Mareli Esterhuizen

Mareli Esterhuizen is a photographer inspired by the narrative potential of form, colour and texture. Her recent works exploit the tension created by juxtaposing objects from unusual contexts within scenes dominated by vibrant colour accents. Her working process is very intuitive. Ideas may be sketched before shooting begins but the final product is informed by a spontaneous, truthful and sensitive approach to subject.

Esterhuizen’s inspirations and formats often change but her clean, contemporary aesthetic remains a trademark of her work. She cites Nick Knight, Robert Frank and Christian Boltanski among her influences. She likes to respond to the unexpected moments in her creative process when creating new contexts for seemingly arbitrary objects or exploiting the awkwardness of the relationships that emerge in her theatrical photographic stage. Clear references to fashion photography are subverted in her compositions that through a harmony of form function as playful meditations on the visual relationships in everyday life.

Mareli Esterhuizen works in Cape Town at Salon91 as a co-curator and runs a small photographic school after hours called School of Light. She studied photography at NMMU in Port Elizabeth and held her debut exhibition at Dirt Contemporary as part of a residency programme. She has exhibited in numerous exhibitions both locally and abroad.




2020 - A Hazy Shade of Winter, group exhibition, Salon91, Cape Town. 2019 - Glen Carlou, group exhibition, Cape Town; Anon Pop-up Gallery, group exhibition, Cape Town; No-End Contemporary, group exhibition, Johannesburg; Regarding Winter, group exhibition, Salon91, Cape Town; Folklore, group exhibition, Salon91, Cape Town. 2018 - Trees Make Forests, group exhibition, Salon91, Cape Town; Turbine Artfair, Johannesburg. 2017 - Senyol Studios, group exhibition, Cape Town; ‘Trees Make Forests’ at Salon91; AVA Gallery, Cape Town. 2016 – Field Office, Cape Town. 2015 – Digital Display at the Louvre Gallery, Paris; ‘That Art Fair’ in Cape Town. 2011 – Salon91; Haas Collective, Cape Town. 2010 – ‘Paper Girl’ Woodstock Industrial Centre, Cape Town and Berlin; Irma Stern Gallery, Cape Town. 2009 – Labia Celebration Exchange, Cape Town. 2008 – Montage Gallery, Port Elizabeth. 2006 – ‘Kinderkunst’ at Whatiftheworld Gallery, Cape Town. 2005 – ‘Debut Show’ at Dirt Contemporary, Cape Town; Boekehuis, Johannesburg; AVA Gallery, Port Elizabeth; Sasol New Signatures, Pretoria; Greatmore Studios, Cape Town. 2004 – NYF Constantia, Cape Town. 2003 – Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Gallery, Port Elizabeth; EPSAC Gallery, Port Elizabeth. 2002 – Infinite Exhibition, Grahamstown.


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