Suzanne Duncan

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For two years I collected the contents of my vacuum cleaner and extracted meaning from the dust. 

The ‘death anxiety’ that occurs when facing my own mortality through the collection of my dust fuels compulsive, repetitive gestures and labour intensive production as a means of dealing with this unease. Some of these processes rely on the practice of ballet, where the ideal ballet/feminine body is impossible to achieve. I rely on the notion of the feminine body as inextricably linked with dirt, dust, and therefore death, causing it to be represented as Other. Much of the work exhibited is the broken left over of, often cyclical, performances.

Relics that will be left as evidence of existence after I have perished. Collecting my dust for two years is to realise the extent that my body is slowly losing itself. It is the material evidence of life as it wanes.

My project is intensely personal; it reveals my psychological struggles with an anxiety  disorder and how it contributes to the form of my production. This body of work will intentionally grow and change each time I exhibit it (as the project will continue throughout  my lifetime).


Education: 2013 – 2015 MFA (Cum Laude), Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town
2002 – 2006 B.A.F.A (Hons), Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town, Majored in sculpture.
1995 – 1999 Matriculated, Bergvliet Highschool, Cape Town.
1997-1999 Frank Joubert Art Center, Cape Town 

Solo Exhibitions: 2010 Winelands VAN-Guard Exhibition. Oude Libertas Gallery, Stellenbosch.

Group Exhibitions:
2015 What I am Now You Will Be, 6 Spin Street Gallery, Cape Town
2014-2015 In Bloom 3, Casa Labia Cultural Centre, Cape Town
2014 Doing Hair: Art and Hair in Africa,Wits Art Museum, Johannesburg
2014 In Parts, University of Witswatersrand Art Gallery, Johannesburg
2013 Uberbliebsel (Leftovers), Konnektor – Forum fur Kunst, Hannover, Germany
2013 ABSA Exhibition, Design Indaba, Cape Town
2011-2012 In Bloom 2, Casa Labia Cultural Center, Cape Town
2011-2012 Let yourself love a wildthing, Salon 91 Gallery, Cape Town
2011 Joburg Art Fair Fringe, Blackburn Parking Garage, Braamfontein, Johannesburg.
2011 Sasol New Signatures Art Competition, Pretoria Art Museum, Pretoria.
2010 Juggling the familiar 2, Center for African Studies Gallery, University of Cape Town.
2010 ABSA L’Atelier Awards 2010, ABSA Gallery, Johannesburg.
2010 Materiality: Ways of Seeing, ORE Gallery, Cape Town.
2010 Western Cape Division of ABSA L’Atelier 2010. Artb Gallery, Belville, Cape Town.
2009 Sasol New Signatures Art Competition 2009, Pretoria Art Museum, Pretoria.
2009 A.V.A Members Exhibition, A.V.A Gallery, Cape Town.
2009 ABSA L’Atelier Awards 2009, ABSA Gallery, Johannesburg.
2009 Obsession, Prins Vincentgebou, Oudtshoorn. Part of KKNK (Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees).
2009 Western Cape Division of ABSA L’Atelier 2009, Artb Gallery, Belville, Cape Town. Collections: University of Cape Town; Sasol
2008 September/October. Thupelo found objects workshop, Greatmore Studios, Cape Town.
Prizes: 2008 Top ten finalist in the ABSA L’Atelier Awards.