Minnette Vári was born in 1968 in Pretoria, South Africa. She lives in Johannesburg. As Kendell Geers observes in a catalogue essay published in 2004 by Kunstmuseum Lucerne, “Minnette Vári has in her lifetime witnessed the fall of apartheid and all its structures, followed by the new democracy.” In response to this history, Vári has written a history of herself in relation to this trajectory, one that attempts to recover what is lost, to give shape and voice to forgotten or erased memories. Her work conflates self and history,examining how identity arises out of the traumatic past. In her videos and drawings, Vári frequently depicts her own body enduring a disfiguring metamorphosis – she merges with and emerges from nature as well as from the concrete architecture of modern cities. The female “protagonist” of her video works is sometimes archetypal and sometimes spectral, a persona who ingests and is ingested by time. Vári has exhibited her work since the early nineties, participating in such group exhibitions as Banquet, ZKM Karlsruhe; Personal Affects: Power and Poetics in Contemporary South African Art, Museum for African Art, New York; the Venice Biennale (2001 and 2007); the 1oth Havana Biennale and The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Hell and Purgatory Revisited by Contemporary African Artists, MKK Frankfurt. Her solo exhibitions include Chimera at Art Unlimited, Basel; Vigil at Elga Wimmer Gallery with Serge Ziegler, New York; Songs of Excavation and The Eleventh Hour, both at the Goodman Gallery South Africa, and Of Darkness and of Light, a mid-career survey at the Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg.

Solo Exhibitions

2017 The Eleventh Hour, Goodman Gallery Johannesburg
2016 Of Darkness and of Light, Mid-career survey exhibition, Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg (Catalogue)
2013 Songs of Excavation, Goodman Gallery Johannesburg
2012 The Revenant, Goodman Gallery Cape
2010 Parallax, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg
2009 Time and Tide: An anthology in video, Goodman Gallery Cape
2008 Minnette Vári, Goodman Gallery Cape
2007 Minnette Vári, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg
2007 Vigil, Elga Wimmer Gallery in collaboration with Serge Ziegler Galerie, New York
2006 Chimera (black edition), Exhibition and Workshop Residency, Victoria H. Myhren Gallery, University of Denver, Colorado
2005 Featured Festival Artist, Kleinkaroo National Arts Festival, Oudtshoorn, SA
2005 Aurora Australis, Galerie Renee Ziegler, Zürich
2005 Minnette Vári, Gallery Momo, Johannesburg
2004 Minnette Vári, Kunstmuseum Luzern/Art Museum Lucerne (Catalogue)
2003 The Calling, Bell-Roberts Gallery, Cape Town
2003 Minnette Vári, Corkin-Shopland Gallery, Toronto
2003 Media Work, Jannotta Gallery, Hillyer Hall, Smith College, Massachusetts
2003 Chimera (black edition), Galerie Renée Ziegler, Art Unlimited, Basel
2002 Minnette Vári, Serge Ziegler Galerie, Zürich
2001 Minnette Vári, Serge Ziegler Galerie, Zürich
2001 Minnette Vári, Camouflage Art.Culture.Politics. Brussels
2001 Aurora Australis, Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg
1998 Beyond The Pale, at the invitation of and support by the French Institute of South Africa, Galerie d’Alliance Française, Johannesburg
1994 Minnette Vári, Centurion Art Gallery, Centurion, SA
1992 Painting and Language, FIG Gallery, Johannesburg

Group Exhibitions

2023 House of Reasoned Truths curated by Kisito Assangni. Telematic Media Arts, San Francisco, USA
2020 CURE, online exhibition curated by Johan Myburg, featuring Vári’s Finis Tenebris. University of Johannesburg Art Gallery
2019 incarNATIONS: The Sindika Dokolo Collection, curated by Kendell Geers at BOZAR, Brussels (Catalogue)

2018 CLOSE: Proximity / Intimacy / Tension at the Johannesburg Art Gallery
2016 The Incantation of the Disquieting Muse: On Divinity, Supra-Realities or the Exorcisement of Witchery at SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin
2015 Past Imperfect // Future Present, FADA Gallery, Johannesburg
2014 The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Hell, Purgatory Revisited, by Contemporary African Artists curated by Simon Njami. MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main
2014 From Sitting to Selfie, Standard Bank Gallery (Catalogue)
2013 États Limites, Le Centquartre, Paris
2011 The Underground, the Surface and the Edges, Michaelis Galleries, Cape Town
2011 Space, Ritual, Absence, FADA Gallery, University of Johannesburg
2010-2011 Afropolis. City, Media, Art, Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum – Kulturen der Welt, Cologne (Catalogue)
2010-2011 VAF1. Contemporary African Video Art, organised through AGENCY: Art, Life, Society Yorkshire (Catalogue)
2010-2011 Open End: An Exhibition of Paintings, Goodman Gallery Cape
2010 In Context, Goodman Gallery Project Space, Arts On Main, Johannesburg (Catalogue)
2009 SPHÈRES, Galleria Continua – Le Moulin, Boissy-le-Châtel, France
2009 The 10th Havana Biennale, Havana
2009 Dystopia, Unisa Art Gallery, Pretoria; Museum Africa, Johannesburg and Galerij Jan Colle, Ghent
2009 5th VentoSul Biennial, Curitiba (Catalogue)
2009 Périfériks, Curated by Kader Attia. Part of the Eternal Tour festival, Centre d’Art de Neuchâtel
2008 The 5th Seoul International Media Art Biennale, Seoul
2007 African Pavillion, 52nd Venice Biennale, Venice
2007 Afterlife, Michael Stevenson, Cape Town
2007 Voci dalla luna: a Homage to Federico Fellini. Galleria Comunale d’Arte Contemporanea, Monfalcone
2007 Diva Streets NYC, Digital and Video Art Fair, New York (Presented for Diva Streets by Serge Ziegler Galerie)
2007 Luanda Triennial, Luanda
2006 Sd Observatorio, IVAM, Valencia
2006 Fairytale, TICA (Tirana Institute of Contemporary Art), Albania
2005 Digital Discourse, St. James Centre for Creativity, Valetta, Malta
2004 La Allegria De Mis Suenos, First Seville International Biennial of Contemporary Art, Seville
2004 Personal Affects: Power And Poetics In Contemporary South African Art, The Museum for African Art and the Cathedral Church of St John the Divine, New York
2004 New Identities: Contemporary South African Art, Museum Bochum, Germany and Pretoria Art Museum, Pretoria (Catalogue)
2004 Dimension Folly: Subjectivity, Passion and Excess in Everyday Life, Galleria Civica di Arte
Contemporanea, Trento (Catalogue)
2003 Banquet, Centre of Contemporary Art Palau de la Virreina, Barcelona; Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie, Karlsruhe; Conde Duque Cultural Centre, Madrid (Catalogue)
2003 Transferts, curated by Toma Muteba Luntumbue for Africalia. Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels
2003 Global Priority, Herter Art Gallery, University of Massachusetts, Amherst (Catalogue)
2002 STYX, Directed by Ralph Kotschka, Europäishe Kunstakademie, Trier (Catalogue)
2002 Videoformes, Curated by Gabriel Soucheyre; South African programme compiled by Clive van den Berg. Clermont-Ferrand (Catalogue)
2002 Muster Frau, Curated by Dr. Peter Joch. Kunsthalle Darmstadt (Catalogue)
2002 Contributions from the Venice Biennial, Charlottenborg Udstillingsbygning, Copenhagen (Catalogue)
2002 Slow Motion, Curated by Alexandra Kolossa. Ludwig Forum, Aachen (CD-ROM Catalogue)
2002 In Progress, Curated by Harald Szeemann for the 55th International Film Festival, Locarno (Catalogue)
2002 Dislocation, Image & Identity: South Africa, Circulo de Bellas Artes, Madrid; Sala Rekalde, Bilbao; Centro Cultural de Maia, O’Porto (Catalogue)
2002 Survivre a L’apartheid, de Drum Magazine à Aujourd’hui, Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris (Catalogue)
2001 Short Stories, Curated by Roberto Pinto. La Fabbrica del Vapore, Milan (Catalogue)
2001 Plateau of Humankind, Venice Biennale, Venice
2001 Casino 2001, 1st Quadrennial of Contemporary Art, S.M.A.K., Ghent
2001 World Wide Video Festival, Arti & Amiticiae, Amsterdam
2000 Memorias Intimas Marcas, Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen
(MUHKA), Belgium; Museu da Cidade, Lisbon
2000 South Meets West, National Museum, Accra; Kunsthalle Bern (Catalogue)
2000 Atmosfere Metropolitane, Openspace, Milan
1999 Dialog 1: Vice Verses, O.K. Centre of Contemporary Art, Linz
1999 Channel, Association of Visual Arts, Cape Town
1999 FNB Vita Art Prize, Sandton Civic Art Gallery, Johannesburg
1998 Democracy’s Images: Photography And Visual Art After Apartheid, Bildmuseet, Umeå
1997 Transversions, Part of Trade Routes: History and Geography, 2nd Johannesburg Biennale, Museum Africa, Newtown, Johannesburg

Academic Record and Residencies

2018 SAFFCA (Southern African Foundation For Contemporary Art) Residency at Entabeni Farm, Knysna, Western Cape, South Africa
2015 Sylt Foundation residency, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
2009 Fellow at the Civitella Ranieri, Umbertide, Italy
1999 Residency at O.K. Centre of Contemporary Art, Linz, Austria
1997 Masters Degree in Fine Arts (Cum Laude), University of Pretoria
1990 Ba(Fine Arts), University of Pretoria, South Africa

Public Collections

IZIKO South African National Gallery, Cape Town
Johannesburg Art Gallery
MMK (Museum für Moderne Kunst), Frankfurt
MuHKA (Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst), Antwerp
Museum of Art, Luzerne
SABC Art Collection
SAFFCA (Southern African Foundation For Contemporary Art)
Sindika Dokolo Collection of Contemporary African Art, Luanda
SOUTHERN Collection of Art, South Africa
Standard Bank South Africa
UNISA (University of South Africa), Pretoria
Zürich Versicherung


2016 Of Darkness and of Light. Monographic Catalogue. Texts by Simon Njami, Pamela Allara, Tracy Murinik, Fabiana Lopes, John Peffer and James Sey. Standard Bank of South Africa, Johannesburg
2013 Art Cities of the Future: 21st Century Avant-Gardes. Phaidon, London
2009 South African Art Now. Sue Williamson. Harper-Collins, New York
2005 Bilbija, K., Fair, J., Milton, C. and Payne, L. (Eds.). The Art of Truth-Telling about Authoritarian Rule. The University of Wisconsin Press, Wisconsin
2004 Perryer, S. (Ed.) et al. 10 Years, 100 Artists: Art in a Democractic South Africa. Bell-Roberts Publishing in association with Struik Publishers, Cape Town
2004 Neubauer, S. (Ed.). Minnette Vári. Monographic Catalogue. Art Museum Lucerne. Texts by Kendell Geers, John M. Peffer, Harald Szeemann, Liese van der Watt. Art Museum Lucerne
2002 Powell, Richard J. Black Art: A Cultural History. Thames & Hudson Publishers, London
2002 Barragán, P. El Arte Que Viene / The Art To Come. Subastas Siglo XXI, Madrid
1999 Atkinson, B. and Breitz, C. (Eds.). Grey Areas: Representation, Identity and Politics in Contemporary
South African Art. Chalkham Hill Press, Johannesburg
1996 Williamson, S. and Jamal, A. Art In South Africa, The Future Present. David Philip Publishers, Cape Town

Selected Articles and Reviews

2017 Sassen, Robyn. ‘Ode to the Hole in your Heart.‘ My View: The Arts at Large
2016 Sey, James. ‘Of Darkness and of Light: Minnette Vári at the Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg.’ Art Africa, June 2016, Issue 04
2016 Kemper, Kira. ‘A Deeply Personal and Political Journey: Minnette Vári’s Of Darkness and of Light.‘ Artthrob, 16 February
2016 Watermeyer, N. ‘Of Darkness and of Light.’ Creative Feel, February
2013 Thurman, Chris. ‘Leaving Holes in the Earth’s Psyche.’ Business Day, 12 September
2010 Corrigal, Mary. ‘Where Two Worlds Meet.’ Sunday Independent, 7 February
2007 Corrigall, Mary. ‘Minnette Vári: Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, 1 March 2007.’ Art South Africa Website. Review originally published in Art South Africa V5.4
2003 Peffer, John. ‘Strange Utopia: John Peffer in conversation with Minnette Vári’. Art South Africa, V2.2, Summer
2002 Van Bosch, Cobus. ‘Vári Pak Mitiese Monsters’. Die Burger, Cape Town, 26 February; Die Beeld,
Gauteng, 1 March
2002 Edmunds, Paul. ‘New media showcase’.  The Mail & Guardian, South Africa, 1 – 7 March
2002 Hug, C. ‘Minnette Vári, Serge Ziegler Galerie, Zürich’.  Tema Celeste, No. 93, Sept/Oct, p.105
2002 Dawes, Nic. ‘Selected Works From The World Wide Video Festival at Michaelis Galleries’,  Artthrob, March
2002 Von Burg, D. ‘Minnette Vári’.  Kunst-Bulletin, No. 7/8, July/August
2001 Stein, L. ‘Art Chicago Seeks The Cutting-Edge’. Chicago Tribune, 11 May
2001 Omlin, S. ‘Blick Aus Der Ferne’. Neue Zurcher Zeitung, 27 February
2001 Polzer, B. ‘Mediale Zerrbilder’. Kunst, Annabelle, 3/01, 2 February
2001 Mack, G. ‘Geschichte Verschlingen’. Kulturtipps, Cash, No.8, 23 February
2001 Kraft, M. ‘Körpergeschichte’. Kunst, Züritipp, No. 8, 23 February
2001 Sutton, P. ‘49th Venice Biennale: Minnette Vári’. Visual Arts/Features, The Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Gateway to Arts and Culture, November
2001 Atkinson, Brenda. ‘Minnette Vári At The Standard Bank Gallery’. Artthrob. 7 November
2001 Smith, Kathryn. ‘Art Pick of the Week’. The Mail & Guardian, South Africa, 23 – 29 November
2001 Kerkham, Ruth. ‘A Deadly Explosive On Her Tongue’. Third Text, Spring 2001
2000 Atkinson, Brenda. ‘Flash Art’. Elle, South Africa
1999 Fröling, G. ‘City Artist on the Cutting Edge’. Tonight, Pretoria News, 20 April
1999 ‘VexQuest’, in insert, Delapse, Johanneburg, interactive CD ROM Magazine, Winter
1998 Williamson, S. ‘Artbio’. Artthrob, Issue No.7,
1998 Lefebvre, E. ‘Reality is always re-written’. Newtown Zebra, No.11, Sept-Dec
1998 Van Rensburg, Wilhelm. ‘Vári Konfronteer Jou Met Jou Vrese’. Beeld, Johannesburg, 17 Nov
1998 ‘Morphing Minnette’, Atkinson, B. Electronic Mail & Guardian, 24 November
1997 Friedman, Hazel. ‘Zone of Metaphors’. The Mail & Guardian, 11 April
1997 Van der Spuy, B. ‘Pta-kaalfoto ‘verslapping van sensuur’. Beeld, 23 June
1997 Vári, Minnette. ‘Hearing the artist’s message’. Artspeak, Tonight, Pretoria News, 1 July
1997 Geers, K. ‘Planet Art’. Elle, South Africa, October
1997 Van Niekerk, L. ‘Muti-Parfuum, Ruk Masker Af’. Beeld, 8 October
1997 Friedman, Hazel. ‘Trapped In The Hall Of Mirrors’. The Mail & Guardian, 12 April
1997 Friedman, Hazel. ‘Scratching Beneath The Surface”. The Mail & Guardian, 19 April
1997 Geers, Kendell. ‘The real dangers of fashion in art’. Tonight, The Star, 25 April
1997 Burger, Lucia. ‘Duistere waarhede wat die sinne uitdaag’. Beeld, 30 April
1996 Berry, O. ‘Message In A Bottle’. Tonight, Pretoria News, 5 December
1995 Berry, O. ‘Baring All For Art’. Tonight, Pretoria News, 22 September
1995 ‘Vanguardismo de Sudáfrica visita el Museo de Arte Contemporaneo’, Cultura, La Epoca, Santiago,
Chile, 2 November