09 Sep Kali van der Merwe – Rossouw Modern SPACE – 7 – 24 October 2016
My artistic explorations take place in the dark, using the night as my exploratory darkroom. 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 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 predominantly 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 accompanying Fabula, a story or tale of how the deceased body was encountered or gifted to me. Are our realities not constructed of an accumulation of stories we tell ourselves individually and collectively?
The Latin Fabula also refers to a matter, a concern or subject under discussion. The word matter originates from the Latin Mater (mother) and is the origin of our word material. So embedded in the very etymology of the word for the stuff of existence is storytelling and the feminine.
Nex means blood of the slain, murder, slaughter, violent death. Latin has 27 different words for death and 33 words for kill, which suggests acquaintance with violence but also familiarity with and nuanced exploration of death that we no longer have.
Now more than ever we are staring into the face of death, a collective potential suicide in extinction by our own hand.
If we look close and deep enough we might see our own fate in the clouded, shrunken eyes and bloody mouths of these subjects.