(b. 1966 Johannesburg, South Africa)
My work investigates landscape and history and how politics, race and violence are embedded/layered within the landscape. Historically, landscape in South Africa acted as a symbol of intimacy, a layered network of meanings and a place where cultural identity could be inscribed and imagined.
I am particularly interested in the role of the photographer in documenting the landscape. I examine archival images taken by official and amateur photographers of various battlefields as I believe that traces are still present on the landscape, a landscape littered with political ideologies that inform our identities. This view regards landscape conceptually, as a space of shifts and changes, rather than physically.
I re-photograph and layer archival and present-day landscapes in the darkroom, which results in a black and white photograph that reveals the way in which the landscape accumulates history and memory. I become an observer of past and present landscapes, merging them to construct a new document. This stems from an archaeological desire to scratch the surface of the soil for traces in the landscape, which might act as a crucial marker through which one investigates the past and negotiates the future.
Francki Burger was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1966. She gained a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design and Honours in Photography from the University of Stellenbosch in 1988. Burger studied photography at Scuola Lorenzo de Medici in Florence, Italy (1989). On returning, she worked as a Press Photographer at Die Beeld newspaper until 1992. Burger assisted a commercial photographer for two years, after which she worked as a freelance professional photographer, specialising in portraiture, interiors and corporate assignments. Clients include various magazines and advertising agencies. She completed an Advanced Diploma in Fine Arts (Wits) in 2003 and received a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts from the University of the Witwatersrand in 2008. Her thesis investigated photography, landscape and belonging in South Africa.
During this time she assisted in teaching first and second year students as part of her bursary. After her Master’s, Burger taught part-time at the Market Photo Workshop in Newtown, Photography at Wits University (2011) and at the University of Johannesburg, Department of Communication – Photography and Theory (2012). Burger was also a part-time lecture at Vega School of Brand Leadership (2012). In 2013, she joined LISOF Design and Fashion Institute, where she acted as supervisor for the 1stand 2nd year photography courses. She also supervised and taught Research Methodology for their Honours program. In 2014 to 2016, Burger acted as supervisor for postgraduate Photography IV students at Tshwane University of Technology and lectured photography at Lisof.
Apart from exhibiting widely, she was the recipient of the Brait - Everard Read Prize, which included an exhibition at Everard Read and a catalogue of the work exhibited (2008). She also received the international acclaimed Tierney Fellowship Prize and participated in a group exhibition in New York, 2009. In 2012, Burger acted as curator for two group shows at Speke Photographic Gallery @ Circa in Rosebank, Johannesburg. In 2013, Burger did an intensive Alternative Photography course in Rochester, USA, learning wet and dry-plate collodion, a 1860 photographic process. She is currently lecturing on Art and Photography.
In her artistic work, she explores place and belonging. She is interested in how politics, race and history are embedded within the South African landscape and how it reflects our historical and ideological subjectivities.
EDUCATION AND TRAINING
Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design: University of Stellenbosch
Diploma in Photography, Scuola Lorenzo de Medici, Florence, Italy
Advanced Diploma in Fine Art, University of the Witwatersrand
Master of Arts in Fine Art: University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
South African Exhibition, British Museum, London
‘Battlefields’, Speke Photographic Galley @ Circa, Johannesburg
‘Battlefields’, MOP6, Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town
‘SITE’ Group exhibition, Stellenbosch University gallery, Stellenbosch
Cape Town Art Fair
‘Camouflage” Group show, Speke Photographic Galley @ Circa, Johannesburg
Curator ‘Exposure Now’ and CMYK exhibition, Speke Photographic Galley @ Circa, Johannesburg
Circa Gallery - Re-tracing the Cradle, Johannesburg
The Rosedale Gallery, Michaelis School of Fine Art - ‘Anaphora’, Cape Town
Tierney Exhibition – New York Photo Festival, New York
Everard Read - ‘Belonging’ – MA show, Johannesburg
Everard Read – Landscape and Nude group exhibition
New Signatures Competition, Pretoria Art Museum
Eye shadow Group Show, Substation, Wits
Twiice International Group Show, Johannesburg
Women’s group show, RAU, Johannesburg
Scuola de Medici Student Exhibition, Florence, Italy
Nirox Foundation August 2009 Artwork commissioned by PAST and
Standard Bank for recent anthropological discovery at the Cradle of
Humankind (Malapa Site).
Sasol Art Collection
Wits Art Gallery
British Museum, London
Tierney Foundation Fellowship, New York
The Brait – Everard Read Art Award, South Africa
Merit bursary: MA study, University of the Witwatersrand
Fuji Awards for Fine Art Photography, Gold and Bronze