Sanell Aggenbach’s work is as illusive and ethereal as her subjects. Whether she is delving in satirical cultural exorcisms (Graceland, 2009) or exploring intimate portraiture of archived negatives (Sub Rosa, 2008), Aggenbach’s work retains a strange intimacy, despite the anonymity of her subjects. The emphasis of her work relates to visual trickery and plays on subterranean elements. Her most recent paintings offer an ambiguous open-endedness, employing a restrained palette of corroded process colours.
Aggenbach’s work deals primarily with the intersection of history and private narratives by considering the process of recall and interpretation. Her work presents a haunting ambiguity characterised by her materially multifarious nature as she moves comfortably between the various disciplines of painting, printmaking and sculpture. She has proved to be a critical voice in contemporary South African art.
Born in Cape Town in 1975, Aggenbach currently lives and works in Woodstock, Cape Town. Her explorative work has secured her many achievements including winning the 2003 Absa L’Atelier award. Her work is represented in numerous public and private collections, including the South African National Gallery, Sasol, Absa, Spier, SABC, 21C Museum (North Carolina), Red Bull (Austria) and Anglo Gold.