Jan van der Merwe

Jan van der Merwe, Leaks, 2019.jpg

Jan van der Merwe, Leaks, 2019

Installation approximately 3m x 1.3m x 1.3m

Found material, rusted metal, DVD player, digital monitor

Artist statement

The installation incorporates a steel cushion that is utilised in the mining industry. During the mining process, the cushion is placed between layers of rock. When in use, the steel cushion is filled with water. In case of a shift in the rock formation or structural instability, pressure causes the cushion to burst and the leaking water serves as a warning sign of imminent danger. In the installation Leaks such a burst and rusted steel cushion is suspended over a pile of rusted files, made of rusted metal, suggesting a metaphor for secret information or events becoming known.


Jan van der Merwe was born in 1958, in Virginia, Free State and grew up in Ladysmith, KwaZulu, Natal, where he matriculated in 1975. He lives and works in Pretoria and is senior lecturer in Fine Arts at the Department of Fine and Applied Art, Tshwane University of Technology. He has 32 years teaching experience􏰀 He obtained a master􏰁s degree in Fine Art at the Pretoria Technikon 􏰂now TUT􏰃 cum laude in 1999 and was awarded a D. Tech-degree (Fine Art) in 2018. His work is represented in a number of museums and corporate collections and has also won several awards among which a Medal of Honour for Visual Art (Installation) awarded by the South African Academy of Arts and Science in 2014. To date, he has shown his work in 18 solo exhibitions, he has taken part in 158 national group exhibitions and his work has been represented in 21 international group exhibitions. A selection of his artwork forms part of the art curriculum at secondary and tertiary institutions. In 2006 the Pretoria Art Museum hosted a comprehensive retrospective exhibition, entitled: The Archaeology of Time. In 2013 he presented a solo exhibition, Time and Space, at Oliewenhuis Art Museum, Bloemfontein for which he received a Fiesta Award. An extensive CV is available at art.co.za/janvandermerwe.

Awards as artist

1982: New Signatures, SA Association of Art, Pretoria

First prize, mixed media (van Schaik Award)

Merit prize, painting (Art Association Award)

1998: Kempton Park Tembisa fine art award, second prize

1999: Sasol Scifest 99, first prize: trip to Paris, sponsored by the French embassy, Institute for Research Development, Grahamstown. Competition theme: Art and Technology

2000: Kempton Park / Tembisa fine art award, second prize

2002: Chief festival artist, Hadeda Art Festival, Tzaneen

2003: Chief festival artist, Aardklop National Arts Festival, Potchefstroom

2003: IOC Olympic Art Competition, national winner, sculpture category,

prize: attendance at the senior Delphic games 2005

2004: Olympic Sport and Art Contest, international fourth prize, sculpture

category, diploma of recognition, prize-winning entry exhibited at the

Olympic Museum, Lausanne, Switzerland and then in Athens for display

during the Olympic Games, August 2004

2005: Represented South Africa as installation artist during the second International Delphic Games held in the city Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia. Received

special international Delphic award during this event for outstanding presentation in the discipline of art installation

Recipient of the national annual Helgaard Steyn Award awarded for outstanding sculpture for the installation Showcase, in the permanent collection of the Oliewenhuis Art Museum in Bloemfontein

2012: Recipient of the Ampersand award, administered by the Ampersand Foundation 􏰋two month residency in New York

2014: Fiesta 2014: best achievement visual art (Time and Space exhibition Oliewenhuis Art Museum

2014: Honourary medallion for visual art (installation art), South African Academy for Arts and Science

2017: Faculty Artistic Output of the Year (Senior), Faculty of the Arts, TUT