Jody Paulsen

A blitz of words, images, and brands

United States

“An exercise in shape, color, and print”

A Cape Town, South Africa native, Jody Paulsen treats gender identity and sexual orientation like an artist’s material, frequently foregrounding his queer, mixed-race identity in works that might combine Disney characters and other pop-figure icons even as they simultaneously evoke universally known fashion brands. And fashion isn’t just a subject in Paulsen’s work, which often takes the form of sculpture, but rather an additional site for his creativity; he has collaborated with fashion designer Adriaan Kuiters on a line of unisex ready-to-wear clothing and accessories.

The astute critic Scott Indrisek praised his “irreverent, eye-popping” works at the Untitled art fair in Miami Beach in 2017, tagging him as “one to discover” for Artsy magazine; in Artforum, critic Sean O’Toole wrote of his “propensity toward visual surplus” in his multimedia oeuvre, which includes collage, photography, assemblage, and installation.

Paulsen earned a master’s degree in print media at the University of Cape Town’s Michaelis School of Fine Arts in 2013. He has mounted solo exhibitions at SMAC Gallery, Cape Town and participated in group exhibitions at the Ford Foundation Gallery, in New York; the Iziko South African National Gallery in Cape Town; Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, Texas; and the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa in Cape Town, South Africa. He was included in the exhibition “Making Africa: A Continent of Contemporary Design,” selected by Amelie Klein and legendary curator Okwui Enwezor, which appeared at the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, Germany; the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao; and the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia, among other museums.

You can find his work in public and private collections including Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa in Cape Town, South Africa; the Sovereign Art Foundation; The Royal Portfolio Collection, in Cape Town, South Africa; and the 21c Museum Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, USA.