Abri de Swardt (b. 1988) is an artist, writer and educator based in Johannesburg. He holds a MFA in Fine Art from Goldsmiths, University of London and has shown his work at venues including Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; Forum des images, Paris; the National Gallery of Art, Vilnius; the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; POOL and The Centre for the Less Good Idea, Johannesburg; Kwazulu Natal Society of the Arts (KZNSA), Durban; and the IV Moscow International Biennale for Young Art, Moscow. In 2018 De Swardt completed a residency at Rupert, Vilnius, and is an upcoming artist-in-residence at Hordaland Kunstsenter, Bergen.
De Swardt’s practice addresses the pasts and futures of queerness and decoloniality. He uses an expanded notion of collage to register the compounding effects of history upon the body, while resisting the totalising inscriptions of photography. Working across the media of video, photography, sound, sculpture, and performance he develops what he calls an ‘aesthetics of drowning’ and the ‘sunstroke of voice’. De Swardt engages excess, touch, and the fluid indeterminacy of the nonhuman to situate the body as a porous network and living archive interpermeated by ecologies of time and place. His art is a form of temporal drag, slipping into occluded histories to halt misrecognition and disappearance, ultimately imagining what is not-yet-here.