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About The Artist

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Artist Biography

Erna Bodenstein was born in 1958, in Pretoria. She completed her BA(FA) degree in 1980 at The University of Pretoria, and completed her MA(FA) degree (with distinction) in 1998 at The University of Pretoria.

She lectured in printmaking at The Department of Fine-Arts, UP, from 1981 to 1991 after which she lived, and produced art, in Barcelona, Spain, over a period of several years. Moving between Barcelona and South-Africa, she continued teaching as a guest lecturer at the Department of Visual Art, University of Pretoria, focusing on Conceptual/installation art. She has also lectured in art at various other art Institutions in Pretoria over the years while working as a fulltime artist.

She has participated in numerous group exhibitions, both locally and internationally since 1981.

She has produced eight solo exhibitions in South-Africa and four in Barcelona, Spain.

The artist’s work have been taken up in a number of public collections, namely; The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), University of Pretoria, University of South-Africa, The Pretoria Art Museum, and ABSA Bank, Johannesburg.

Artist CV

Erna Marita Bodenstein-Ferreira was born in Pretoria in 1958


  • 1976: Matriculate, Pretoria School for Art, Music and Ballet.
  • 1980: BA (Fine Arts), University of Pretoria
  • 1993: Completed History of Art Methodology studies for Masters Degree in Fine Arts, University of Pretoria.
  • 1998: MA (Fine Arts) (cum laude), University of Pretoria. Title of dissertation, focussing on post-modern, conceptual art: Deconstructing the Post-Modern Artist’s Book – The Journey is the Destination.


  • 1980: Award for Printmaking, New Signatures Exhibition. Pretoria


    Throughout her career, Erna Bodenstein served on the Adjudication and Selection Panels for various Fine Arts Competitions, including:

  • ABSA New Signatures Competitions
  • Pretoria Portland Cement Sculpture Competition
  • Several ABSA Atelier Competitions (Pretoria region).


    Erna Bodenstein has extensive experience in art education.

  • 1981 – 1991: Full-time Lecturer in the Printmaking Division of the Department of Fine Arts, University of Pretoria. Fields of specialisation included Printmaking, Drawing, and Painting. She headed the Printmaking Division since 1986 and was responsible for teaching and administrating theoretical and practical projects and courses in two- and three-dimensional applications of techniques (including silkscreen, etching, lithography, and wood/linocut) and the use of experimental materials. These courses were presented to BA (Fine Arts) students (1st to 4th year levels). In addition, a specialised course in Printmaking (for design and illustration) was presented to BA (Information Design) students.
  • 1992 – 2001: Full-time Artist and Part-time Lecturer in Printmaking, Drawing, and Installation/Conceptual Art at the Department of Visual Arts and History of Art, University of Pretoria, and the Open Window Art Academy.
  • Part-time teaching in Art, The American School in Barcelona (Nov. 1993).
  • Guest Artist in the Department of Printmaking, University of Barcelona (March to May 1994).

    Since 1997, her part-time teaching centred more on the latest developments and techniques in Installation (Conceptual) Art and Art Theory, including practical Installation Projects. She also presented courses in Visual Communication (including semiotics and popular culture).


    Since 1982, Erna Bodenstein has participated in numerous exhibitions, including solo exhibitions in South Africa and abroad.

    She lived and worked in Barcelona, Spain (Sept. 1993 to Sept. 1994). From 1995 to 1999, she lived and worked in Barcelona, Spain, each year for a period of three months. During this period, she also presented four solo exhibitions of her work.

    SOLO Exhibitions

  • 1982: Department of Fine Arts, University of Pretoria.
  • 1991: Fine Arts Gallery, University of Pretoria.
  • 1992: Faerie Glen, Pretoria.
  • 1993: Guest Artist, Works on Paper, Café de Brazil, Pretoria Art Museum.
  • 1994: Sarria, Barcelona.
  • 1996: “La Mèva Africa”, Galeria Espai Blanc, Barcelona.
  • 1997: “Imagina Matisos Femenins” (1), Galeria Contrast, Barcelona (on invitation).
  • 1998: “Imagina Matisos Feminins” (2), Sala Montserrat Roig (Catalan Women’s Institute), Barcelona (on invitation).
  • 1998: “Imagine Feminine Nuances”, The Tina Skukan Gallery, Faerie Glen, Pretoria.
  • 2001: “The Female Gaze”, SA Association of Art, Pretoria.

    Two- and three-person exhibitions

  • 1983: With William Steyn, South African Association of Arts, Pretoria.
  • 1986: With Guy du Toit and Amanda Marais, Gallery 21, Johannesburg.
  • 1996: With André Naudé and Philip Badenhorst, South African Association of Art, Pretoria.
  • 2003: With Annette Pretorius, ABSA Gallery, ABSA Head Office, Johannesburg (on invitation).

    Group exhibitions

    The artist has participated in numerous group exhibitions since 1980, both locally and internationally.

    Public and Private Collections

    The artist's works have been taken up in the following public and private art collections:

  • Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), Pretoria
  • University of Pretoria
  • University of South Africa
  • Pretoria Art Museum
  • ABSA Bank, Johannesburg
  • Haenggi Foundation, Pelmama Permanent Art Collection, Johannesburg
  • Various private collections in South Africa and abroad.

    Publicity / Press

  • Pat Redelinghuijs, 1983. “A refreshing confident approach.” Pretoria News, October 24.
  • Fransi Phillips, 1983. “Individualisties.” Beeld, October 27.
  • Frieda Harmsen, 1986. “Academic artists are aware.” Pretoria News, March 3.
  • Anon, 1986. “Dosente in die Museum.” Beeld, March 5.
  • Hettie Abrie, 1986. “Te min eksperimentering.” Beeld, March 10.
  • Bertie du Plessis, 1987. “In vryheid en beheer.” Beeld, July 25.
  • Merle Huntley, 1988. “Two artists’ works overshadow others.” Pretoria News, February 4.
  • Josep M. Cadena, 1996. “Erna Bodenstein.” El Periódico, Barcelona, February 13.
  • Marcos Palazzi, 1996. “Gente, caos y maestros.” Cataluña, Barcelona, March 26.
  • Fransi Phillips, 1996. “Sterk bewussyn van geweld spreek uit drie se kunswerke.” Beeld, November 8.
  • Leoné van Niekerk, 1998. “Bodenstein verlei in dié kuns met speelse parodie.” Beeld, October 8.
  • Fransi Phillips, 2001. “Focus on Women in Two Contrasting Exhibitions.” Pretoria News, June 26.
  • Anon, 2003. “Liefde in ‘n ander konteks vertoon.” Rapport, February 16.

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