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Photographer David Goldblatt, currently showing work in Johannesburg and New York, has a new solo show opening in Cape Town in November

David Goldblatt. Refugees from Zimbabwe sheltering in the Central Methodist Church on Pritchard Street, in the city. 22 March 2009

Goldblatt, the 2010 Lucie Award Lifetime Achievement Honoree who turns 80 in
November, is enjoying a busy work season. He is currently showing his
photographs in Johannesburg and New York, with a further solo show due to open
in Cape Town in November.

exhibition TJ: Some things old, some
things new and some much the same, on view at the Goodman Gallery,
Johannesburg, until November 6, offers viewers an expansive overview of five
decades of images made in and about Johannesburg, Goldblatt’s home city.

“One of the
most damaging things that apartheid did to us,” Goldblatt stated in a press
release accompanying the exhibition, “was that it denied us the experience of
each other’s lives. Apartheid has succeeded all too well. It might have failed
in its fundamental purpose of ruling the country for the next thousand years in
that fashion, but it succeeded in dividing us very deeply and it will take a
long time to overcome that.”
David Goldblatt, HF Verwoerd Building, Headquarters of the Provincial Administration, Inaugurated on 17 October 1969, Bloemfontein, Orange Free State. December 26, 1990 Gelatin silver print, 27.5 x 34.5cm
The first
South African to be given a one-person exhibition at New York’s Museum of
Modern Art, in 1998, Goldblatt’s work is currently assembled on the exhibition The Original Copy: Photography of Sculpture,
1839 to Today, until November 1. Curated by MoMA’s photography curator
Roxana Marcoci, The Original Copy
presents a critical examination of the intersections between photography and
sculpture, exploring how the one medium has been implicated in the analysis and
creative redefinition of the other.

together 300 pictures, magazines and journals by more than one hundred artists
from the dawn of modernism to the present, the exhibition looks at the ways in
which photography at once informs and challenges our understanding of what
sculpture is. Goldblatt is represented by two gelatin silver prints, one
portraying a monument to Voortrekker leader Karel Landman, photographed in 1993
in the Eastern Cape, the other depicting a statue of former prime minister and
“architect of apartheid”, HF Verwoerd, in front of the headquarters of the
Orange Free State Provincial Administration in Bloemfontein, photographed in
David Goldblatt, Monument to Karel Landman, Voortrekker Leader, De Kol, Eastern Cape. April 10, 1993, Gelatin silver print, 27.9 x 34.8cm
On Monday,
November 1, an exhibition of photographs by Goldblatt opens at the South
African Jewish Museum, located in Cape Town’s Company’s Garden. Entitled Kith, Kin & Khaya, the exhibition
was assembled by The Jewish Museum in New York City, where it received
widespread attention.

In a review
published in The New York Review of Books in August,
Joseph Lelyveld, a former correspondent and editor of The New York Times, remarked: “As a photographer, Goldblatt’s
distinctive way has always been to go deeper, to find an oblique angle that
went right to the heart of the matter: an image bespeaking loneliness, stunted
aspiration, fragile pride on both sides of the racial divide, not infrequently
with an intimation of imminent violence, or its result.”

One notable
reason to consider visiting this exhibition hinges on a point of technicality:
over the past decade, Goldblatt has printed many of his photographs using a
digital inkjet process refined by printer Tony Meintjies; by distinction, Kith, Kin & Khaya consists only
black and white gelatin silver prints. The works on show date from 1948 and extend
up until 2009.
TJ / Double Negative, by David Goldblatt & Ivan Vladislavic (Umuzi, 2010), ISBN 978-1-4152-0128-2
may be interested to note that Goldblatt has two new books, Kith, Kin and
Khaya: South African Photographs, a
200-page catalogue published by the Goodman Gallery (paperback, RRP
$40 in US), and TJ / Double Negative,
a 300-page paperback photobook by Goldblatt with a paperback novel by
Johannesburg author Ivan Vladislavic embedded in a dummy book, together in a
sleeved set (RRP R1000).

“I try to
imagine the lives going on in all these houses, the domestic dramas, the family
sagas, it seems impossibly complicated,” reads a snatch of text from
Vladislavic’s novel. “How could you ever do justice to something so rich in
detail? You couldn’t do it in a novel, let alone a photograph.”

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