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Strijdom van der Merwe


Strijdom van der Merwe studied art at the Universities of Stellenbosch, South Africa, Hooge School Voor de Kunste, Utrecht, Holland. The Academy of Art and Architecture Praha the Czech Republic and the Kent Institute of Art and Design Canterbury, England. He is the recipient of the Jackson Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant and Medal of Honor from the South African Academy of Arts and Science. As a land artist in general he 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 participate with their environment, continually changing until their final probable destruction. He observes 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 hat is left, he also leaves us a reminder of the capacity, however feeble, of an individual to alter the universe by embracing the ceaseless changing of nature, actively contributing to it and, in so doing, modulating and beautifying the outcome.


Title Sculpting the Land, Sylt, Germany 2009
Medium Land art
Dimensions A3
Edition Edition of 8
Price R30 000-00 excl vat , gallery com, etc.


Documentation of the work done during a three-week residency at the island Sylt, Germany.


My first impression was how this unknown landscape would change my way of looking at nature and how it would influence my creative process. From the start I was confronted by natural elements that were new to me. These natural processes immediately opened my eyes to experience nature as I haven’t seen before. As an artist and an individual it is always the discovery of the unknown processes within myself that emerge when I am placed into a new landscape.


It took me several days to walk the island before I started to get a feel of the landscape and its natural processes of tides, wind, seasons, and so forth.


The work that I produced during my stay at Sylt could only be done for that landscape at it is site specific towards that experience. The discovery of that landscape, its textures and colours, were the reason for the creative output that I experienced during my residency.