Association for Contemporary Art

Carla Swerts / Woestijngetijden


Carla Swerts, desert flowers, 2014Carla Swerts, Seismic Observation #1, 2014

Carla Swerts’ work is strongly influenced by her experiences in the Middle East. We associate the region with war atrocities, suppression and terror, but these are no key elements in Swerts’ artistic research. Instead, she focuses on sensory impressions that aim to nuance the western view on the Middle East. The unexpected beauty she encounters is translated into images that are often abstractions of physical impressions rather than realistic renderings of a specific location. Although explicit violence is not directly shown and an aestheticizing response to her surroundings has the upper hand, there is a continuous tension sensible. Frozen images are nothing more than intervals in an ongoing sandstorm. Wind carries plastic waste away deep into the desert, where it hitches on barbed wire or withered desert vegetation. This dynamic is also visible in Swerts’ abstract drawings. Present and past blend in the sand, time loses its linear course and becomes tide. The tides of the sea define the swell of the desert as well.

In this expo a selection of Swerts’ work that focuses on these themes, is brought together. Drawings are finds that are recorded with archaeological precision, or sometimes subject to abstraction, like a memory that is reduced to its contours.