea is that there is beauty to be discovered in a things undoing. 

Through the making of these works, I am exploring the language of materials being wrapped up in a system of constructs and perception of humanities own making. With the knowledge that materials, in general, have been imbued with connotations and assigned female or male characterises through cultural belief systems, I decided to use the figurative form. It is more challenging to use the human form in this age of arts and cultural awakening than it ever before for many reasons. Added to this the figurative form as with much female work is still considered a less valuable contribution to the current conversation. Shying away or obstinately refusing to engage the structures within will not aid the process of becoming undone or open a space for renewal.  So, with these works I am choosing to engage and at very least attempt to subvert some perceptions of the material. 

The shadows represent memory and histories constant presence but also the possibility of transcending our material reality and constructs.