Based in Johannesburg, South Africa, artist and sculptor Regardt Van Der Meulen molds deconstructed—seemingly deteriorating—metal sculptures. His fragmented steel creations, at once firm yet fragile, play with themes of “time, memory, and mortality.” These figures, plagued by decay, are ironic manifestations of the vulnerability and ephemerality of human life. Though crafted from a material of durable strength and longevity, these disintegrating forms seem as though they could be carried away by the elements—there one second and gone the next.
“Steel is such a versatile material,” Van Der Meulen tells My Modern Met. “It has a great ability to not only capture strength but also a sense of movement and fragility. In its natural state, it will rust and erode away which fits in perfectly with the theory of my work.”
The nature of the themes and images associated with Van Der Meulen’s sculptures inherently forces a sense of introspection within the viewer. Faced with the sinister beauty of these eroding likenesses of the human form, they must also confront their own impermanence. The artist has always been drawn to engage with these types of concepts in his work.
“I have always been fascinated by the interconnectedness of time and memory and how it forms part of and influences our metaphysical world,” the artist continues. “From the moment we are born until death, we are constantly creating and storing memories. But as time goes by, our memories and physical bodies will change or completely fade away. It is these contradictions and fleetingness of beauty which I find interesting.”