Strauss Louw


Strauss Louw was born in 1992 in South Africa. In 2021, he completed a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Stellenbosch, and currently lives and works in Stellenbosch, South Africa.

Louw’s practice could be described as a visual exploration of desire, environment, the gaze and the photograph as an object to possess. Instinctively capturing his subject in unposed candid moments and working with analogue film photography techniques, Louw enacts a delicacy in both the craftsmanship of his practice, as well as the guileless male figure that emerges through his images.

His desire to photograph is motivated not by its potential for possession but rather as an agent of production. The objectness of the photograph in the world is braced by his understanding of the surface as the site of sensory interplay, either through the intimate tactility of silk and cotton or, through the reflective pane of glass, mirror and gold leaf in which Louw turns the gaze both ways presenting the viewer with their own reflection.

In 2023, Louw opened We are Mirrors, a solo exhibition at WHATIFTHEWORLD in Cape Town, South Africa. Prior to this, Louw presented Showing Skin, at WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town (2022) as well as a body of work titled Bitter-Sweet-Salt at SMAC in Stellenbosch as part of his master’s evaluation.

Notable group shows include: The Phoenix Runway presented at WHATIFTHEWORLD in Cape Town, South Africa (2022), as well as Falling Awake at The FOURTH in Cape Town, South Africa (2021), both curated by RESERVOIR. Additionally, Louw participated in Hot House, curated by Jana Terblanche at Sixty Six in London, UK (2022); Emphatic Whispers at SMITH Studio, Cape Town, South Africa (2019), 2k.2 ’Untitled’ at No End Contemporary in Johannesburg, South Africa (2019) as well as Close Encounters at SMITH Studio in Cape Town (2018). His work has been included in Art Joburg, Investec Cape Town Art Fair, in 2022 and 2023 as well as in Miart, Milan, 2023. Most recently, Louw attended a master printing workshop with Borut Peterlin in Slovenia.

Video Interview with Strauss Louw:
Artist Room / Bitter-Sweet-Salt, shot at SMAC Gallery, Stellenbosch

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2023 We are Mirrors - WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town
2022 Showing Skin - curated by RESERVOIR, WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town
2021 Bitter-Sweet-Salt, SMAC, Stellenbosch

Selected Group Exhibitions

2023 Nomad Capri, WHATIFTHEWORLD, Capri
Chromatic Horizons, Oude Leeskamer, Stellenbosch
2022 The Phoenix Runway - curated by RESERVOIR, WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town
Hot House, (curated by Jana Terblanche), Sixty Six, London, UK
2021 Falling Awake, (curated by RESERVOIR), THEFOURTH
Bitter-Sweet-Salt, SMAC, Stellenbosch
2020 RMB Turbine Art Fair
2019 Emphatic Whispers, SMITH Studio, Cape Town
2k.2 ‘Untitled’, No End Contemporary, Johannesburg
2018 Close Encounters, SMITH Studio, Cape Town


2023 We are Mirrors

Art Fairs

Miart 2024
FNB Art Joburg 2023
NOMAD Capri 2023
Miart 2023