October 2, 2023
In Transcending the Garden, Sipho Mabona continues to push the boundaries of origami through large-scale folds inspired by beastly and geological shapes. On view now at Glacier Garden Lucerne, this body of work evokes both animal physiques and the rigid, monumental nature of glaciers portrayed through monochromatic geometries.
Mabona became known for his animal sculptures ranging from small schools of koi to a life-sized interpretation of an elephant. In recent years, he’s shifted to more abstract, hand-dyed works on cotton that, rather than focusing on a three-dimensional figure, highlight the creasing process itself. The pieces appear unfolded and allow the viewer to envision what the final form could be if the sheet were re-constructed.
This emphasis reaches new heights in Transcending the Garden, which comprises wall-based works and a pointed sculpture that rests on the gallery floor. Mabona tells Colossal that he opted for a larger scale “to provoke a more visceral response from the viewers… I always loved to get lost in large pieces of work and discover lots of minute details that only reveal themselves after thorough inspection.”
In the context of the glacial space, Mabona’s pieces point toward change, transformation, and regeneration: are the works remnants of animals past or current aerial depictions of mountainous landscapes?
The garden released a filmed visit to Mabona’s studio to coincide with the exhibition—the video is in German, so be sure to turn on English captions for translation. Find more from the artist on Instagram.
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