METZ.- Berni Searle
works with lens-based mediaphotography, video, and film to stage narratives connected to history, memory, and place. While her work is intertwined with South African history that has emerged from a life apart (apartheid), her poetic and abstract imagery transcends the specific to address ideas about belonging and displacement in various contexts. The exhibition is on view from May 20th until September 18th, 2011 at Frac Lorraine, Metz, France.
She questions tirelessly the self and the other, examining the elements of her own identity shaped by successive cross-fertilizations: a composite identity based on creolization―a notion dear to Edouard Glissants heart. Begun in the early 1990s, Searles work (installations, videos, and photographs) is poetically political. Nourished by personal mythologies, it questions memories and memory (About to forget, 2005), underscoring the dynamics of human relations, the dissolution of family ties, and the arbitrary character of racial, religious, and gender categories.
Searle often works with her own body, upon which experiences and memories are inscribed and expressed (Snow White, 2001; Mute, 2008). Violence and suffering are rarely shown outright. Rather, they burst forth from the sumptuous image whose lyrical and esthetic qualities are imbued with dramatic intensity (Vapour, 2004; Moonlight, 2010).
Without ever slipping into pathos, Berni Searle creates a polysemic, disturbing, intimately personal, and profoundly universal work――an ode to humanity in which everyone is what she or he has built.
Berni Searle was born in 1964 in Cape Town, South Africa, where she continues to live and work. She graduated from the Cape Town University in 1995. Since 1999, her work has been featured in numerous solo and collective exhibitions in South Africa, the U.S., and Europe, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Venice Biennales of 2001 and 2005.