OOA
OUT OF AFRICA
CONTEMPORARY  ART
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Marion Boehm

 

Biography

Marion BoehmMarion BOEHM

Born 1964 in Germany
Lives and works in Germany and South Africa

EMBRACE
"Interested in cultural exchange since childhood, German artist Marion Boehm spent 10 years traveling the world while working for Lufthansa before moving to South Africa with her husband and two daughters in 2010. Living in Johannesburg and teaching art at her children’s school, she took drawing lessons with the celebrated South African artist Kay Hassan, who introduced her to the local places that inspired him, including Bolo’s community center in Kliptown.
Traveling with a black friend to the Soweto township, Boehm had a life-changing experience. Stopping at Bolo’s place, a gathering spot and would-be museum of objects from apartheid times run by photographer and collector David “Bolo” Meyer, Boehm was so taken by the people that she met, stories that she heard and things that she saw, she started making art related to the recycling of materials she observed in the Kliptown community.
Initially creating mixed-media collages from the black and white photographs that she took of the locals by altering the portraits with pencil, charcoal, pastels, paint and bits of torn paper, before long Boehm was adding fabric and found objects to make her portrayals even more elaborate, and thus more lifelike. She then began to use photos of people from the colonial era and portraits from contemporary times to blur the line between the past and the present.
Boehm’s desire is to nobly depict her black subjects in the manner that Europeans have been historically portrayed. Not unlike the African American painter Kehinde Wiley, she casts her characters in a manner that’s intended to change the existing canon.
She has portrayed artists whom she admires—such as Serge Attukwei Clottey, Saidou Diko, Evans Mbugua and Barthélemy Toguo—as royals, dandies and chiefs, but more often it’s women—seen from a feminist, ennobling point of view—that occupy center stage in her captivating series of portraits. Constructing a new way of seeing African women, Boehm aims at the unexpected, rather than at being historically or ethnographically correct.
Like an Afrofuturist, she shows us what tomorrow might be or how things might have been if colonialism and apartheid had never happened and racism didn’t exist. In Leather Apron, from her Silent Beauty pictures, which is one of her earliest series, Boehm captures the beauty of a Kiptown woman who earns a living with her hands. And in Precious, from the same series, she shows a glowing female subject simply yet gracefully dressed in traditional Shweshwe fabrics. Both women have been lovingly turned into art, and when their pictures were first exhibited at Bolo’s hub, they—and their fellow Kliptown residents—were honored.
For the pictures Ancestors and Great Grandpa, both from the Ancestors series, Boehm collaged the backgrounds with torn texts from the South African newspaper The Star, with key words related to local concerns, such as HIV/Aids and Zulu, popping out in bold type. Words are also displayed on the skin of the subjects, but in these instances the texts were written by the artist to celebrate the personas of the women, who are fancifully outfitted in colorful, patterned dresses.
Besides elegantly depicting distinctive females, the crucial parts of these pictures are the rare European crowns of death with the African ancestorial images that the women embrace. A double-edged sword of sorts, the beaded crowns (used to decorate Christian graves on special occasions) put the African women (who also decorate themselves with beads) on the same footing as their European counterparts, while equally commenting on their forced participation in Christianity by the colonialists.
In Leopard Girl, the artist lets the object—a tapestry of a crouching animal in the wild—define the picture. Collaging the face, arms and hands of an African femme fatale into a flowing patterned gown, she filled the figure’s exposed skin with an Arabic text and placed her comfortably atop the leopard, as if the young woman was at one with her environment. The jungle, however, is less evident in Boehm’s Legacy series, which positions ornately clad women against brightly colored backgrounds while holding symbolic African masks.
Channeling the Afropunk scene through the vibrant, hot-pink and lime-green, torn-paper collage grounds, the women in the Legacy pictures are conduits to the past yet speak to the present. The lady in Bamileke Mask affably sports a colorful fabric, bead and shell covered outfit when holding an elephant mask from Cameroon, while another woman in Dogon Mask grasps a shell-decorated mask from Mali.
Although the African masks that the subjects carry have spiritual significance within their originating tribes, they seem just as indicative of the masks Westerners wear every day, particularly on social media, where true identities can be veiled behind a public persona. The subjects in Boehm’s pictures have taken their masks off to show us who they truly are, yet since they are the artist’s inventions, what they really reveal is just how deeply she reveres the culture that she has embraced—and she invites us to do the same.

Paul Laster
New York Desk Editor|ArtAsiaPacific
Collaborateur|Whitehot Magazine of Contemporary ArtWriter|Time Out New York|
Galerie|Art & Object|Sculpture|Cultured|Harper’s Bazaar Arabia|Architectural Digest|Surface|Garage|ConceptualFineArts

Read more about her biography

After studying Interior Design, Marion Boehm worked as Interior Architect in Europe before moving to South Africa in 2010. Being engaged in a private community project in Kliptown, she began her artistic career in Johannesburg creating her unique magnificent collages. The artist addresses and examines the interfaces and relationships between African and Western cultures in history until nowadays. Her themes relate to personal experiences and are reflected in her different series focusing on socio-economic and cultural matters. Her work is an impressive combination of artistic integrity, conceptual vision and aesthetic beauty.

Her newest series “Legacy” interprets a new African identity based on traditional roots facing the confusion of a globalized world and overcoming the identity crisis after colonialism. “In my series „Legacy” I want to point out that the emerging African continent has a rich cultural background to build on” says Marion. Her mixed media collages with traditional African masks, beads, cawrie shells and fabrics highlight the beauty, loyalty and positive energy of the African women.
The traditional African masks, that Marion Boehm integrates in her artworks were used in religious and social events to represent the spirits of ancestors or to control the good and evil forces in the community. They come to life, possessed by their spirit in the performance of the dance and are enhanced by the music and atmosphere of the occasion. Some masks combine human and animal features to unite man with his natural environment. This bond with nature is of great importance to the African and through the ages masks have always been used to express this relationship.

I use African masks in my work to relate to the beauty and spiritual power of them in the context of a culturally impoverished and spiritually distressed modern world. But do they still have their original meaning? What do they represent to the generation of today? Can they be a point of reference and still offer a kind of orientation? What do the traditions mean for today‘s life and what do they teach us for the future?” In order to underline her message, Marion’s statement is always printed in the faces of her characters.
Marion Boehm ́s work has been collected internationally. Her artwork was presented during shows and art fairs in South Africa, Germany, France, UK, Lithuania, Morocco, Portugal, Luxemburg, Switzerland, USA.

STUDIES

2012
- Acceptance of portfolio for proposal of master theme at Wits University, Fine Arts - Johannesburg, South Africa

2011-2013
- Community Centre work at Bolo’s – Kliptown – Johannesburg, South Africa
- Photographic and video documentation, graphic interpretation in different techniques and media

1998-2010
- Interior Design at Thorer Interior Design – Frankfurt, Germany
- Independant Interior Architect – Frankfurt, Germany & Cannes, France & Milan, Italy

1990 – 1997
- Diploma of Interior Design at University FH – Darmstadt, Germany
- Major focus on design and graphic design

SHOWS & ART FAIRS

2020
- Solo Show "Embrace" - OOA Gallery - Barcelona, Spain 
- 1-54 New York Online Art Fair - OOA Gallery - New York, USA
- Cape Town Art Fair – ARTCO Gallery – Cape Town, South Africa
2019
- “On paper” - ARTCO Gallery – Aachen, Germany
- Cape Town Art fair – ARTCO Gallery – Cape Town, South Africa
- Art Paris Art Fair – ARTCO Gallery – Paris, France
- Expo Chicago – ARTCO Gallery – Chicago, USA
- “Filam(a)nt Exhibition – Fondation Blachère – Apt, France
- “Spaces in Between” Exhibition – This is Not a White Cube Gallery - Lisbon, Portugal
- AKAA ART Fair – ARTCO Gallery – Paris, France
- Paper Positions Art Fair – ARTCO Gallery – Berlin, Germany
- Latitudes Art Fair – ARTCO Gallery – Johannesburg, South Africa
- Gallery Michel Giraud – Paris, France - Luxembourg Art Week – Gallery Michel Giraud – Luxembourg, Grand-Dûché de Luxembourg

2018
- “Background Africa” - SOART Gallery – Casablanca, Morocco
- AKAA Art Fair - ARTCO Gallery – Paris, France
- 1-54 London Art Fair (solo show) – ARTCO Gallery – London, UK
- FNB Joburg Art Fair – ARTCO Gallery – Johannesburg, South Africa
- “Black Paris” (solo show) – Art Paris Art Fair – ARTCO Gallery – Paris, France
- “Unfolding fibre” - Pretoria Art Museum – Pretoria, South Africa
- Cape Town Art Fair – ARTCO Gallery – Cape Town, South Africa
- London Art Fair (solo show) – ARTCO Gallery – London, UK

2017
- “Hairitage” - AKAA Art Fair – ARTCO Gallery – Paris, France
- FNB Joburg Art Fair – ARTCO Gallery – Johannesburg, South Africa
- Cape Town Art Fair – ARTCO Gallery – Cape Town, South Africa
- “Stitched” (solo show) – Art Paris Art Fair – ARTCO Gallery – Paris, France
- “Rituale” - Afrikahaus Aachen – Aachen, Germany

2016
- “Maskerade” - ARTCO Gallery – Aachen, Germany
- AKAA Art Fair – ARTCO Gallery – Paris, France
- FNB Joburg Art Fair – ARTCO Gallery – Johannesburg, South Africa
- Cape Town Art Fair – ARTCO Gallery – Cape Town, South Africa
- That Art Fair – ARTCO Gallery – Cape Town, South Africa
- “Targets” - ARTCO Gallery – Aachen, Germany

2015
- Start Art Fair Saatchi Gallery – ARTCO Gallery – London, UK
- Art Vilnius – ARTCO Gallery – Vilnius, Lithuania
- “Swenkas” (solo show) – In Toto Gallery – Johannesburg, South Africa
- “Ubuntu Reflections” (solo show) – Alliance Française – Johannesburg, South Africa
- Cape Town Art Fair – Cape Town, South Africa

2014
- Group exhibition – Youngblood Gallery – Cape Town, South Africa
- FNB Joburg Art Fair – Johannesburg, South Africa
- “Silent beauty” (solo show) – Saxon Hotel – Johannesburg, South Africa
- “Silent beauty” (solo show) – Alliance Française – Johannesburg, South Africa
- “Gold rush” - In Toto Gallery – Johannesburg, South Africa

2013
- Joburg Fringe Art Fair – Johannesburg, South Africa
- Group Exhibition - The German Weeks – Johannesburg, South Africa
- “Patched” (solo show) – In Toto Gallery – Johannesburg, South Africa

2012
- Grand Hyatt Hotel Rosebank – Johannesburg, South Africa
 

 

Available artworks

 


. Marion Boehm - Series "Silent Beauty" - Precious - 2013 - 168cm H x 119cm W - Mixed media collage - Contact for price - INFO
INFO images/stories/virtuemart/product/resized/bande-blanche-Marion-Boehm-2---Series-Silent-Beauty---Precious---2013---168cm-H-x-119cm-W---Mixed-media_900x700.jpg
. Marion Boehm - Series "Silent Beauty" - Leather Apron - 2013 - 168cm H x 119cm W - Mixed media collage - Contact for price - INFO
INFO images/stories/virtuemart/product/resized/bande-blanche-Marion-Boehm-2---Series-Silent-Beauties---Leather-Apron---2013---168cm-H-x-119cm-W---Mixed-media_900x700.jpg
. Marion Boehm - Series "Patched" - Granny - 2013 - 150cm H x 109cm W - Mixed media collage - Contact for price - INFO
INFO images/stories/virtuemart/product/resized/bande-blanche-Marion-Boehm-2---Series-Patches---Granny---2013--150cm-H-x-109cm-W---Mixed-media_900x700.jpg
. Marion Boehm - Series "Ancestors" - Great Grandpa - 2017 - 114cm H x 91cm W - Mixed media collage - Contact for price - INFO
INFO images/stories/virtuemart/product/resized/bande-blanche-Marion-Boehm-2---Series-Ancestors---Great-Grandpa---2017---114cm-H-x-91cm-W---Mixed-media_900x700.jpg
. Marion Boehm - Series "Ancestors" - Ancestors - 2017 - 168cm H x 119cm W - Mixed media collage - Contact for price - INFO
INFO images/stories/virtuemart/product/resized/bande-blanche-Marion-Boehm---Series-Ancestors---Ancestors---2017---168cm-H-x-119cm---Mixed-media_900x700.jpg
. Marion Boehm - Series "Amazigh" - Leopard Girl - 2019 - 139cm H x 150cm W - Mixed media collage - Contact for price - INFO
INFO images/stories/virtuemart/product/resized/bande-blanche-OOA-Gallery---Marion-Boehm---Leopard-girl---2019---139cm-H-x-150cm-W---Mixed-media-collage-on-paper_900x700.jpg
. Marion Boehm - Series "Legacy" - Patrimony - 2020 - 150cm H x 104cm W - Mixed media collage - Contact for price - INFO
INFO images/stories/virtuemart/product/resized/bande-blanche-Marion-Boehm---Patrimony---2020---150cm-H-x-104cm-W---Mixed-media-2004-(2)-2004_900x700.jpg
. Marion Boehm - Series "Legacy" - Thinking of my Ancestors - 2020 - 171cm H x 119cm W - Mixed media collage - Contact for price - INFO
INFO images/stories/virtuemart/product/resized/bande-blanche-Marion-Boehm---Thinking-of-my-ancestors---2020---171cm-H-x-119cm-W---Mixed-media-2004-(2)-2004_900x700.jpg
. Marion Boehm - Series "Legacy" - Bamileke Cape - 2020 - 171cm H x 119cm W - Mixed media collage - Contact for price - INFO
INFO images/stories/virtuemart/product/resized/bande-blanche-Marion-Boehm---Bamileke-Cape---2020---117cm-H-x-119cm-W---Mixed-media-2004-(2)-2004_900x700.jpg
. Marion Boehm - Series "Legacy" - Bamileke Mask - 2020 - 171cm H x 118cm W - Mixed media collage - Contact for price - INFO
INFO images/stories/virtuemart/product/resized/bande-blanche-Marion-Boehm---Bamileke-Mask---2020---171cm-h-x-119cm-W---Mixed-media-2004-(2)-2004_900x700.jpg
. Marion Boehm - Series "Legacy" Dogon Mask - 2020 - 171cm H x 119cm W - Mixed media collage - Contact for price - INFO
INFO images/stories/virtuemart/product/resized/bande-blanche-Marion-Boehm---Dogon-Mask---2019--171cm-h-x-119cm-W---Mixed-media-1912-(2)-2004_900x700.jpg
. Marion Boehm - Series "Legacy" - My Granpa's Mask - 2020 - 171cm H x 118cm W - Mixed media collage - Contact for price - INFO
INFO images/stories/virtuemart/product/resized/bande-blanche-Marion-Boehm---My-Grandpa-s-Mask---2019---171cm-H-x-118cm-W---Mixed-media-1912-(2)-2004_900x700.jpg
. Marion Boehm - Series "Legacy" - Pearled Braids - 2020 - 169cm H x 119cm W - Mixed media collage - Contact for price - INFO
INFO images/stories/virtuemart/product/resized/bande-blanche-Marion-Boehm---Pearled-Braids---2020---169cm-H-x-119cm-W---Mixed-media-collage---HD-Modifier_900x700.jpg
. Marion Boehm - Series "Inspiring" - Barthélemy Toguo - 2020 - 212cm H x 166cm W - Mixed media collage - Contact for price - INFO
INFO images/stories/virtuemart/product/resized/bande-blanche-Marion-Boehm---Barthélemy-Toguo_900x700.jpg

 

All artworks

 


. Marion Boehm - Series "Silent Beauty" - Precious - 2013 - 168cm H x 119cm W - Mixed media collage - Contact for price - INFO
INFO images/stories/virtuemart/product/resized/bande-blanche-Marion-Boehm-2---Series-Silent-Beauty---Precious---2013---168cm-H-x-119cm-W---Mixed-media_600x600.jpg
. Marion Boehm - Series "Silent Beauty" - Leather Apron - 2013 - 168cm H x 119cm W - Mixed media collage - Contact for price - INFO
INFO images/stories/virtuemart/product/resized/bande-blanche-Marion-Boehm-2---Series-Silent-Beauties---Leather-Apron---2013---168cm-H-x-119cm-W---Mixed-media_600x600.jpg
. Marion Boehm - Series "Patched" - Granny - 2013 - 150cm H x 109cm W - Mixed media collage - Contact for price - INFO
INFO images/stories/virtuemart/product/resized/bande-blanche-Marion-Boehm-2---Series-Patches---Granny---2013--150cm-H-x-109cm-W---Mixed-media_600x600.jpg
. Marion Boehm - Series "Ancestors" - Great Grandpa - 2017 - 114cm H x 91cm W - Mixed media collage - Contact for price - INFO
INFO images/stories/virtuemart/product/resized/bande-blanche-Marion-Boehm-2---Series-Ancestors---Great-Grandpa---2017---114cm-H-x-91cm-W---Mixed-media_600x600.jpg
. Marion Boehm - Series "Ancestors" - Ancestors - 2017 - 168cm H x 119cm W - Mixed media collage - Contact for price - INFO
INFO images/stories/virtuemart/product/resized/bande-blanche-Marion-Boehm---Series-Ancestors---Ancestors---2017---168cm-H-x-119cm---Mixed-media_600x600.jpg
. Marion Boehm - Series "Amazigh" - Leopard Girl - 2019 - 139cm H x 150cm W - Mixed media collage - Contact for price - INFO
INFO images/stories/virtuemart/product/resized/bande-blanche-OOA-Gallery---Marion-Boehm---Leopard-girl---2019---139cm-H-x-150cm-W---Mixed-media-collage-on-paper_600x600.jpg
. Marion Boehm - Series "Legacy" - Patrimony - 2020 - 150cm H x 104cm W - Mixed media collage - Contact for price - INFO
INFO images/stories/virtuemart/product/resized/bande-blanche-Marion-Boehm---Patrimony---2020---150cm-H-x-104cm-W---Mixed-media-2004-(2)-2004_600x600.jpg
. Marion Boehm - Series "Legacy" - Thinking of my Ancestors - 2020 - 171cm H x 119cm W - Mixed media collage - Contact for price - INFO
INFO images/stories/virtuemart/product/resized/bande-blanche-Marion-Boehm---Thinking-of-my-ancestors---2020---171cm-H-x-119cm-W---Mixed-media-2004-(2)-2004_600x600.jpg
. Marion Boehm - Series "Legacy" - Bamileke Cape - 2020 - 171cm H x 119cm W - Mixed media collage - Contact for price - INFO
INFO images/stories/virtuemart/product/resized/bande-blanche-Marion-Boehm---Bamileke-Cape---2020---117cm-H-x-119cm-W---Mixed-media-2004-(2)-2004_600x600.jpg
. Marion Boehm - Series "Legacy" - Bamileke Mask - 2020 - 171cm H x 118cm W - Mixed media collage - Contact for price - INFO
INFO images/stories/virtuemart/product/resized/bande-blanche-Marion-Boehm---Bamileke-Mask---2020---171cm-h-x-119cm-W---Mixed-media-2004-(2)-2004_600x600.jpg
. Marion Boehm - Series "Legacy" Dogon Mask - 2020 - 171cm H x 119cm W - Mixed media collage - Contact for price - INFO
INFO images/stories/virtuemart/product/resized/bande-blanche-Marion-Boehm---Dogon-Mask---2019--171cm-h-x-119cm-W---Mixed-media-1912-(2)-2004_600x600.jpg
. Marion Boehm - Series "Legacy" - My Granpa's Mask - 2020 - 171cm H x 118cm W - Mixed media collage - Contact for price - INFO
INFO images/stories/virtuemart/product/resized/bande-blanche-Marion-Boehm---My-Grandpa-s-Mask---2019---171cm-H-x-118cm-W---Mixed-media-1912-(2)-2004_600x600.jpg
. Marion Boehm - Series "Legacy" - Pearled Braids - 2020 - 169cm H x 119cm W - Mixed media collage - Contact for price - INFO
INFO images/stories/virtuemart/product/resized/bande-blanche-Marion-Boehm---Pearled-Braids---2020---169cm-H-x-119cm-W---Mixed-media-collage---HD-Modifier_600x600.jpg
. Marion Boehm - Series "Inspiring" - Barthélemy Toguo - 2020 - 212cm H x 166cm W - Mixed media collage - Contact for price - INFO
INFO images/stories/virtuemart/product/resized/bande-blanche-Marion-Boehm---Barthélemy-Toguo_600x600.jpg

 

 

 


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