"United Colors", 2002
Silver-gelatin prints on resin-coated paper framed in wooden frames behind glass, military ribbons, book, printed and bound.
Installation dimensions variable.
Installation destroyed in a fire.
2002: BIG TORINO 2002, 2nd International Biennial of Young Art, Turin.
With this installation the artist won the BIG TORINO 2002 Prize.
The installation United Colors combines a line of beautifully coloured ribbons - which are, in fact, commemorative war-ribbons - with12 black-and-white Benetton-like portraits, and a book with text about the history of the ribbons. Says Van der Merwe, “I would like to draw the viewer’s critical attention to questions relating to a world history of violence, domination and exploitation and that of a current emerging ‘global economy’. Furthermore, the kind of images produced by the mass media and advertising in promoting it’s products to a ‘global market’. Also, the kind of identities produced and created by such an industry. I see myself as part of a younger generation of people faced with such questions and having to negotiate between a history fraught with political struggle, violence and injustices and thinking about the kind of identities and morals we would, and could, assume in this particular moment.”