Adele van Heerden is an artist and curator working in direct response to historical objects that define her current social and political reality. Her practice confronts the past by interrogating its visual cultural legacy and encouraging a new engagement with inherited ideologies. She gently deconstructs the symbolism of masculine and nationalist identities in objects such as toy soldiers and public monuments by re-imaging them layered within bouquets of flowers.
Van Heerden works in multi-layered ink drawings and gouache on drafting film. In the final compositions the tactile layering of images challenges a viewer’s visual surety. This reflects van Heerden’s interest in deconstructing historical ideologies. The domestic and memorial symbolism of flowers reflects back on the function of historical objects as sites of memory. Van Heerden’s juxtaposition of the traditionally feminine and personal act of laying flowers at the graveside with the traditionally masculine and nationalistic construction (or in recent cases destruction) of political bronze public statues encourages a dialogue between personal and political approaches to memory. Each work functions as a complex socio-political memento mori, reflecting on a contemporary reality crafted by the past.
Van Heerden graduated from the Ruth Prowse school of Art furthering her studies at the University of Cape Town where she obtained a BA in History and Politics and an Honours Degree in Curatorship. She currently works as an artistand consultant curator.
Selected Exhibitions: 2018 – ‘In Memoriam’ (solo) at AVA Galleries, Cape Town. 2017 – ‘Dialogues’ at State of the Art, Cape Town; ‘Ars Gratia Artis’ and ‘Angel Exhibition’ at The Gallery at Grand Provence, Franschoek; ‘Winter Exhibition’ at DF Contemporary, Cape Town; ‘Monumxnts’ at The Gallery @ Taj, Cape Town. 2016 – ‘Mono/Lino’ at Art B., Belville; 50/50 at DF Contemporary, Cape Town; ‘Vanitas’ and ‘Untitled 3.99’ at 99 Loop Gallery, Cape Town. 2015 – ‘Persistence of Memory and Cabinet of Curiosities’ at Untitled Studios, Cape Town; ‘Drawing the Line’ at Art B., Belville; ‘Welcome to my Garden’ at Space Between Gallery, Cape Town. 2014 – ‘Golden Haze’ at Salon91; ‘NSFW’ at Studio 41, Cape Town. 2013 – ‘Anatomy for Life’, group exhibition, Brighton, U.K.