Monique Pelser, born in 1976 in Johannesburg South Africa, is a visual artist currently working and living between Cape Town and New York City.
Tierney Fellowship recipient for 2009 and voted by Art South Africa as a bright young artist for 2007, Pelser is well known for her role reversal portraits.
Pelser was educated at the Market Photography workshop in 1996 and in fine art at Rhodes University Grahamstown where she majored in the photographic arts. In 2006 she was awarded a Masters of Fine Art with distinction. In 2012 she attend the PhotoGlobal program at the School of Visual Arts in New York.
Since 2007 she has lectured in photography and visual art at Rhodes University, AAA School of Advertising in Cape Town and Johannesburg, The Market Photography Workshop in Johannesburg and Stellenbosch Visual Arts Department.
From 2008 to 2011 she was faculty at the Wits School of Arts, University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.
Along with Sabelo Mlangeni and Musa Nxumalo she was selected as one of three South African photographers to attend the Maputo Curators Meeting, Mozambique in 2008, the Bamako Curators Meeting, Mali in 2009 and the Addis Photo Fest Portfolio Readings in Ethiopia in 2010.
In 2011, along with Sammy Baloji, she was invited to co-curate the show Témoin/Witness which show-cased the work of the group of photographers involved in the Curators Meetings across the African continent. Témoin opened in Bamako, Mali in 2011 and toured to various centers across Africa in 2012 and 2013.
Together with Lisa Elmaleh, Pelser co-edited the book "The Tierney Fellowship", which was published by the Tierney Family Foundation in New York City in 2014, and in 2015 she was shortlisted for the Mbokodo Awards for women who have made an outstanding contribution to the arts in South Africa.
Shortly before sunrise, the spirits of the night dance their last dance, an site specific interactive installation of a flash for Heat/ Energy at the Kummelholmen as part of the Go-Go collective Stockholm Sweden https://www.heatenergy.net
Shortly before sunrise, the spirits of the night dance their last dance, a site specific illustration and video Installation at Broken Vessels at Interface Galway Ireland https://interfaceinagh.com/news/2021-september/attachment/giaf-broken-vessels-52/
Live Streamed performance in the Pierneef at the Rupert Museum housing the Johannesburg Station Panels, Stellenbosch, South Africa https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dm0FQrkNQcQ&t=9s
Out of Order a video work with Dina Belluigi at the University of Queens Dublin and Brent Meistre from Analogue Eye participating in their Counter Narratives research https://counternarrativefilm.wixsite.com/counter/out-of-order
Turbine Art Fair On-line https://turbineartfair.co.za/viewing-rooms/paper-photography-digital
A public installation of images from It Changes Phase on the concrete seawall at the Seapoint Promenade in Cape Town, South Africa and a series of public interventions in association with the Guerilla Gallery. https://guerillaza.blogspot.com/2020/02/talking-clouds-monique-pelser-q.html?m=1
A live improvisational performance with Jakob Warmenbol as part of the Go-Go collective https://sites.google.com/view/gogocollective/home at the Bogaarden Kapel Bruges Belgium https://vimeo.com/348619536
Everybody was Blind an exhibition and performance with South African musician Sam Tshabalala who was in exile in Paris in the 1980's. Looking at the power relations in photography we explored the possibilities of shifting the paradigm of portraiture. Also featured as part of 2nd edition of Vision d’ Exile Paris, France https://vimeo.com/661166193
I Can’t Breathe an installation as part of the Not The Usual Suspects curated by Ingrid Masondo at the National Gallery Cape Town South Africa https://vimeo.com/367443027
Live performance at the Les Traversées du Marais – Sur Le Fil – Paris, France
Feed a live performance of working with multiple printers with jazz musician Jakob Warmenbol Cité Internationale des Arts Paris, France
Conversations with my Father a solo exhibition at the Oliewenhuis Art Museum, Bloemfontein, South Africa
A public installation of clouds on the concrete seawall at the Seapoint Promenade in Cape Town, South Africa
A solo show Conversations with my Father at the Alumni Gallery for the National Arts Festival Grahamstown
An impromptu installation of Bystanders imitating newspaper poster boards at the Klein Karoo Arts Festival (KKNK)
Conversations with my Father Part 1 was featured at the Analogue Eye film festival (2015) at the Wiener Festwochen arts festival in Austria.
The NYPD interviews were screened at the School of Visual Arts Alumni Gallery in New York City
"This is fantastic... Where else would animals learn the basic functions to create music?" CNN. A series of appropriated images shown as a three at the Eastern Cape Biennale at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Museum in Port Elizabeth
ANALOGUE EYE: Video Art Africa mobile film festival, Grahamstown National Arts Festival
Infecting the City, public installation of Bystanders in the City of Cape Town
New Releases at Site 109, New York
Ons Land/ Our Land: The Johannesburg Station Panels Revisited with Carl Becker at US Gallery Stellenbosch 2012/ at Oliwenhuis Art Museum Bloemfontein 2013/ Ann Bryant Gallery East London 2014/ Durban Art Gallery 2014
Dylan’s Circus and I at Photoville Brooklyn New York/ shortlisted for the Aethetica Film Festival and Muti Gallery Supermarket Cape Town
Témoin with Sammy Baloji, Calvin Dondo, Sabelo Mlangeni, Abraham Oghobase & Michael Tsegaye. Opened at the Recontres du Bamako Mali 2011 and is currently touring to 11 various African centers Uganda/ Nigeria etc. 2012/13
Conversations with my Father an installation as part of the group show [Working Title] with Reshma Chhiba, Gabrelle Goliath, Kyle Morland, Tahbiso Sekgala, Gerald Machona and Murray Kruger curated by Federico Feschi. Goodman Gallery Cape, Cape Town
Eyes Open, Eyes Shut with Rotimi Fani-Kayode & Abraham Oghobase et al. curated by Victoria Cheape Studio 41 Glasgow
Conversations with my Fatheras part of a group show Basic Reality curated by Katrin Lewinski at the Goodman Project Space Johannesburg Art Fair, Johannesburg
Farewell to Longing curated by Claudia Stemberger at the Kunstraum Niederoesterreich, Vienna Austria
The Night Show Goodman Gallery Cape, Cape Town
The Johannesburg Station Panels: Revisited as part of the Tierney Fellowship exhibition at the NY Photo Festival, Dumbo New York and at the Wits University Sub Station Gallery Johannesburg
The Spirit Is Not An Idea curated by Katrin Lewinsky at the Co-Op Gallery Braamfontein Johannesburg
Bystanders aspart of In the Light of Play curated by Bisi Silva from the Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos at the Johannesburg Art Fair and at Durban Art Gallery
Roles a solo exhibition at the Bell-Roberts Gallery, Cape Town and at the Market Photography Workshop Gallery, Johannesburg and the Alumni Gallery, Grahamstown
Oliwenhuis Art Museum Permanent Collection
Paul Harris’ Ellerman House Collection
Tierney Family Foundation
Various Private Collections
SELECTED CONFERENCES AND WORKSHOPS:
University of North Dakota, Artist talk and portfolio reviews
NYU Symposium Encounters with the African Archive
Lagos Photo Festival, portfolio reviews and panel discussion
Recontres du Bamako, Mali
New York Photo Festival Dumbo, Brooklyn, USA
Invited to assess young artist’s work at Assemblage Workshop Main Street Live, Johannesburg
Bag Factory Critical Curating Workshop with independent curator Claudia Marion Stemberger
Addis Abeba Foto Festival, Portfolio Reading, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
New York Photo Festival panel discussion on photography in Dumbo, Brooklyn, USA
Tierney Fellowship critique session, Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town
Tierney Fellowship critique session, Market Photography Workshop, Johannesburg
Encounters of Bamako Curators Meeting and Portfolio Reading/ Bamako Biennale, Mali
Maputo Photographers Portfolio review, initiated by Simone Njami and the Goethe-Institut South Africa, Mozambique