Exemplifying the Ethereal

  • projected photograph
  • pencil drawing
  • Somerset velvet paper
  • 58,5 x 53,5 cm
  • sold as 1/3 printed images with hand drawing overlay (dimensions may vary)

Exemplifying the ethereal

In this work the viewer is invited to step into a small white cubicle fronted by a black curtain, resembling a photo booth. Once inside, the image appears to be floating in the darkness. A drawing of a young girl in a bathtub is backed by a projection of her surroundings. Based on a personal memory, the work creates a sense of confusion between the real and imagined. Intricate mark-making reveals the complexity of memory and its influence on our present state of being. The combination of photography and drawing results in an evocative product that highlights the psychology of seeing. Our surroundings are a reflection of that which is harboured internally.

Artist statement

Slowly, grief tires and sleeps, but never dies. In time it grows used to its prison, and a relationship of respect develops between prisoner and jailer. – Josephine Hart, Damaged

In my work I question ‘real’ in photographs as well as in our memories. Most photographs are constructed, staged- 'Photoshopped realities’, as we are accustomed to now. We have come to let go of the assumption that photographs depict reality. 

Exemplifying the ethereal illustrates the way memories are perceived, through uneasy ‘staged’ confrontations with own memories. Through the unclear way I integrate the drawing, I urge the viewer to remember that the very quality of our own memories are clouded by the memories of others. Reflection can be damaging, in our ability to shape and alter the memory in ways both beneficial and destructive, as Josephine Hart writes in Sin: Memory is never pure. And recollection is always coloured by the life lived since.

I bring to the surface the subject of time, its passing, and the traces it leaves; the memories that remain when we close our eyes on the past. The activity of drawing is, for me, a way of trying to understand who I am. I believe photographs to be great instruments of memory, affirming past existence and at the same time, in their two-dimensionality, suggest their overwhelming distance.

I urge the viewer to question what the ‘true' reality is in my photographs. Is it my drawings or photographs that represent the ‘imagined reality’ and which represents the ‘true' reality in my work.

About the Artist

Van Rensburg graduated from the Stellenbosch Academy of Design and Photography, 2013 and is currently pursuing an Honours degree in illustration.

After matriculating in 2007,  Van Rensburg studied psychology and philosophy at Stellenbosch University for a year, where she discovered that although fascinated by the content of these subjects, she was driven to work on a more creative and practical level. Van Rensburg chose to explore Fine Art photography as an avenue that allowed her to incorporate these ideas and remain involved in the research.

"I have surprised myself many a time with the direction that my interests have taken me, and have brought me thus far to developing my talent as a conceptual multi-media artist. Due to my previous and current endeavours in the realm of psychology and philosophy, as well as my love for multiple mediums such as drawing and photography, I have begun the intriguing process of learning  to incorporate these talents into my work."