kali van der merwe

B-r-o-k-e  W-h-o-l-e

the labor-oratory of Dr. Kali

 Read article: Art meets science, taxidermy and magic by Dr. Danny Shorkend

B-r-o-k-e  W-h-o-l-e

the labor-oratory of Dr. Kali


I work across disciplines, using photography, taxidermy sculpture, video, touch installations and text to create experiences that appeal to multiple senses.


As artist, I play 'demi-god', arranging my mise-en-scène in a theatre of interacting form on the vast stage of the visible universe.


On the surface is the broken, scarred, partially decayed state of things. Beneath the surface is an invisible, deeper unity of all things including ourselves. Wholeness is never static, or final but in  a continual state of re-balancing.


Time pulls everything apart. All form will end in fragmentation. There is human hubris in trying to hold things together, to re-arrange and re-animate them. Yet I choose to continue gathering up the decayed, eroded, depleted, dried-up, shattered, scattered fragments of what is left of the natural world, making them bit players in my 'thanaturgical tableaux'.


In the initial creative process, I play the role of the observer. On completion, I become the observed. I fuse my personal history with natural history.


If I seem to bestow any illusory power over death in my work, it is to honour life in all its mind expanding multiplicity.


In my collaged 'death-dioramas', chance meetings, strange contortions, couplings, conjunctions and fusions take place. The scenarios conjure up deathly beauty, the miraculous, ecstatic, deformed, hybrid and at times, the monstrous.


I never take life in my creative endeavours. All life is sacred to me. My subject matter arrives  serendipitously, often via gifts and tragically at times from the wheel of a negligent driver as roadkill.


Death of the old makes space and is sustenance for the new.


Death is to be welcomed and honoured for it is an integral part of the intelligent whole.

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

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