UNSW Art & Design graduate, Shoufay Derz, takes on Europe and the US in back-to-back international residency programs aimed at developing her creative practice through opportunities to work with globally renowned practitioners.

We take Berlin, at PHASMID STUDIOS GbR is a three-month residency Derz is currently undertaking Germany, and We take Manhattan will follow, taking place at Parsons, The New School, in New York, where she will be a visiting scholar and will work on projects linking three ecologically resonant sites in Germany, Taiwan and the United States.

Shoufay Derz’s work investigates the limits and possibilities of language and the ambiguities faced when attempting to visually articulate the unknown.  Derz’s research engages the intersections between language and unseen and difficult to articulate worlds. The resultant artworks are simultaneously a lament on the transience of life, and a celebration of its mystery. Elemental and alchemical, Derz’s works harness diverse references and materials including the life-cycle of silk moths, glass, metals, textiles, eucalyptus, ink, and pure indigo pigment. 

Born in Sydney to German and Taiwanese parents, Derz is using the Berlin residency to explore family stories of her father’s youth in Berlin before he emigrated to Australia in 1960. 

Her ongoing work with monumental eroded landscapes critiques contemporary human engagement with the natural environment and geological timeframes. This project commenced on the historic Green Island, Taiwan, where the artist captured analogue images of the monumental volcanic and eroded shoreline. Building on her research on memorialization, language and landscape, Derz will visit the site of 'Kreidefelsen alf Rügen’ (Chalk cliffs on Rugen), a romantic painting by Caspar David Friedrich, to develop new video and photographic works with chalk and ink. 

Outcomes from both international residencies will form part of two upcoming solo exhibitions at Manly Regional Art Gallery and Museum and Sydney’s Artereal Gallery in 2018.

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory.