Berni Searle



This monograph is published jointly by Michael Stevenson, the University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum and Johannesburg Art Gallery, and accompanied exhibitions at the three galleries in 2006/7. The beautifully designed book includes essays by Gabeba Baderoon, Clive Kellner and Laurie Ann Farrell and numerous images of Searle's work from the Colour Me series (1998) through to Night Fall (2006).

September 2006 | Hardcover, 112 pages
Available from Michael Stevenson Gallery

About to forget

The moment in which one is 'about to forget' is also the moment in which one remembers. As the title of Berni Searle's exhibition and this accompanying volume suggest, this work looks at the intermediate space of memory where a sense of return and a sense of loss are simultaneously invoked. The process of forgetting entwines both the presence and absence of memory, and, in between, a series of gradually fading after-images of people and events that linger in the mind. This catalogue illustrates the exhibition, provides photographs of the process of making the work and images of source material.

Michael Stevenson catalogue no 14, May 2005 | Softcover, 36pgs
Obtainable from Michael Stevenson Gallery


The Fresh residency and research project saw seven young South African artists, including Berni Searle, participating in month-long residencies at the South African National Gallery. Fresh was funded by the Prince Bernhard Cultural Fund through an award made to Marlene Dumas. The objectives of the project were to support the development of young South African artists who had captured international attention or were just emerging on the local scene.

During her Fresh residency, Searle seized the opportunity to shift attention away from her own body, previously a major locus of investigation, towards investigating the lives and histories of relatives in order to piece together strands of a complex heritage that is simultaneously unique and typical of many citizens at the Cape.

Searle's Fresh catalogue features an essay by Annie Coombes titled 'Memories are Made of This'.

210 x 150mm, 32 pages, soft cover
Obtainable from Iziko: South African National Gallery


Published to coincide with Berni Searle's 2003 Standard Bank Young Artist exhibition, this monograph features an in-depth essay by Johannesburg-based academic Rory Bester and generous reproductions of Searle's major bodies of work from the Colour me and Discoloured series through to the video Home and away (2003). Bester's essay explores the relationship between fantasy and reality in Searle's visual narratives, and the ways in which she uses the racialised and gendered concepts of both her body and the body politic to stage these narrative identities.

230 x 310mm, 72 pages, soft cover
Obtainable from Michael Stevenson Gallery


Berni Searle's Vapour catalogue documents a body of work that was shot on location on the Cape Flats and inspired by the Eid tradition of cooking in large pots over open fires. This event is a point of departure for Searle's exploration of notions of collectiveness and community. By replacing food with water, the work is set up as performative and through it Searle explores the significance of the ritual but also of her own memories. Creating vapour, from which the exhibition draws its title, requires a huge amount of pressure or heat that builds up over a period of time, but once created dissipates into air and is difficult to capture. The catalogue includes an interview with Searle by Michael Stevenson (click here to read).

Obtainable from Michael Stevenson Gallery