Appropriated Landscapes

Appropriated Landscapes

Walther Collection

Santu Mofokeng, “Concentration Camp Graves, Brandfort,” 1999.*

April 6, 2011

Appropriated Landscapes
Includes photography and video by Ângela Ferreira, David Goldblatt,
Santu Mofokeng, Jo Ractliffe, and Guy Tillim

11 June 2011

Walther Collection
Reichenauerstrasse 21
89233 Neu-Ulm

Contemporary landscape photography of Southern Africa is focus of new exhibition at the Walther Collection in Germany

The complex layers of meaning embedded in the physical attributes of a place are explored in Appropriated Landscapes, an exhibition on landscape photography of Southern Africa, opening at the Walther Collection in Neu-Ulm / Burlafingen, Germany. Bringing together the photography and video of thirteen contemporary artists—including Jane Alexander, Mitch Epstein, Ângela Ferreira, Peter Friedl, David Goldblatt, Christine Meisner, Sabelo Mlangeni, Santu Mofokeng, Zanele Muholi, Jo Ractliffe, Penny Siopis, Mikhael Subotzky / Patrick Waterhouse, and Guy Tillim—the exhibition examines the effects of war, migration, colonization, industrialization, and ideology on the landscapes of South Africa, Namibia, Angola, and Mozambique. On view from June 11, 2011, through May 2012, Appropriated Landscapes reveals the distinct and varied histories of the region and its people, illustrating how landscape in its broadest definition is a construct of the mind—a work built up as much from the strata of memory as from layers of rock.

Curated by Corinne Diserens, Appropriated Landscapes is the second installment of the Walther Collection’s annual exhibition program in Germany, which each year brings in a new curator to explore themes drawn from the Walther Family Foundation’s collection. The exhibition is part of an ongoing three-year examination of the collection’s extensive African photography holdings. Encompassing approximately 200 works, Appropriated Landscapes includes newly commissioned work by Ângela Ferreira, Christine Meisner, and Peter Friedl, as well as an extended presentation of As Terras do Fim do Mundo, Jo Ractliffe’s photographic essay on the war-torn Angolan countryside, which will premiere at the Walther Collection Project Space in New York City on April 15, 2011.

Appropriated Landscapes will be presented throughout the three exhibition buildings on the Walther Collection’s campus—the Green House, Black House, and White Box. The two gallery floors of the Green House will showcase the black-and-white photographs of South African photographers David Goldblatt and Santu Mofokeng, including work from the early 1960s through the present. Goldblatt has documented the changing landscape of South Africa for more than 60 years, giving particular attention to man-altered landscapes and deeply divisive ideological structures. His photographic examinations of the built environment and spatial planning in South Africa will appear in dialogue with Santu Mofokeng’s focus on the every-day life of the township, in particular on the previously undocumented aspects of spiritual life in black South Africa and in landscapes of trauma. This concept of landscape as the mute witness to history, imbued with spiritual meaning and memories, will resonate with Christine Meisner’s newly commissioned video Landscape and Fate, on view in the Green House cinema on the lower level, which explores the history of slavery in the United States through the Mississippi fugitive routes.

The Black House will present 60 black-and-white photographs from Jo Ractliffe’s newest body of work documenting the “landscape of leftovers” created by Angola’s lengthy civil war. Featuring haunting images of mass graves, eerily solitary landscapes, and remnants of war, the series underscores the physical scarring of the landscape resulting from human interaction. The featured works will be making their premiere in Europe as part of this exhibition.

The White Box, the Walther Collection’s main exhibition space, will feature photography and video on each of its three floors. On the ground level visitors will encounter Ângela Ferreira’s newly commissioned installation, For Mozambique, which explores the legacy of modernist architecture and its present every-day use in post-colonial Africa through the juxtaposition of archival and contemporary filmic images. The second floor gallery will present eight color panoramas from Ractliffe’s series Johannesburg Inner City Works (2000–2004), each of which capture multiple images of a neighborhood within the city and stitches them together into one united, expansive frame. The main exhibition gallery on the lower level will feature works by Jane Alexander, Peter Friedl, David Goldblatt, Sabelo Mlangeni, Zanele Muholi, Penny Siopis, Mikhael Subotzky / Patrick Waterhouse, and Guy Tillim. Organized by artist, the 61 works on view include images of architectonic structures, construction sites, forgotten rural areas, precarious public spheres, and social rituals and migration within southern Africa. These works will resonate with Mitch Epstein’s American Power project (2004 – 2008), depicting energy production sites in the United States and the repercussions of industrialization and expansion on the American landscape.

About Corinne Diserens
Over the last twenty-five years, art historian and independent curator Corinne Diserens has curated more than fifty exhibitions, including shows on photographers David Goldblatt, Santu Mofokeng, and Nan Goldin, and artists Eva Hesse, Dieter Roth, and Dan Graham. She has previously served as director and chief curator at Museion-Bolzano in Italy, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nantes and Les Musees de Marseille in France, and IVAM-Institut Valencia d’Art Modern in Spain. Diserens has also published monographic publications on a number of artists, including Lygia Clark, Francis Alÿs, Trisha Brown, and Oskar Schlemmer. She currently holds the Jury Chair at the Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart, Germany. She lives in Berlin and Paris.

About the Walther Family Foundation
The Walther Family Foundation is a private nonprofit organization dedicated to researching, collecting, exhibiting, and publishing modern and contemporary photography and video art. Founded in the traditions of European and American photography, the collection has expanded to incorporate works across regions, periods, and artistic sensibilities, giving particular focus to artists and photographers working in Africa and Asia. Through its in-depth exhibitions and vigorous publishing program, the Foundation showcases photography and video that advances the history and understanding of the medium. The Foundation has two exhibition spaces: the Walther Collection in Neu-Ulm / Burlafingen, Germany, and the Walther Collection Project Space in New York City.

The Walther Collection
Reichenauerstrasse 21
89233 Neu-Ulm / Burlafingen

The Walther Collection Project Space
526 West 26th Street, Suite 718
New York, NY 10001

Media Contacts:

Markus Mueller
Bureau Mueller
Tel: +49-30-20188432

Juliet Sorce / Alina Sumajin
Resnicow Schroeder Associates
Tel: 001-212-671-5158 / 5155
jsorce /

*Image above:
© Santu Mofokeng.
Courtesy the artist and MAKER/Lunetta Bartz, Johannesburg

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Walther Collection
April 6, 2011

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