Claudette Schreuders: Doubles at Jack Shainman Gallery

Claudette Schreuders, Accomplice, 2021. Jelutong wood, enamel and oil paint, 27.56 x 20.87 x 13.78 inches. © Claudette Schreuders. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

Claudette SchreudersDoubles 

Jack Shainman Gallery 

Through April 2, 2022

By PETRA MASON, March 2022 

Serendipity played a part in South African artist Claudette Schreuders success. Back in 1999 when there was a Museum for African Art on Broadway (just below Houston) the Museum hosted Liberated Voices: Contemporary Art from South Africa. 

Liberated Voices aimed to ‘highlight the major art trends in the contemporary art practice of South Africa’ and featured an ambitious line-up that presented over 65 paintings, sculptures, photographs and video installations created post-1994, successfully debuting fresh voices and amplifying others while visually marking the new democracy.  

Within days of its opening, Schreuders sculptures appeared in print in the New York Times review of the show. The review made its way into gallerist Jack Shainman’s hands around the time he was moving to New York’s West Side and the rest is herstory. The then 28-year old artist went on to exhibit with Shainman forever after (now 22 years) and the enviable stability and longevity of the artist / gallerist relationship makes one want a Schreuders sculpture depicting the pair in an eternal bond. 

Claudette Schreuders, First Person, 2021. Jelutong wood, enamel and oil paint, 27.56 x 15.75 x 9.06 inches. © Claudette Schreuders. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

Now mid-career, and still fascinated by duos and couples, for Doubles (her seventh solo exhibition with the gallery) Schreuders turns her focus on doubling by repeating the same figure as a haunting reflection of itself, ‘making visible the isolation of the last few years with spectral, doubled figures – figures left in their own company’.

Mirroring the eerie quiet of the double lives we lead, from what we do in private to how we present ourselves in public, each haunting figure reminding us in our echo chambers ‘that we can't run from ourselves, no matter how much we might want to’. 

All four of the large scale Jelutong wood, enamel and oil paint sculptures are hand carved by the artist and the related colour pencil works on paper are originals including four large scale drawings as reflections of the sculptures. 

Unable to pop into the show as I once would have, Shainman gallery Director Elisabeth Sann and I did a Zoom walkabout from our different time zones that left me feeling distinctly strange, as if I was having an out of body experience or as if I’d morphed into Claudette Schreuders ‘Intruder’ WM

Petra Mason

Cultural historian and vintage photography book author published by Rizzoli New York. Founder Obscure Studio and ArtHit. Whitehot arts and culture contributor since 2016.

Photography by (c) Thekiso Mokhele / Obscure Studio

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