Images of post-apartheid South Africa by one of world's most important contemporary documentary photographers.
Berkeley, CA, May 15, 2007 - The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) presents David Goldblatt: Intersections, an exhibition of color photographs of daily life in post-apartheid South Africa by one of the world's leading documentary photographers. David Goldblatt's images of his native country have gained worldwide recognition for their intimate, unflinching views of a culture ravaged by prejudice and injustice. David Goldblatt: Intersections features two recent series of work, Johannesburg Intersections and Platteland Intersections, which show the changing face of contemporary South Africa. The exhibition opens at the museum on July 8 and runs through August 26, 2007. Goldblatt will take part in a conversation in the museum galleries with Okwui Enwezor, dean of academic affairs and senior vice-president at the San Francisco Art Institute on Sunday, July 8, at 3 p.m.
Goldblatt, who was born in Randfontein, South Africa, in 1930, first started photographing his native country in 1948, the same year the National Party came to power and instituted the policy of apartheid. Since that time, Goldblatt has photographed the South African people, landscape, and cities, creating arresting images that follow in the tradition of the great documentary photography of the twentieth century.
The photographs featured in Johannesburg Intersections reveal the contrasts that make up South Africa today: white and black, rural and urban, desperate and hopeful. Goldblatt captures many of the significant social changes that have occurred in the past decade, including the large numbers of black low-wage workers who now live in the cities, and the white residents and businesses that have relocated from the cities to newly built suburbs and office parks. He also depicts the crude cemeteries that are evidence of the impact of HIV and AIDS in the townships, and political change in the form of the elected officials who lead municipalities created following government reforms. In Platteland Intersections, Goldblatt shows the vastness of the landscape, the damage done to the land by the mining industry, and the dignity of the people living on the land.
Goldblatt photographed exclusively in black and white until well into the 1990s. Following the dismantling of apartheid and South Africa's first democratic elections in 1994, he began to look for new expressive possibilities for his work, and eventually turned to color photography and digital photography. This important transition only came about after new developments in scanning and printing technology that allowed Goldblatt to achieve the same sense of depth in his color work that he had in his black and white photography. His more recent work, including the series featured in David Goldblatt: Intersections, uses large-format photography combined with advanced ink-jet papers to produce images that are redolent of the colors and light of the South African landscape.
Goldblatt's photographs of life in South Africa have been published in a large number of magazines and books. His major publication, South Africa: The Structure of Things Then, was released in 1998 to critical acclaim, and that same year a solo exhibition of his work was held at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. It wasn't until 2002 that Goldblatt gained international recognition with an exhibition of two groups of photographs at the contemporary art exhibition Documenta 11. Today his work is in major collections around the world, including the French National Collection and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Goldblatt has authored many books, including two with the novelist Nadine Gordimer.
Conversation with the Artist
David Goldblatt and Okwui Enwezor
Sunday, July 8, 3:30 p.m., Gallery 2
Joining David Goldblatt for a conversation about his work will be Okwui Enwezor, a recognized expert in international contemporary art and a longtime friend of the artist. The two will draw on their personal experiences of Africa as well as their mutual expertise in art and photography, to examine Goldblatt's photographs in terms of both their visual and social content.
Okwui Enwezor is dean of academic affairs and senior vice-president at the San Francisco Art Institute. He was artistic director of the 2006 Seville Biennial (BIACS2) in Spain; Documenta 11 in Kassel, Germany; and the 2nd Johannesburg Biennial. He has curated numerous exhibitions around the world, including Snap Judgments: New Positions in Contemporary African Photography and David Goldblatt: Fifty-One Years.
The exhibition is accompanied by a publication, David Goldblatt: Intersections ($60, hardcover), the first complete volume to date of Goldblatt's color photography. Contact the Museum Store at (510) 642-1475, or visit the store online at bampfa.berkeley.edu/store.
The UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) aims to inspire the imagination and ignite critical dialogue through contemporary and historical art and film, engaging audiences from the campus, Bay Area community, and beyond. BAM/PFA is one of the largest university art museums in the United States in both size and attendance, presenting fifteen art exhibitions and five hundred film programs each year. The museum's collection of more than 15,000 works includes exceptional examples of mid-twentieth-century painting, including important works by Hans Hofmann, Jackson Pollock, Eva Hesse, and Mark Rothko, as well as historical and contemporary Asian art, early American painting, Conceptual and contemporary international art, and California and Bay Area art. The PFA film and video collection now includes the largest group of Japanese films outside of Japan, as well as impressive holdings of Soviet silents, West Coast avant-garde cinema, seminal video art, rare animation, Central Asian productions, Eastern European cinema, and international classics.
David Goldblatt: Intersections was organized for the Museum Kunst Palast, Düsseldorf, Germany, by Dr. Christoph Danelzik-Bruggemann, curator.
The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Additional support is provided by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Koret Foundation, the Bernard Osher Foundation, Packard Humanities Institute, the Henry Luce Foundation, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Columbia Foundation, the Christensen Fund, the William H. Donner Foundation, San Francisco Foundation, Gap Inc., other private foundations and corporations, and our individual donors and members. Major endowment support has been provided by the Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation and by George Gund III.
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