The energy of Larita Engelbrecht’s works is generated through friction: the South African artist confronts intuitively selected objects with one another, triggering association chains, disrupting visual habits and shifting perspectives.
Engelbrecht’s African Mash-up collage emerged after perusing large coffee- table books on South African art, and experiencing African art as being almost exclusively classified according to western criteria. In the collage, the artist transgresses conventional art catalogue aesthetics, combining traditional art objects – African masks – with objects of daily use. Taking these masks out of their usual aesthetic context and related western classification is also a political act, particularly when looked at against the background of South African history, which Engelbrecht tackles in a highly self-reflective manner. Speaking Afrikaans and educated in a British context, the artist is familiar with western art categorization. However, Engelbrecht believes it is “necessary to explore African art heritage from a perspective that is decoupled from the Eurocentric knowledge system.”