by Strijdom van der Merwe at Arts on Main

Sculpting the Land

WHERE:           The NIROXprojects, ARTS ON MAIN,

WHEN:             11  FEBRUARY – 28 FEBRUARY 2010
TIME:               16h00 TO 20h00

Strjidom van der Merwe, South Africa’s foremost land artist mounts his latest body of work at NIROXprojects at Arts on Main. The exhibition opens on 11 February 2010 at 18h00.

Entitled Sculpting the Land, this body of work is based on his recent residency at the Sylt Foundation kunst: raum Sylt-Quelle on the Island of Sylt, Northern Germany.

As a land artist he often uses the materials provided by the chosen site. His sculptural forms take shape in relation to the landscape. It is a process of working with the natural world, using sand, water, wood, rocks etc. He shapes these elements into geometrical forms that dialogue with their environment, continually changing until their final probable destruction.

The island of Sylt is bordered by the Wadden Sea (between the mainland and the island), and on the other side, the North Sea which stretches into infinity. The island is pristine with a wild beauty, often buffeted by angry storms, rains and winds and during the summer season popular with nudists!

Says van der Merwe, “I observe the fragility of beauty, while not lamenting its passing. What remains is a photographic image, a fragment of the imagination. While a visual record is materially all that is left, it is also a reminder of the capacity, however feeble, of an individual to alter the universe by embracing the ceaseless changing of nature.”

Images of these temporary installations will be seen at this exhibition.
The work on this exhibition was inspired by the unfamiliar landscape van der Merwe encountered on his walks around the island and the discovery of the creative processes that emerged when he confronted this new landscape.

His residency was undertaken in 2009 at the invitation of Foundation Director Indra Wussow. The Sylt Foundation runs a residency programme with a strong focus on Southern African artists. It’s ‘sister’ organisation, jozi: art Lab is based in Johannesburg. The Sylt Foundation offers international multi-disciplinary artists, performers and writers the opportunity to come together and work in a quiet, environment which stimulates creative conversations and the exchange of ideas. It provides a valuable cultural experience.

Wussow presents van der Merwe’s Sculpting the Land in association with NIROXprojects under the NIROX Foundation, situated in the Cradle to the north of Johannesburg. Van der Merwe completed a residency at NIROX prior to travelling to Sylt.

The exhibition will be opened by the Beeld art critic Johann Myburg. At the opening the poet Charl-Pierre Naude, who also undertook a residency at the Sylt Foundation in 2009, will present a short piece of his work.

The gallery is open from 10am to 4pm each day except Mondays and will close on Sundays at 2pm.