Fritha Langerman was born in Cape Town, where she attended a southern suburbs school in close proximity to the university. Since then her activities have remained within 10km radius of the University of Cape Town, where she completed an undergraduate and Master of Fine Art degree and is currently an associate professor at and director of the Michaelis School of Fine Art.
A background in printmaking informs the interdisciplinary nature of her research interests, which include the scientific representation of the body, curatorship, and the display and ordering of information. Her first solo exhibition, The Dissection (Castle of Good Hope, 1996) focused on biomedical visual representation and authorship of the human body, and since then projects including Lexicons and Labyrinths: the iconography of the genome at the South African Museum (2003) and Curiosity CLXXV (with Pippa Skotnes and Gwen van Embden) at the University of Cape Town (2004) have focussed on taxonomies of the visual. Of Symmetries and Oxymorons: The Knowledge Chambers (2007-8), exhibited in Johannesburg and Cape Town, reflected on visual knowledge systems through the use of historical and contemporary print methodologies, while her most recent exhibition Subtle Thresholds at the South African Museum (2009-2010), concerned the representational taxonomy of infectious disease. The challenges of the display of natural history within a contemporary world continue to drive her production.