Sweet and Sour by Kate van der Drift

Sweet and Sour

Kate van der Drift

20 April to 16 May 2021

Kate van der Drift's new series Sweet and Sour continues her inquiry into the fragile ecology and transformation of the Hauraki Plains - a landscape that has been entirely transformed due to colonisation and industrialisation.   Forested, low-lying wetlands have been burned off, drained and cultivated into today’s lattice of paddocks, intersected by waterways contaminated with farm run-off.   

Site-specific camera-less ‘river exposures’ on large format film are created by placing unexposed colour negatives in the Piako river’s tributaries for a period between two and four weeks.  A durational accretion, created by the action of water and reaction with its chemical compounds.  Pollution, sediment and nutrients from surrounding land use mix with organic matter and microorganisms producing clouds of vivid alchemical reactions. The sensitive photographic surface is colonised by the Piako’s unique mix of elements, algae and bacteria.  

Working with a process-led research approach as unfolding enquiry. Moon connected, intuitive, visceral and open to the unseen. This body of work is motivated by the artist's desire to create a physical image of the chemical makeup of the river and sits within a rich, historical tradition of cameraless artists working with light-sensitive material in dialogue with time.



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