Book title: Sculpting the land
Author: Strijdom van der Merwe
Publisher: Protea Boekhuis
Pretoria, South Africa 2005
Hardcover, 24x23 cm, 133 pages, throughout illustrated, English
The art of Strijdom van der Merwe lives only in his memory and in the photographs he takes of his transient creations before they fade, are blown, or washed away. He has made the vast outdoors his canvas, seeing possibilities in the patterns of the earth and its seasons. His media is nature itself.
Strijdom uses the materials provided by the sites he chooses. His sculptural forms take shape in relation to the landscape. It is a process of working with the natural world, using sand, water, wood, rocks, taking into account the diversity of possibilities and development offered by the reflection of the sun and the movements of the wind.
He observes the fragility of beauty, while not lamenting its passing, he acknowledges the poignancy and pathos in its transience. What remains is a photographic image, a fragment of the imagination. While a visual record is materially all that is left, Van der Merwe also leaves us a reminder of the capacity, however feeble, of an individual to alter the universe by embracing the ceaseless changing of nature, actively contributing to it and, in so doing, modulating and beautifying the outcome.