Russell Bruns was born in Johannesburg, South Africa and lives in London, UK. Bruns completed his BFA at Rhodes University in 2012. Bruns received the John Hodgkiss for Photography, Raymond Pullen Scholarship and Masters Scholarship and completed his MFA at Rhodes University in 2014. Bruns is currently employed as a part-time lecturer at Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
Bruns’ practice uses a combination of lens-based media along with performance to critique his immediate every day.
His previous body of work entitled Candyland (2013-2015) looked at the ways in which in violence operates on an ideological level within academic institutions in Post-Apartheid South Africa and how photography and film can evolve to understand these structures. In 2018 Bruns started performing a character called Shane Malone across Europe and South Africa. Shane presents himself as a successful art agent, gallerist or salesman and uses the accessibility gained through whiteness to show the world the work of his only client – Bruns. Shane’s entitlement, self-confidence and self-obsession distort his reality making him ignorant to modes of operating within the art-world. Thematically Shane’s performance at Zeitz MOCAA for the exhibition, The Main Complaint, was informed by the politics of selling, marketing and commerce within the arts and the ways in which performance can work as a device to defamiliarize the hierarchies present.
“Through this gauche mouthpiece, Bruns shows us how truly bizarre our cultural obsession with selling ourselves has become.” – Chris McMichael, 2018
Recent solo exhibitions include: With Shane at Herald Street (London: 2018); Candyland at AVA Gallery (Cape Town: 2015); Candyland at Standard Bank Gallery (Grahamstown: 2014). Group exhibitions and performances include: Elder at Camden Arts Centre (London: 2018); Closer than Ever (Collaboration with Francois Knoetze) at Gallery MOMO (Cape Town: 2017); Building at Landskrona Foto Festival (Landskrona: 2017); Barclay’s Atelier at Rust-en-vrede Gallery (Cape Town: 2016); Barclay’s Atelier at ABSA Gallery (Johannesburg: 2016); Analog Eye (Vienna: 2015); Infecting the City (Cape Town: 2015); Pooling our Secrets at SMAC Gallery (Stellenbosch: 2015); Neptune Award at Photo Shanghai (Shanghai: 2014); Student Focus Award- Sony World Photography Awards at Somerset House (London: 2014); and New Dorp City at Grahamstown Post Office (Grahamstown: 2011).