• Helen Teede

    Helen Teede
    • Artist Statement
      • My work interrogates the pitfalls of language and a process of surface reading that engages the materiality of text. I use notions of memory, failure and chance in my working process, the outcomes of which are indeterminate. This relates to an interrogation of history and how it has been represented.
    • Biography
      • BA Fine Art (The Michaelis School Of Art)

        Helen Teede was born and brought up in Zimbabwe, spending most of her childhood in the African bush. She left in 2008 for Italy where she spent a year at the Florence University of the Arts, then moved to South Africa to study Fine Art and English Literature at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, graduating with Honours, First Class.

        Helen's work explores the relationship between gestures of writing and painting, finding where the limits of language meet those of mark making. She makes use of poetry, literature and philosophical texts to inform the direction her paintings take, often including phrases on the canvas, blurring the boundaries between word and image. Recently she has started looking at bone as a surface on which to work, viewing it as something already marked, a palimpsest. What she finds interesting is that the surfaces of bones can be “read” and interpreted as textual testimonies of the lives they succeed.

        Selected Exhibitions:

        First Floor Gallery Harare at Cape Town Art Fair 2017, Cape Town

        "Harare: Mwandiambira + Tuazeni + Teede", Group Show, Hazard Gallery: Johannesburg, South Africa
        Johannesburg Art Fair, Group Show, First Floor Gallery: Johannesburg, South Africa
        "It is the Without", Solo Show, First Floor Gallery: Harare, Zimbabwe

        "Dubai Art Week" at Showcase, Dubai
        “We Grow Accustomed to the Dark” at Amanzi, Harare

        Group exhibition, "Modern Painting" at Kalk Bay Modern, Cape Town
        Group show “Scripts of our Unspoken Words” at Showcase, Dubai
         “Industrart”  at Nigel Joscelyne, Harare,


        Group show, “Greatest Hits of 2012” held at the AVA, Cape Town.

        Group show, “Mistakes” held in Cape Town at a pop up space.
        Group show, “GRAD” held at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, Cape Town.

        Solo exhibition, “We Still Have the Sun” held at the Richard Rennies gallery in Harare, Zimbabwe

    • Interview
      • Which new trends or South African artists do you find inspiring at the moment?
        Penny Siopis and Virginia MacKenny

        Which South African deceased artist do you most admire and why?

        Colin Richards. I identify strongly with both his work and writings, specifically those that relate to repetition and memory.

        Where do you get your inspiration for your work?

        Mostly from literary works, poetry and theoretical texts.

        Do you have any rituals or habits involving your art-making that you can tell us about?
        I work on about ten paintings at the same time, sometimes more, which results in a lot of my paintings inadvertently becoming part of a series. This makes significant reference to my source material because for me a series of paintings relates notions of repetition, and to the pages of a book (another kind of series).

        What do you like most about being an artist?

        That when I am painting, I am living solely in the present. Most of the time, my mind is stuck in the past or in the future, but not when I’m making art. It’s a kind of active meditation.

        How do you handle bad days when you experience artist's block?

        I leave my studio for a few days and spend more time with books.

        Do you feel that you want to make a difference to the world or in people's lives? If yes, how?
        Yes, I want to give teaching workshops at schools in Zimbabwe, particularly under-privileged schools. I also hope to eventually open an artist residency program in Zimbabwe that focuses on the relationship between art and the environment.

        What are your plans for the coming year?