Berni Searle's major retrospective Having but little Gold at the Norval Foundation brings together the artist's pivotal lens-based media works from the past 20 years, as well as a new commission in the atrium.
This exhibition includes early photographs and videos that utilized Searle’s naked body, coloured with spices and stained with black Egyptian henna. These works explored issues of self-representation against the cultural and political landscape of the newly democratic South Africa. The artist then extends her concerns with Self, to examine the relationship between personal and collective identities, by looking at aspects of family, ancestry and heritage. This is followed by an ever-widening focus on migration, displacement, and the South African body politic. The last part of the exhibition considers the significance of gold as a thematic visual thread that unify works produced in recent years.
Searle's artistic language is one of dense palimpsest: works contain multiple layers of meaning that are overwritten by contemporary life stories and experiences so that surfaces require to be excavated and mined, yielding multiple narratives that tap into collective experiences of loss, vulnerability and resilience.
The exhibition will be open from 15 February – 13 November 2023.
More information here.