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Tracey Rose | the artist



The artist Tracey Rose
Born 1974, Durban, South Africa.
Lives and works in Johannesburg, .

Style and technique of the artist: Video, Installation art, Performance Art,


Biography and art, auction, artworks, interview, statement, website:

Tracey Rose artworks on eBay
Original artworks, prints, exhibition posters, monographs, books, collectibles.

Ciao Bella

A young artist who is making an impact on the international scene, Tracey Rose is not a practitioner who jumps at every curatorial opportunity offered her, and has been known to withdraw from more than one exhibition if the circumstances have not seemed right. A cool consideration marks her approach. “I find it quite insulting when people don’t understand the gravity of what they’re working with,” says Rose, adding that her preferred period for working a concept through to its resolution is two years. With a Catholic upbringing and a rich ancestry which includes German and Khoisan forbears, Rose’s themes are the dissection of her own social history as a coloured person in South Africa, and issues of the body, identity and gender. Early works, like The Thinker,1996, dealt with specific incidents: a small reproduction of the Rodin piece is used as a weapon in a family argument…

Venice Biennale

You know what happened to me yesterday? I’m driving back from boxing, okay. I’m wearing my shades – they look like Ray Ban knockoffs – they kind of are … but they’re not really … they kind of are, okay [giggles] – and my Billabong skullcap. And I’m driving back and I turn the corner down Joubert Street and these guys are walking across the road, and there’s a car up ahead so I slow down, and my window’s half down and this guy looks at me through the window and says “mlungu” [“whitey”]. I was so pissed off! So at times you can straddle racial/cultural/whatever kinds of boundaries – you’ll play out a certain kind of role or character, but how it’s perceived by other people … it’s fucking weird man!..

Ten years ago, Tracey Rose, then a little known 27-year-old South African performance and lens-based artist, showed her new video installation, Ciao Bella (2001), a shambolic, operatic, feminist parody of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper (1495–8), at the 49th Venice Biennale. Commissioned by curator Harald Szeemann, this 13-minute three-channel projection shows Rose exaggeratedly performing multiple roles – some fictional, like Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita, others grounded in historical fact, like Marie Antoinette and Ilona ‘Cicciolina’ Staller…