via Art&Education :
David Goldblatt: Intersections
July 8 through August 26, 2007
University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
2626 Bancroft Way
Berkeley, CA 94720
t. (510) 642-0808
f. (510) 642-4889
TDD: (510) 642-8734
Wednesday and Friday to Sunday, 11 to 5; Thursday 11 to 7.
Closed Monday and Tuesday
The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) presents David Goldblatt: Intersections, an exhibition of color photographs of 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, 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 crosscurrents of values, ideas, spaces, and people that make up South Africa today. 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/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; with color, he felt, he could not express his rage, revulsion, and fear of the ideology of apartheid. With the beginning of a new political and social era after the abolition of apartheid and South Africa's first democratic elections in 1994, Goldblatt felt the need to expand the expressive possibilities of his work. A new generation of color films and the remarkable control of contrast and color saturation enabled by digital reproduction have made that possible for him. 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's most recent works have accented the most topical and urgent problem in South Africa: HIV-AIDS. South Africa has one of the highest percentages of HIV-AIDS victims in the world. Although there are signs of change, the government has reacted less than decisively, even to the extent of denying the problem. There are several public campaigns to heighten awareness of the disease and of safe sex, among them the "planting" of the "AIDS ribbon" in the social landscape where, as Goldblatt's photographs show, it is often submerged and seemingly forgotten.
David Goldblatt: Intersectionswas organized for the Museum Kunst Palast, Düsseldorf, Germany, by Dr. Christoph Danelzik-Bruggemann, curator.