kali van der merwe
In my photographic exploration, I am working with the most ethereal of substances – light. Light presupposes darkness. I work in the dark literally and figuratively. Consciousness is symbolised by the light, unconsciousness by darkness for it is unknown. In the moments of creation, which for me involve being alone, naked, in the dark, in front of an open camera shutter with a moveable light source in my hand, I free my mind from all thought and image. In this emptied space, I am able to tap into the deeper strata of being. I find myself in a collective reservoir of human imagination, a place of universal mythology - the collective unconscious. It is from this place that these images emerge. From the dark these ancient archetypes come to light through my contemporary self. I search for intersections where personal meets primal, individual becomes archetypal, human touches divine.
I present myself as subject matter, yet am the agent of the image as well. I am insider and outsider, documenter and participator. Occupying this place of paradox is intrinsic to the work. It creates dynamic tension as I search for balance in the contradiction. More importantly I present femaleness with authorial authenticity, free from the gaze of the other.
The images are created directly in camera with long exposures. There is no postproduction involved. During these extended moments, I locate myself and objects in a spatial framework allowing overlapping layers to dialogue with each other. A scenario emerges composed with elements of chance, light, space and time.
I deliberately choose nakedness for myself. Any item of clothing carries multiple cultural layers and references. I am in search of the primal. I incorporate my body, yet I do so to transcend personal identity and material structure. It is essential underlying energy forms that concern me.
Freeing photography from its representational role, it can speak to deeper truths. As Paul Klee wrote in his Creative Credo, “Art does not reproduce the visible; rather, it makes visible.”
all rights reserved © Kali van der Merwe
site designed by kaligraphics