FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
1 March 2022
Contact: Collin Sherriff
+27 73 369 3014
+27 21 833 9652
STELLENBOSCH, South Africa — Renowned South African land artist Strijdom van der Merwe has announced the “52 Collection” where for 52 consecutive weeks he will create a new land art installation. The works, in true Strijdom style, celebrate not only the South African landscape, but also views of nature from abroad. Van der Merwe has partnered with local technology firm Fanfire to capture permanent digital representations of his fleeting artworks.
Strijdom van der Merwe has gained global renown for his land art created with sand, water, wood, rocks, and stone. He speaks of how we relate to land, and he challenges our jadedness to the world around us.
“Nature is the art. I only imitate that which we have lost to see,” says Van der Merwe about the 52 Collection.
Land art is a difficult medium on which to build a sustainable career. Almost a decade ago, art specialist Jean le Clus-Theron wrote in Literator of Van der Merwe’s works that “if something can be called art, it can also be sold, even if it is an art form that seems ‘impossible’ to sell, such as land art”. She remarked that ‘impossible’ art forms may be made sustainable if it “avoided commercialism and rather explored ways of transcending conventional boundaries”. At the time Le Clus-Theron exemplified the artist’s book as a representation that could be sold without sacrificing to commercialism. With the 52 Collection Van der Merwe explores giving permanence to an art form that is inherently impermanent — using a digital artwork that may be sold as well.
For the 52 Collection, Strijdom van der Merwe will capture a still image of each installation and for some installations include moving media that documents the creation of the work, and the effects of daylight, weather and time as it transforms.
Each week, a single representation will be released as an original on the Fanfire platform (strijdom52.com). The full commercial rights to such a work (including reprint and online rights) will be available for purchase and ownership will be represented as non-fungible token (“NFT”). The ownership of the artwork can also be resold at any time, either on the Fanfire platform or platforms that enable the sale of NFTs. A significant advantage of the smart NFT technology, developed by Fanfire for the Strijdom project, is that a resale royalty will always flow back to the artist. The artist essentially obtains an annuity income stream and benefits from the appreciation in the value of their art in future.
The collection will launch on 31 March 2022 when the first four works will be displayed at the Rupert Museum in Stellenbosch. It will conclude with a gala event early in 2023 where a combined collection of 52 images, from the same localities as were released weekly in the preceding 52 weeks, will be revealed. The images will differ from the preceding images, either because they are framed differently, or captured at the different time, from the weekly released images before. The combined collection will be auctioned as a digital collection which will conclude at the gala event.
Through the 52 Collection, Van der Merwe seeks to present new ways of thinking about the permanence and ownership of art that is sometimes as ephemeral as a sunset.