Sarel Petrus | Leaving, Installation – Wood and pencils, Approx. 400 x 200 x 70 cm, Unique, 2016

Sarel Petrus | Leaving, Installation – Wood and pencils, Approx. 400 x 200 x 70 cm, Unique, 2016


27 october – 26 november 2016

Fried Contemporary is pleased to present a solo exhibition of wood sculpture by sarel petrus




Sarel Petrus lives and works in Pretoria and has exhibited in many group exhibitions across South-Africa in the last twelve years.

He frequently travels to cities and to isolated places. In addition, he allows himself journeys of the mind into the strange relationship between traditional and throw-away-culture and what is left of nature as humans and other species ght for existence. City and town dwellers, largely cut off from natural continuity and natural spaces, are mostly unaware of what they leave behind wherever

they go. But human existence and the natural environment are linked through timeless, hidden convergences of what we lack and what we have in surfeit. In his work, Sarel refers to an obscure past to imagine a new voice for the abstract realities of objects.

Talisman is de ned as, “an object held to act as a charm to avert evil and bring good fortune”

Sculptor, Sarel Petrus (b. 1977) lives and works in Pretoria. He has exhibited in many exhibitions across South Africa since obtaining a Fine Art degree at the Tshwane University of Technology in 2002. Petrus was a top 10 nalist in the 2007 ABSA La’telier and was awarded the Sculpture Merit Award at the 2014 Thami Mnyele Fine Art Awards.

For Sarel Petrus, his works are trophies dedicated to others: their lives and their histories re ected in his own. This is why he is intrigued by and often works with salvaged material. There are existing obscure histories found in empty tortoise shells, the feather of an eagle, pieces of wood cut for other purposes, scraps of metal, rain gauges or mile stones next to a road that make for great tales. However, what is important to Petrus, is rather the space inside the tortoise shell, bringing awareness of a life that had been lived and at the same time providing space for a new reality.

In creating a bird, for example, nothing is cut or reworked, even the dowels for putting it together are implemented as they were found. The story of the wood used for the bird (which might later be cast in bronze) regains the mystery of unknown stories. Birds are ambiguously symbolic and a frequent object of his sculptures, perched on objects to take the imagination over unknowable distances.

– Reneé Conradie, 2016.