Santu Mofokeng, Thirty Years of Photographic Essays
Curated by Corinne Diserens
Sharon Lockhart, Podwórka
4 May–29 July 2012
Opening: Thursday 3 May 2012, 7pm
T +32 3 677 16 55
On 3 May 2012, Extra City Kunsthal is delighted to invite you to the opening of the retrospective Chasing Shadows – Thirty Years of Photographic Essays of the South African photographer Santu Mofokeng, as well as the installation Podwórka by Sharon Lockhart.
Santu Mofokeng, Chasing Shadows
For his significant contribution to research on human development in the South African context and for his acute understanding of the cultural meaning of the landscape, Santu Mofokeng is a major figure in contemporary photography. This exhibition offers a selection of the photographic essays and texts that he produced over the last thirty years, which allow insights into the Soweto of his youth, everyday life on farms and in townships, religious rituals, and landscapes. Among the latter, a new series, Radiant Landscapes, was made especially for this retrospective.
Together with the artist, curator Corinne Diserens delved deep into his personal archives and selected a large range of images from the last thirty years. The work presented will be complemented with extensive attention to texts written by the artist, and various documents contextualising Mofokeng’s projects.
Santu Mofokeng (b. 1956) started taking pictures in the early 1980s. After a short period as a street photographer and some jobs in dark rooms of newspapers, he completed his first photographic essay in 1986, entitled Train Church. He was a member of the Afrapix Collective (1985–1991), which became well known for documenting the battle against Apartheid. He joined the African Studies Institute (ASI) as a photography researcher in 1988 and stayed there for almost ten years. In 1991 he received a fellowship to study at the International Center of Photography in New York. He participated in Documenta 11 (2002) and the 52nd Venice Biennale (2007). Mofokeng received a DAAD artist-in-residence in Germany (1999 and 2001) and was a laureate of the Prins Claus Award in 2009.
Sharon Lockhart, Podwórka
In the film Podwórka (2009), Sharon Lockhart takes as its subject matter the courtyards of Lodz, Poland, and the children that inhabit them. A ubiquitous architectural element of the city, Lodz’ courtyards are the playgrounds of the children that live in the surrounding apartment buildings. Separated from the streets, they provide a sanctuary from the traffic and commotion of the city. Yet far from the over determined playgrounds, as we know them in the West, the courtyards are still very much urban environments. In six different courtyards throughout the city of Lodz, we see parking lots, storage units, and metal armatures become jungle gyms, sandboxes, and soccer fields in the children’s world. A series of fleeting interludes within city life, Podwórka is both a study of a specific place and an evocation of the resourcefulness of childhood. The installation Podwórka fits as subtle social portrait closely to Mofokeng’s work.
Sharon Lockhart was born 1964 in Norwood, Massachusetts. The American artist and filmmaker studied at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, and at the San Francisco Art Institute. She lives and works in Los Angeles. Her work has been shown in numerous exhibitions and screenings in America, Europe and in Japan and has won many awards. Lockhart is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Asian Cultural Council. Her films No and Teatro Amazonas both screened at the Berlinale, Forum of New Cinema. In February 2006, her work Pine Flat was shown at the Berlinale within the context of Forum Expanded, the new platform for video art and installations, hosted by Forum and KW Institute for Contemporary Art.
Wednesday, 2 May 2012, 8pm
Footnotes to History
On the evening preceding the opening, the art house Cinema Zuid invites to a public conversation between Santu Mofokeng, Ahlam Shibli and Jean Francois Chevrier. The evening will be introduced by Corinne Diserens, curator of the show, and followed by a screening of Respite (2007) by Harun Farocki.
Thursday, 29 May 2012, 7pm
Santu Mofokeng and the South African art historian and writer Patricia Hayes walk you through the exhibition.
An extended monograph on the oeuvre of Santu Mofokeng accompanies the exhibition. With contributions by Adam Ashford, Corinne Diserens, Okwui Enwezor, Patricia Hayes, Sarat Maharaj, Santu Mofokeng, Ivan Vladislavic, Sabine Vogel. Published by Prestel Verlag (2011).
This exhibition is presented together with deBuren, Brussels.
The exhibition was an initiative of Extra City Kunsthal, Antwerpen and curator Corinne Diserens and co-produced by Jeu de Paume, Paris, Bergen Kunsthall and Kunsthalle Bern, with the support of Vlaams-Nederlands huis deBuren and Institut Français.
Extra City Kunsthal thanks: Autograph London, Eidotech Berlin, Galerie Neugerriemschneider, Berlin, Sharon Lockhart and the Lockhart Studio LA, Cinema Zuid Antwerpen and Thami Mnyele Foundation, Amsterdam.
Extra City Kunsthal is supported by De Vlaamse Gemeenschap, ministerie van Leefmilieu, Natuur en Cultuur and the City of Antwerp
More information (press kit, press images)
Carl Jacobs (communications manager)
*Image courtesy Lunetta Bartz, MAKER, Johannesburg
© Santu Mofokeng.