Dr. Yvette Greslé is a London-based art historian, writer, and educator. Yvette was born in Johannesburg and raised in the Seychelles islands. She holds an MA (History of Art) from Wits University, Johannesburg and a PhD from University College London. Yvette’s PhD dissertation (History of Art, University College London, 2015) explored Contemporary South African Video art, Historical Events, Trauma and Memory.
At present, Yvette is a Post Doctoral Fellow (Global Excellence Stature Fellowship) at the University of Johannesburg; The Research Centre, Visual Identities in Art and Design (VIAD), Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture.
Yvette has specialised knowledge of contemporary art related to the African continent and its diaspora; moving image practices in art; the relationship between the moving image in art and other media (painting, photography, performance, sound, drawing, sculpture, installation); histories of apartheid/post-apartheid; the inter-disciplinary theoretical work on the archive, memory and trauma, and historiographical perspectives on these fields. She also foregrounds the art historical and interdisciplinary work on affect/emotion and the body in her approach to the visual, sonic, temporal and spatial worlds that are her focus. Her work is framed by the ethics of feminist thought, queer theory and the critical work on racial violence. Art as a site for political, ethical, critical, poetic and transformative thought is an ongoing interest together with writing as a critical, situated, embodied and performative practice. A thread throughout Yvette’s work relates to the ways in which narratives or experiences are rendered hidden, marginal or invisible.
Scholarly publications include explorations of work by South African artists Jo Ractliffe, Penny Siopis and William Kentridge; and Kenyan/British artist Phoebe Boswell. In 2016, Yvette presented a paper titled Disorientation: Archival Encounters and Allegories of History in Penny Siopis’s video “Obscure White Messenger” (2010) at the conference Archives Matter: queer, feminist and decolonial encounters, Centre for Feminist Research, Goldsmiths, University of London.
As an Art Writer, Yvette has written about contemporary art, across media and geography, for over twenty years. She began as an art critic for newspapers in South Africa in 1997 (The Star Tonight and the Mail & Guardian). She writes for publications, including digital platforms, located in South Africa, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, North America, and Canada. These have included Art Africa (previously Art South Africa), Numéro Cinq, Photomonitor, Apollo and ‘this is tomorrow’. Artists that Yvette has written about include El Anatsui, Ablade Glover, Meschac Gaba, Ruby Onyinyechi Amanze, Larry Achiampong, Harold Offeh, Kimathi Donkor, Kara Walker, Eileen Perrier, Barbara Walker, Chiharu Shiota, Issa Samb, Nathalie Bikoro, Senzeni Marisela, Nástio Mosquito, Shiraz Bayjoo and Rotimi Fani-Kayode.
Yvette also publishes on Finding Africa an independent postcolonial African studies platform that facilitates interdisciplinary dialogue. In 2017, she published an interview with South African artist Kemang Wa Lehulere. She is currently working on interviews with Dineo Seshee Bopape and Lerato Shadi.
Yvette has two on-line projects: writing in relation and moving histories. She is also senior editor-at-large for the on-line magazine minor literature[s] founded by the Argentine writer and cultural critic Fernando Sdrigotti.
Exploring book length projects, Yvette is currently working on a memoir for Copy Press. This project builds on her interest in memory and the after-affects of historical and political events.
In 2016, Yvette was awarded a Trinity CertTESOL qualification (The London School of English) to teach English to speakers of other languages. This relates to her interests as a whole: meaningful work and dialogue across language and culture. She teaches with two language schools based in London: Oxford International and the International Foundation Group.
While living and working in South Africa, Yvette researched, wrote and developed courses in the politics and ethics of visual images, in art, photography and visual culture more broadly. She also tutored in the History of Art department at the University of the Witwatersrand.
Interests: The Moving Image; Contemporary African and Diasporic Art; Black British Artists; Art and the Indian Ocean; History and Memory; Archive; Affect/Emotion; Apartheid; The Politics of Feminism and Anti-racism; Writing with Art.