SOUTH AFRICA IN APARTHEID AND AFTER

SFMOMA

December 1 - March 5, 2013.

An outstanding exhibition highlighting David Goldblatt, Ernest Cole and Billy Monk's works.

 

 

First, let's start with a brief introduction to the 3 photographers...

 

David Goldblatt

He was born in 1930 in South Africa in a Lituanian family. He is renowned for having portrayed the society, the people, the landscapes of his country, revealing its complexity at the time of the Apartheid but also more recently.

 

 

Ernest Cole

He was born in 1940 in Pretoria. He became the first South Africa’s black freelance photographer despite the fact he had to leave school when the Bantu Education Act was put into place.

He left South Africa in 1966 and achieved his project about the Apartheid. The book House of bondage was published but banned in South Africa.

The ANC used a lot of his pictures to illustrate its political and social publications. He died of cancer in New York, he was only 50.

 

 

Billy Monk

Bouncer at the Catacombs (a Cape Town nightclub) in the 60's, Billy Monk kind of recorded there a hidden and unexpected facet of South Africa at that time.

 

 

 

The exhibition showcases David Goldblatt's work. At his request, Ernest Cole and Billy Monk's photographs have been added.

 

 


  

We start with David Goldblatt's work. His early project In Boksburg (1982) portrays a typical suburban white community shaped by what the artist calls "white dreams and white proprieties." 

 


 

We go on with Ernest Cole's photographs where he caught injustice, misery, pain and harassment: black and white eloquent shots portraying the society in the 60's.

 

 


 

Nightlife in Cape Town with Billy Monk. We feel like we enter such a different and distant world.

 

 

At the end, color photographs by David Goldblatt follow this black and white ensemble. We won't say anything about his portraits so that you can form your own judgement.

 

 


 

 

This exhibition is extremely overwhelming, moving and unsettling all at once.

 

Unsettling because we can't help but seeing the connection with the segregation in the US , because we feel like this injustice and this raw violence belong to an ancient time while the Apartheid was torn down less than 20 years ago, unsettling also because this peiod's legacy is such a burden for this country and left deep scars.

 

But it is also so moving, maybe because some optimism pops up from time to time, because it is a very sincere view without voyeurism nor exhibitionism, because the 3 artists belong(ed) to this society, allowing them to put things into perspective, giving them hindsight that totally contributes to the strength of their photographs.

 

 

No need to say how much we loved this exhibition. Don't hesitate to go with the kids and basically, take your time, time to observe, to undertand and to learn.

 

 

 

 

SOUTH AFRICA IN APARTHEID AND AFTER

SFMOMA

December 1 - March 5, 2013

SFMOMA's webiste

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo credits dans l'ordre de l'article:

 

Ernest Cole, Every African must show his pass before being allowed to go about his business. Sometimes check broadens into search of a man's person and belongings., 1960–1966; gelatin silver print; 8 11/16 x 12 5/8 in. (22 x 32 cm); Courtesy of the Hasselblad Foundation, Gothenburg, Sweden; © The Ernest Cole Family Trust

 

David Goldblatt, Before the fight: amateur boxing at the Town Hall., 1980; gelatin silver print; 10 in. x 14 3/4 in. (30 x 40 cm); Courtesy of the artist and Goodman Gallery, South Africa; © David Goldblatt

 

Ernest Cole, Africans throng Johannesburg station platform during late afternoon rush., 1960–1966; gelatin silver print; 8 11/16 x 12 5/8 in. (22 x 32 cm); Courtesy of the Hasselblad Foundation, Gothenburg, Sweden; © The Ernest Cole Family Trust

 

Billy Monk, The Catacombs, 21 November 1967, 1967, printed 2011; gelatin silver print; 15 x 10 in. (38.1 x 25.4 cm); Collection SFMOMA, Accessions Committee Fund purchase; © Estate of Billy Monk

David Goldblatt, Willem Voster with friends, family, home and garden, Merweville, Western Cape. 2 March 2009, March 2, 2009; inkjet print; 43 11/16 x 159 7/16 in. (111 x 405 cm); Courtesy of the artist and Goodman Gallery, South Africa; © David Goldblatt


David Goldblatt, Meeting of the worker-management Liaison Committee of the Colgate-Palmolive Company, 1980; gelatin silver print; 19 11/16 x 19 11/16 in. (50 x 50 cm); Courtesy of the artist and Goodman Gallery, South Africa; © David Goldblatt