Born in Bloemfontein, South Africa, in 1986, Larita Engelbrecht lives and works in Cape Town.
For the past seven years, Engelbrecht has been exploring various art-making practices, most notably collage and felt-making. Ranging from a felted soft-sculpture skull (Memento Mori I), to a large-scale collage of over two-hundred frolicking nude figures in a contemporary reference to Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights (Saturated Spectacle), Engelbrecht’s early work explores themes of excess and materiality. Since then, she has been expanding her paper-based practice to include paper sculpture (Aardskyf), as well as her own abstract drawings (Metacollage).
From her collection of old books and magazines, Engelbrecht intuitively selects images for the purpose of combining disparate images into unexpected compositions. Coaxed by the surrealists of the early 20th century, these pictorial juxtapositions are, like the elements of drawing combined with it, spontaneous and automatic. The process of collecting books and magazines, are, however, more controlled and purposefully curated. Through the juxtaposition of one picture with another, Engelbrecht encourages us to rethink the significance of the original image in its new context. According to the artists, her work “challenges the viewer to question their own assumptions about culture and aesthetics”.
Engelbrecht received both a BA in Fine Arts (2009) and a MA in Visual Art (2012) from the University of Stellenbosch. In 2012, Engelbrecht was invited to an artist residency programme at a new media gallery in Finland. Her work has been selected in a number of group exhibitions and art competitions in South Africa, as well as for a travelling exhibition, Making Africa: A Continent of Contemporary Design, hosted by the Vitra Design Museum in Germany. Most recently her work has been exhibited in Another Antipodes in Australia.
In addition to her work as a visual artist, Engelbrecht is also an art academic. Currently is a senior lecturer at Cape Town Creative Academy.