Opening this summer, London Mithraeum Bloomberg Space will present The Pavilion, the first UK solo exhibition at a public institution by Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum.

Central to the installation will be a wooden pavilion-like structure designed in collaboration with Remco Osório Lobato, comprising a promenade of interrelated viewing booths reminiscent of Victorian ‘cabinets of curiosities’, often considered as precursors to museums.

The structure will house an archive of Sunstrum’s animations dating from 2007-2016, that draw on the artist’s own fascination with ancient mythologies, scientific theories, mythological archetypes and the cosmos.

The Pavilion will encourage visitors to experience the installation in numerous ways, considering how the public engages with artefacts and historical items in museum spaces. On one side of the structure, each animation will be presented in a way tailored to the specific work, featuring silent analogue screens, recessed views, and projected portals. When exploring the reverse side of the pavilion, viewers will discover an area of contemplation adorned with multifaceted furnishings hand-painted and embellished by Sunstrum.

Works on display will include Spin (2013), which brings together drawing and appropriated images from Eadweard Muybridge’s motion study photographs in a fantastical telling of a celestial and earthly origin story, demonstrating a visual language of collage often employed by Sunstrum. The exhibition will also feature one of Sunstrum’s earliest animation works A Short History: Starring Asme as Herself (2007), in which the artist first deployed her alter ego Asme. Asme embodies the idea of the multipliable self, a character who Sunstrum uses throughout her practice to reflect on aspects of modern society as well as her own life.

The mysterious unknowns of the myth of Mithras, central to the history of the London Mithraeum, resonated with my own fascination with ancient mythologies. I’m interested in interpreting – and often deliberately misinterpreting – theories on the structure and origins of the universe. Read as a whole, the animations and furnishings of ‘The Pavilion’ will offer a poetic cosmogony and personal interpretation of the order of things: stars, earth forms, the insides, the outsides, and the beyond-what-we-can-see.

(Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum)

Sunstrum’s multidisciplinary practice encompasses painting, drawing, installation and animation, and reflects her ongoing research into mythology, geology and theories of the nature of the universe. This year, Sunstrum is participating in Sharjah Biennial 15 and the Liverpool Biennial. She will also have a solo exhibition at Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg. Visitors will be able to further engage with the exhibition using the Bloomberg Connects app, the free digital guide to cultural organizations around the world that makes it easy to access and engage with arts and culture from mobile devices, anytime, anywhere.

Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum’s (b. 1980, Mochudi, Botswana) multidisciplinary practice encompasses drawing, painting, installation and animation. The imagery in Sunstum’s work reflects the diverse genealogies of her experience living in different parts of Africa, Southeast Asia, and the U.S. as well as her ongoing research into mythology, geology, and theories on the nature of the universe. Sunstrum’s drawings take the form of narrative landscapes that appear simultaneously futuristic and ancient, shifting between representational and fantastical depictions of volcanic, subterranean, cosmological and precipitous landscapes.

Key exhibitions and performances include: I have withheld much more than I have written, Galerie Lelong, NYC, USA (2022), All my seven faces, Contemporary Art Center, Cincinnati, OH, USA (2019); Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town, South Africa; The Wiels, Brussels, Belgium (2019); Kunsthaus Zürich (2019); The Nest, The Hague (2019); Michaelis School for the Arts at the University of Cape Town (2018); The Showroom, London (2018) Artpace, San Antonio, TX, USA (2018); The Phillips Museum of Arts, Lancaster (2018); Interlochen Centre for the Arts, Interlochen (2016); NMMU Bird Street Art Gallery, Port Elizabeth (2016); Tiwani Contemporary, London (2016); VANSA, Johannesburg (2015); Brundyn Gallery, Cape Town (2014); FRAC Pays de Loire, France (2013); the Havana Biennial (2012); and MoCADA, New York (2011).