n Image & Text : a Journal for Design - The collector’s asylum : the politics of disposability in the work of Julia Rosa Clark

Volume 29 Number 1
  • ISSN : 1020-1491


The South African artist Julia Rosa Clark’s (2015) collage-based practice is driven by what she terms ‘traditions of improvised practice’ — haruspex or soothsaying for example — that enable the practitioner to conceptualise new connections between past and present. Tracing these traditions across Clark’s oeuvre in this article, I compare them with the German philosopher Walter Benjamin’s (2006) philosophy of history. Benjamin’s commitment to the destruction of tradition unearths a politics within Clark’s practice, just as her work opens avenues to consider Benjamin’s work as haunted by colonialism. I conclude the discussion by considering the implication of colonialism’s haunting for Clark’s post-apartheid practice.

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