Chrisél van der Merwe was born in 1994 in South Africa. She received her BA Fine Arts degree from the University of Pretoria in 2016. Van der Merwe was selected as a Sasol New Signatures finalist in 2016 and 2017. In 2017 she was chosen to participate in the Assemblage Peer Mentoring Program and the RMB Talent Unlocked exhibition at the Turbine Art Fair. Hereafter she continued to showcase her work in multiple group shows around South Africa where her work has become part of various national and international collections. In 2018 she participated in the group exhibitions ‘Talking to Deaf Ears’ and ‘Unsettled’ at ABSA Art Gallery in Johannesburg. She had a solo exhibition titled ‘Architectus Konstruksie’ the 2018 Klein Karoo Nationale Kunstefees (KKNK) in the Western Cape. Her next solo show, ‘Under Construction’, will take place in July 2018 at Assemblage in Braamfontein, Johannesburg.
Van der Merwe uses the medium of experimental printmaking, sculpture and installation to create an archive of her explorations of the city of Johannesburg. The copper plates are engraved by the forces applied to it on construction sites – spaces that show the changing nature of the city. Almost as innocent bystanders, the plates capture the energy, memory and history of the city in a specific place and time. In this fluent urban context, renewal and erosion are the concurrent themes in her artistic practice. Van der Merwe embraces the masculine materiality and space associated with the construction-site and reform them with her own feminist view, subtly referencing the gender politics of urban space