Palimpsest | Marelise van Wyk
The sea, from the creatures and particles it holds to the ships it carries, has impacted the lives of people on the shores of the Cape for generations. In Palimpsest, Marelise Van Wyk invites a reconsidering of the objects and histories washed ashore, as a palimpsest that contains the traces of different and varied narratives. Although the histories of South Africa may have been rephrased, overlooked, denied and re-interpreted many times, objects and artefacts witness and bear the marks of times passing. Through the layers of impact and interaction a palimpsest is created.
South African history is marked with layers upon layers, lingering and visible across the eras. Although the histories of South Africa may have been rephrased, overlooked, denied and re-interpreted many times, objects and artefacts can and will provide us with evidence of what has been, with traces of the previous and the layers of time that have followed.
In this exhibition, the word palimpsest is used as a vehicle to understand the multi-layered nature of South African history and culture. Van Wyk engages with the recurring and cyclical rewriting of South African history and culture through available artefacts and the layers of interpretation they present. Through this mode, it becomes evident that voices from the past can form a combined melody when history is interpreted with patience and interconnected sensitivity.
Van Wyk explains, “I am inspired by textures that are formed by erosion, corrosion and disintegration in nature as a result of the passing of time. In my artworks therefore, there are references to erosion, destruction, excavation. Through the use of imagery referring to historical structures, fossils, organic materials and strata, I attempt to relate to the paradox of expanding into the past”.
Gerrit Loots and Marelise van Wyk – edited by Clare Patrick