Stephen Inggs is a professor of printmaking at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town. He has exhibited widely in South Africa and is included in private and corporate collections worldwide.
Inggs’ creative research focuses on the visual representation of overlooked material objects and places, as emblems of transience and history. Using an ‘archaeographical’ method of finding, collecting and photographing, his creative work explores ideas about the meaning of objects and places, and the potency that lies in their associations and traces of history, society, nature and culture. The objective of his work is to create new layers of meaning, linking our thoughts about the constructions of the past in relation to the present. The process of working with material objects as still lives and reviving them from relative obscurity, underlines the way it is possible to transform an object’s value, and confer a canonical status to something that has been previously overlooked. His research looks at ways in which visual analysis and creative translation can give new meaning to human engagement with the inanimate object world.
Major research interests include printmaking, photography, artists’ books and portfolios, and the archaeology of identity. Projects have been largely located in lithography, photography and printmaking, each of which has had a complex history and relationship to issues of identity and the politics of knowledge. The influence of aesthetic criteria in printmaking and photography is an on-going concern that has informed his creative production.
This body of work consists of powerful yet delicate large scale photographs, each one hand-coated with silver gelatin emulsion onto 100% cotton mould-made paper, using traditional techniques. The handmade, tactile and physical aspects of this process are used deliberately to underline the references to history, transience and the overlooked object.