A project commissioned by Pirelli inspired by the theme “Rubber Soul” which was presented for the first time at the FNB Joburg Art Fair
In her installation “Monument of Aspiration” Sophie is now placed on a pedestal. The monument is both a celebration and an ironic statement about the status of black women in South African society today.
Sophie’s dress is made from Pirelli PZero fabric used in their PZero fashion line. She references the Zion Christian Church (ZCC) through her choice of colour and links this to the aspect of fashion. “Sophie” is significantly, wearing shoes made with Pirelli car tyre rubber soles.
These handmade shoes are well-known, in a South African context, and are a powerful symbol of masculine identity and male power in the ZCC as they are worn only by men. She is not only breaking boundaries by wearing these shoes but also in the action she is performing (jumping) which is again one that is only performed by men in the ZCC.
In a collaborative spirit, Pirelli’s several generational influences accommodate “Sophie”. The company’s significant contributions in researching rubber materials and its by-products extend into fashion and industrial design, thus influencing Sibande’s conceptualisation of this new sculpture.
Rubber in all its forms has proved to be practical, durable and glamorous; a substance that has the power through its flexibility to be transformed to many forms. This was inspirational to Mary in creating Sophie’s new transformation.