Through a visual engagement with archival materials and ‘women’s work’, I consider the representation of women in archives and historical documents and employ thread to further probe and disrupt the art/craft divide. I use my creative practice as a methodology to visually stand-in for and illuminate questions around impermanence, fragility, conservation, heritage and preservation. My artistic process is situated in the space between chaos and control. The ink allows me to capture and reproduce aspects of the original photographs and documents that I use as reference material, yet it simultaneously evades the subject, keeping aspects of the image out of reach. The ink has been carefully selected because it ages and changes over time, it also bleeds into and disrupts the surface, creating a visual representation of the fragility and vulnerability of the original objects.
Dr Laura de Harde is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Pretoria. In 2019 De Harde completed her PhD in the discipline of History of Art at the University of the Witwatersrand. This event marked the culmination of five years of cross-continental research in archives and museums in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Germany. De Harde’s research also necessitated trekking through the southern African landscape in search of rock art shelters and other remote locales. Since completing her PhD, De Harde is extending the predominantly text-based research of her thesis and combining it with her own artistic practice. Over the course of her Postdoctoral Fellowship, she will be exploring archival materials housed at the University of Pretoria as well as the Ditsong: National Museum of Cultural History, with a specific interest in the presence of women in the archives. Her two-year Fellowship will culminate in a solo exhibition.
Web site: https://www.lauradeharde.com/