kali van der merwe

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 read article on Cape Times by Orielle Berry

AfTeR LiFe

an aperture to the mysteries of life through the lens of death

 

view images of AfTeR liFe opening

 

Known and Unknown 2018

glass, wood, wax, bones, bird, plant, reptile,

insect, kelp specimens

34 x 34 x 58cm

In and Out of Existence 2018

glass, wood, wax, bones, insect, fish, bird,

reptile specimens, buck scat

34 x 34 x 53cm

Tardigrades Post Hoc  2018

glass, wood, wax, bones, plant,

crustacean, kelp specimens

30 x 30 x 44cm

Probing Fissures in Time and Reason  2018

archival inks on cotton rag paper  73 x 73cm

Edition 1/9 + 2 AP

Mysterium Fascinans  2018

archival inks on cotton rag paper  73 x 73cm

Edition 1/9 + 2 AP

Mysterium Fascinans  2018

archival inks on cotton rag paper  73 x 73cm

Edition 1/9 + 2 AP

Emerging from the Unknown  2018

archival inks on cotton rag paper  73 x 73cm

Edition 1/9 + 2 AP

Lithops Dialogues in the Diaspora  2018

archival inks on cotton rag paper  73 x 73cm

Edition 1/9 + 2 AP

Dark Twin, Dragonfly 44  2018

archival inks on cotton rag paper  73 x 73cm

Edition 1/9 + 2 AP

Excursions to Unspecified Destinations  2018

archival inks on cotton rag paper  73 x 73cm

Edition 1/9 + 2 AP

Call of the Void  2018

archival inks on cotton rag paper73 x 73cm

Edition 1/9 + 2 AP

AfTeR LiFe exhibition, Iziko South African Museum. photo credit: Niels Bastiaansen

AfTeR LiFe exhibition, Iziko South African Museum. photo credit: Niels Bastiaansen

AfTeR LiFe

 

an aperture to the mysteries of life through the lens of death

 

This exhibition speaks to a re-interpretation of the museum specimen guided by plays of my imagination rather than organised by any systematic reasoning.

 

My photographic explorations take place in the dark, with the night as my darkroom. I blur boundaries between painting and photography using long exposures and a technique termed ‘light painting’. This enables my image creation to extend beyond  the instant of a click and become an encounter that takes place over a period of time.

 

I use a moveable light source to explore the external structure of inert, mostly deceased form, in the hope of capturing an elusive “essence of being”. I situate my individual photographs in imagined scenarios that unfold within celestial vistas of galaxies (courtesy of the Hubble telescope). I navigate balances between the minuscule and cosmic, reality and theatricality.

 

My three dimensional art works are phantasmic, hybrid life forms composed of bones, insects, plant material, excreta and sections of animal corpses. The various elements are preserved and put together with alternative methods of taxidermy I have developed. In this endeavour I am re-imagining and re-imaging alternate paths that evolution could have taken.

 

Enacting my “God power in this world”, (mythologist Joseph Campbell’s description of creativity), I re-animate road kill victims into perpetual motion films in honour of their lives and mourn their senseless deaths.

 

This “Theatre of the Deceased”, is the meeting place of the ordinary, the sublime, the unlikely and the impossible.

 

Photography, sculpture, video, animation, text, taxidermy, soundscapes and olfactory art offset each other in an immersive, interactive, tactile environment intended to stimulate wonder, curiosity and deeper connection to the creatures and plants we share our existence with. The natural world, robust, but in fragile balance, is incredibly vulnerable to human lifestyles and cultural projections.

 

My fundamental search is for the ever metamorphosing unity present in all life.

 

I do not harm or kill in my creative process. Flowers are ethically picked or received, insects, are serendipitous finds and animals are mostly victims of road kill.

Contributors to the exhibition:

 

ArtLab, Iziko Museums of South Africa, ORMS, Suzi Holtzhausen of Salt Coast Fine Foods and Inn, Rupert Koopman from Cape Nature, Gerhard van Deventer from Sandberg Fynbos Reserve, many, many dear friends who supplied found specimens and alerted me to roadkill

 

 

all images are available in limited edition prints. contact: Kali

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