The videos and prints by the South African artist Berni Searle, currently on view at the Krannert Art Museum, stir sensations in many ways: she climbs up, jumps and rolls down huge mounds of grape skins. I could see the stains on her white shift and almost smell the remains of fermented fruit.
She sits beneath a rain of flour and as it falls on her, she blinks with dust-covered eyelids and her head alters its shape as the flour mounds on top of it. Her hands seem almost separate from her body as she kneads the dough that the flour becomes after water drips onto it. The fingers dance, scrape, push, pull, slap, and withdraw.
She floats in water, her skirt like a boom to contain oil; suddenly she seems to be in the midst of black gooey water.
The video called “Vapour” is at once hellishly hot, as multiple fires burn under large pots covered with lids, and beautiful, as the lids are removed and the steam emerges to cloud the atmosphere through which she walks.