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11m 5s


Marguerite Kirsten



AdriftMarguerite Kirsten
00:00 / 01:04

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Artist Statement


I am using my personal experience of struggling with a life-long disease to portray the emotion of feeling adrift and disconnected. We use sleeping as a way to detach from our real-world problems and yet our dreams are influenced by the activities of our daily lives. It is in our dreams that our true feeling float to the surface and confront our subconscious minds.
Blood and water are significant symbols in the dreamworld. To be adrift and ponder on the notions of blood and water can be quite disturbing, but the underlining interpretation is that of vitality, energy and the connection to deep primal emotions.
Kidneys filter blood and water, and it is my physical inability to filter the waste from these fluids that makes me feel disconnected, adrift and lethargic. I am exploring my own desire to disconnect from my own body and mind, and escape the wafting thoughts that consume my time.

Artist Bio

Marguerite Kirsten

1995 . South Africa

Marguerite Kirsten was born in Cape Town, South Africa. She obtained her Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2017 and has recently received her Masters in Visual Arts at the Stellenbosch University.
A fundamental theme in Kirsten’s work is the nature of the body, specifically concerned with issues surrounding the diseased body. She tries to express both of these elements through her art, and finds the medium of installation to be a perfect reflection for how uncomfortable something so natural, as the body, can make us feel when under attack by disease. Her process is inspired by her own personal experience with a diseased body. The materials she uses in her art installations, such as, various body fluids (urine, blood and intravenous fluids) represent the ephemeral nature of her own body and therefore, the materials over time decay and remind the viewer of their own visceral flesh.
She was the overall winner of the 2018 Absa L’ Atelier Competition. Marguerite won this award with her 2017 installation, Embodiment. In 2019 the artist spent 6 months in Paris, in residence at the Cite International des Arts. It was here where she started developing her body of work for her solo exhibition, Dignifying the Diseased Body, which opened in 2020 as Absa Gallery’s first virtual exhibition.
Kirsten is continuously researching the body and experimenting with installation methods to create a space where perception of a diseased body is altered to reflect beauty. A statement by John Constable is at the core of Kirsten’s work, “there is nothing ugly; I never saw an ugly thing in my life: for let the form of an object be what it may - light shade and perspective will always make it beautiful.”

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