Strauss Louw was born in 1992 in South Africa. In 2022, he completed a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Stellenbosch. He currently lives and works in Stellenbosch.

Group shows include The Phoenix Runway, presented at Whatiftheworld in Cape Town, South Africa, as well as Falling Awake at The FOURTH, both curated by RESERVOIR; and Hot House, curated by Jana Terblanche at Sixty Six in London, UK, in 2022; Emphatic Whispers at SMITH Studio, Cape Town and 2k.2 ‘Untitled’ at No End Contemporary in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2019 and Close Encounters at SMITH Studio in 2018. His work was in group presentations at the RMB Turbine Art Fair in 2020 and Latitudes Online in 2021.

Also in 2021, Louw presented a small body of work titled Bitter-Sweet-Salt as part of his Master’s degree for the Artist Room programme at SMAC Gallery in Stellenbosch, South Africa. His first solo exhibition was Showing Skin at Whatiftheworld in Cape Town in August 2022.

At the heart of Louw’s artistic journey is his unique experimentation with photographic processes, particularly the 19th-century salt print and silver gelatin print.  He innovatively combines glass, cloth, and imitation gold leaf with these processes to transform the original image.  “I like to say that I am a languid photographer,” says Louw. “What I mean to express is that I don’t actively seek to photograph but have adopted a languorous photographic methodology, a perpetual process of photographing on the fly, so to speak. I build an archive of images captured in response to my experiences through this process.”

For his print, Louw employs the intricate technique of photogravure, a combination of intaglio and photomechanical methods. This technique merges the precision of photography with densely pigmented intaglio inks. The use of pigmented inks and acid-free pulp paper ensures the longevity of the print. In the photogravure process, a continuous tone positive is exposed to light-sensitive pigmented gelatin tissue bonded to a rosin-coated copperplate. An aquatint is crucial to this tone-based technique. After the gelatin is developed, the copperplate, with the image containing gelatin, is etched in baths of ferric chloride of varying strengths. The etching starts with the darkest areas, progressing through the tones to the lightest tone – the etched copperplate is removed from the ferric chloride once the bite reaches the extreme highlights. This meticulous technique achieves a full range of tones and produces a high-quality original print.

Strauss Louw
Photogravure on Zerkall Intaglio 250gsm
Edition of 8
Paper dimensions: 66 x 54 cm
Impression dimensions: 48 x 39 cm

Price R9000 (excl. VAT) | Email to Purchase