Where light and dark in­ter­sect

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

IT’S PRIME whale watch­ing sea­son, so if you’re head­ing up to Her­manus to check out the south­ern right whales, per­haps you’d like to get some cul­ture at the same time.

Kali van der Merwe’s fas­ci­nat­ing solo ex­hi­bi­tion Fab­ula Nex is at the Ros­souw Mod­ern art gallery from next Fri­day un­til Oc­to­ber 24. Next Satur­day there will be walk­a­bouts with the artist at 11.30am and 1pm for which you must book.

Van Der Merwe holds a fine art de­gree in sculp­ture, from the Univer­sity of Cape Town. For Fab­ula Nex, Van Der Merwe com­bines creative photography, ex­per­i­men­tal film-mak­ing, sound­scape de­sign and taxi­dermy in­stal­la­tion as her medi­ums of ex­plo­ration.

Her work “trans­fig­ures ex­ter­nal form in a search for the im­ma­te­rial, travers­ing nu­anced in­ter­con­nec­tions between death and life”.

Her artis­tic ex­plo­rations take place in the dark, us­ing the night as ex­ploratory dark­room, she ex­plains.

“Light is my medium and the world of form and beyond form my in-depth ex­plo­ration.

“In a process that blurs the bound­aries between photography and paint­ing, light pho­tons col­lect in pho­to­site cav­i­ties of a dig­i­tal sen­sor dur­ing long ex­po­sures. Im­age cre­ation be­comes an en­counter in the dark with the un­known, which is slowly re­vealed over time with light.

“Un­able to see what is hap­pen­ing in the mo­ment, I work ‘blind’ un­til through the ac­cu­mu­la­tion of light when the shut­ter is open, the fi­nal com­pos­ite im­age is re­vealed on the cam­era screen, when the shut­ter closes.

“My method­ol­ogy is de­lib­er­ately rudi­men­tary and hap­haz­ard, pro­vid­ing lee­way for chance to in­ter­vene.

“Fab­ula Nex, is an ex­plo­ration of death. Ever since wit­ness­ing my own mother’s pass­ing 13 years ago, I have had a deep in­ter­est in the tran­si­tional mo­ment where flesh and spirit sep­a­rate and how that ephemeral yet real event leaves its trace on phys­i­cal form. There is also a fas­ci­na­tion for the ef­fects death has in the break­down of form over time in the process of de­cay.

“The an­i­mal sub­jects are pre- dom­i­nantly road kill, ex­cept for a fa­tal elec­tric­ity py­lon ac­ci­dent. In the high im­pact deaths at the agency of hu­mans, the violence has left its dev­as­ta­tion on a sen­tient crea­ture. Here is a record of wild an­i­mals whose ex­is­tence is fad­ing as hu­mans make cease­less, avari­cious in­cur­sions into their habi­tats.

“Sit­u­ated in myth­i­cal, ce­les­tial tableaux, each im­age is in­tended as a praise poem to the life of that an­i­mal.

There is rev­er­ence for ev­ery form, yet the re­minder that all form is ul­ti­mately empty is never far from my mind dur­ing creative ex­plo­rations.

“With each im­age is an ac­com- pa­ny­ing ‘fab­ula’ – a story or tale of how the de­ceased body was en­coun­tered or gifted to me.”

Ros­souw Mod­ern is at 3 Har­bour Road, Her­manus. The ex­hi­bi­tion opens next Fri­day at 5.30pm. For more in­for­ma­tion and to book for the walk­a­bouts, call 028 313 2222, email info@rossouw­mod­ern.com, or go to www.rossouw­mod­ern.com.

Sleep­ing in the cloud of know­ing and for­get­ting.

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