White Termite Installation 2012


“The most perfect example of the group soul can be observed in our own bodies. The human body is composed of a number of organs, each connected by a visible or invisible thread to a central point, the brain. Each organ is in constant activity and has a separate purpose – at least the purpose appears to be separate and independent; but on closer observation we find that all the organs are really working for a communal purpose. The influence dominating all the organs comes from one central point. In no single organ can we find a real independent purpose.”
(Eugène Marais, The Soul of the White Ant)

White Termite, owes its’ title to The Soul of the White Ant, a literary work that can
be classified as an historic document… This collection of essays by renowned naturalist and poet  Eugène Marais, was first published in 1934 and his observations had a significant impact on science. In the 21st century due to a growing interest in the biomorphic (especially in the fields of Architecture and design), this book has resurfaced as one of the most thorough and significant studies ever conducted on the topic of termites. Termites are strategic in an involuntary way; it’s in their nature: They never rest, never sleep and are sexless, blind and both master builders and forces of demolition. Because of their size, individual actions are almost invisible to the human eye, but the results of the combined efforts are often monumental.

In White Termite all the parts relate to the whole; flashes within a larger universe
of blues. Central is the installation of 5 small porta-pool wishing wells: a tongue-in-cheek reference to water as life-giving source that evolved and transformed over time to provide the lifeline that connects the parts to the whole.  Water as natural substance is sabotaged by digital projections and the collaborative process (the ongoing crocheting performances).

Mooi uitsig to Mooiuitsig 2012


Interactive artventure for HAWK 2012 executed with the assistance of
Swain Hoogervorst and Hannah Paton. 2012

*The translation for ‘mooi uitsig’ is ‘beautiful view’. Mooiuitsig is also the name of the local community where the Penguin Kidz school is situated.

Art Entrepeneur Lien Botha is the organisor and driving force behind the first Hangklip Art Week (HAWK). As a resident of Betty’s Bay she noticed the severe impact of the economic crash on local business and artists in the region. The motivation behind the HAWK initiative is to a) establish an annual opportunity for reputable artists from the region to generate sales outside of the commercial gallery structure and b) to create an event that will serve as an economic injection for tourism in the area.

A number of acclaimed artists were invited to open their homes and studios to the public. Botha then approached Grobler to conceptualise a site-specific project that could serve as “a thread that runs through the whole project”.

Mooi uitsig to Mooiuitsig: The most recognizable aspect of the HAWK route is the landscape and its breathtaking views. One is acutely aware of the presence of the natural surroundings: rugged, dramatic and one of the most biodiverse in the country. Mooi uitsig to Mooiuitsig was tailored towards the motorists that pass through this landscape and was a treasure-hunt for travellers! The project provided a visual link between studios, local business and the Mooiuitsig community. It implemented subversive strategies to promote interaction and participation. The event culminated at the Penguin Kidz Pre primary School in Mooiuitsig with site-specific interventions and entrepreneurial interactions driven by the preschoolers and their teachers.

99 bright pink signs with iconic black binoculars marked the route and pointed at rock faces, plants and look out points as visitors drove from Gordon’s bay towards the Harold Porter National Botanical Gardens in Betty’s Bay. These arrow shaped signs directed the traveller’s gaze as they approach Hangklip by car/bike/bus. Visitors could count the signs, enter the correct number into the box at the Harold Porter Garden and stand the chance to win a mystery prize.

Tjorts!/Cheers! 2012


Mixed media drawings (diasec)

Tjorts!/Cheers! is a collection of drawings that celebrate small moments in everyday life. The drawings are based on a poem by Danie Marais.


The world is everything
that is the case
Wittgenstein said.
Everything, however,
rubbed me wrong for years
I clenched my black heart
childlike for revolution my teeth
on edge for another world.

But on this hazy summer day
with the city washed up
jetsam against Table Mountain covered
in scars my cup runs over I toast:
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
and The Story of an African Farm
from an attic window in Woodstock.
For, oh, this deluded world with its petty wars
Cape Minstrel choirs and mountain fires this ocean
we have ploughed this dashed world is
my home with its
Grapes of Wrath its Rain Dogs its mutts
barking at the gates of paradise its
Madame Bovarys and bergies riding
bluetrain spirits horrors high, yes, only this world
gives us
a perverse masterpiece
our daily bread –
the great unholy mass clouding
the sun.

– by Danie Marais

Crochet, Gym and Tonic 2011

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Crochet, Gym and Tonic was a physical dialogue between a visual and performing artist in collaboration dancer Léan Coetzer.
The performance spontaneously repeated every 30 minutes, 21 times over the course of a day. Grobler crocheted a piece from bra elastics whilst Coetzer experimented with small movements whilst strapped into the “vibromatic”. Coetzer took her hip measurements before every performance and lost 7 cm overall. Both participants experienced a distortion of space as a result of the repetition and monochrome colour.
The performance formed the starting point for the White Termite Installation as the male participants in White Termite, continued the crocheting process to the beat of the same song.

Sometimes, you have to kill your darlings 2010


The performance was conceived for a one-night event at the Bijou Art Studios in Observatory (Cape Town). Sometimes, you have to kill your darlings is based on a phrase often used by a former lecturer (Timo Smuts).

It refers to the necessity to sometimes undo parts of (or an entire) artwork in order to successfully move forward with
the creative process. With this performance the material came full circle:  In 2001, a small sculptural work which was selected for the final round of a national art competition was returned in a box filled with thousands of polystyrene packaging chips. The chips were at least triple the volume of the actual artwork. Grobler often incorporates waste material in her work and instead of discarding the chips, she sew it together with pink thread to create a large hanging sculptural “nest” titled Muisneste in 2002. The performance Sometimes, you have to kill your darlings commenced with Grobler systematically and rhythmically taking apart this sculpture and the chips fell to the ground like blossoms to the (Andante) walking pace of a metronome. The performance accelerated to a visual crescendo that culminated in the dramatic collapse of the entire structure.

Imagination (for humans) 2010

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Imagination (for humans) formed part of the Laboratory for Recycled Revolutions curated by Isa Suarez at the Greatmore Art walk.

This laboratory was an opportunity to nurture initiatives and express ideas in the vibrant Woodstock community.  It was an interactive platform for creative invention, investigation & intervention about ‘recycling’ what we’ve learnt. Using text as a form of expression, to re-mix past revolutions by proposing alternative solutions and thoughts. The hypothesis of the laboratory was: “Art can change the world in the sense that it can open up minds, challenge ideas and even have an impact on political decisions and global transformation. This has happened throughout history; we need to keep challenging ourselves especially considering the current contexts we are living in: racial issues, environmental chaos, land and housing, poverty, health, education to name just a few… Can we change the system or has the system changed us? Is there any point in trying to improve our societies?”

The promotion was carried out in Balmoral Supermarket, targeting random morning shoppers, and subsequently within the laboratory, where Imagination was handed out to gallery goers.

Directions for use: Take one sip as needed. Side-effects: Unlimited access to new ideas. Guarantee: The possibility to change the world. 100% pure imagination. Works within 60 seconds!!! (Terms and conditions do not apply.)

Visitor 2008 – 2009


An interactive exhibition at the UCT Irm Stern museum (Installation overview)

The UCT Irma Stern Museum, or The Firs as she fondly called it, was the house of one of South Africa’s most renowned artists: Irma Stern. Here she lived, created and entertained. According to letters and anecdotes the late Stern was an inspiring and fiery character, but also a very tiring and demanding guest when visiting other homes!

Visitor opened on 3 October 2009 and was almost a solo exhibition. The works were created by Grobler in a wide variety of media, ranging from painting to knitting, ceramics to found objects. The interaction between individual pieces, as well as between the work and the physical space was of primary importance. The installation occupied the gallery and expanded into the garden, claiming more space every day.  In addition, other artists were invited to visit, do residencies and collaborate. In the spirit of a house as organic living space, the show transformed daily and product/art object existed in equilibrium with daily life. It was a celabration of human interaction and of life’s (slightly absurd) tendency to connect a seemingly random list of events.

The collaborations:
Over the past years, I have often collaborated with others, and although this will be almost a solo exhibition, I am inviting various guests to partake in this visual extravaganza. The most extensive project is the residency programme contained in the heart of the exhibition space (the small space directly behind the entrance wall): 14 artists will use this space for 1 day each. Francisca Sanchez, Lien Botha, Abri de Swardt, Adrienne van Eeden-Wharton & Barend de Wet, Lynette Bester, Johan Thom, Niklas Zimmer, Seth Harper, Jacques Coetzer, Michael Taylor, Ruben Gutierrez, Sonya Rademeye and Katherine Bull.

Other collaborations:
• Lien Botha opened Grobler’s first solo exhibition in 1999. It was therefore exciting to collaborate one diecade later. One image from this photo shoot had been transformed into a large beaded panel (beaded by Qalo Beading Studio) for Visitor and another formed part of Botha’s exhibition Parrot Jungle (The Photographers’ Gallery, Shortmarket Street, October 2009).
• Singer Monika Voysey merges (quite literally) with a knitted sculpture (3 and 10 October, 11h00-12h00)
• Life drawing session (closed event): Monday 5 October
Participants: Johann Louw, Clare Menck, John Murray, Nomthunzi Mashalaba, Wonder Marthinus, Norman O’Flynn, Conrad Botes, Marna Hattingh & Marlise Keith.
• The closing event on Saturday 24 October was a collaborative gift ribbon/ lace making performance with Pierre Fouché and a picnic in the garden