Goodman Gallery Cape Town presents Structures, a group exhibition bringing together works by Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, Carlos Garaicoa, David Goldblatt, Mikhael Subotzky and Jeremy Wafer. The exhibition is concerned with structures both monumental and mundane, and aims to examine the ways in which they inform the environments we inhabit, and what they suggest about the underlying systems that give rise to them.
David Goldblatt’s series South Africa: The Structure of Things Then deals in part with the architectural landscape of Apartheid South Africa and the relationship between the governing ideology of the time and its physical manifestations across the country. Mikhael Subotzky’s ongoing Security series is in some ways a contemporary response, documenting the surveillance cameras, security huts and electrified fences of the modern suburban landscape, and examining the links between poverty, race, crime and the effects of a legacy of discriminatory spatial planning.
Bertolt Brecht’s War Primer is a book of what Brecht called ‘photo-epigrams’: newspaper and magazine clippings of images of the Second World War, each captioned with a 4-line poem. In Poor Monuments, Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin juxtapose pages from Brecht’s original book with images of modern conflicts (in particular the so-called War on Terror) to look at the changing (and sometimes unchanging) narrative of war, and the systems responsible for crafting and disseminating it.
Cuban-born Carlos Garacioa’s Para transformer la palabra política en hechos, finalmente II (To transform political speech into facts, finally) takes as its subject the city as a site for collective memory and imagination, while a new floor sculpture by Jeremy Wafer contemplates abstract and physical notions of space, and the degree to which a space is produced by the structures it contains.
The Late Estate of Broomberg & Chanarin is the entity that holds the collaborative work of Adam Broomberg (b. 1970, Johannesburg, South Africa) and Oliver Chanarin (b. 1971, London, UK) made over a twenty year period.
In February 2021 the artists announced the death of their partnership on the occasion of their first posthumous retrospective at Fabra I Coats Contemporary Art Center, Barcelona, providing an opportunity to survey two decades of collaborative work.
Their acclaimed body of work considered themes of surveillance, warfare, and institutional authority. Having stood at the frontlines of war, Broomberg and Chanarin captured zones of conflict not as documentarians, but rather as unassuming witnesses. Their body of work resisted the allure of being purely representational imagery and instead considered how a photograph can capture more than just a visual encounter. Tackling politics,religion, war and history, Broomberg and Chanarin examined the fault lines associated with imagery, creating new responses and pathways towards an understanding of the human condition.
Major solo exhibition took place at the Centre Georges Pompidou (2018) and the Hasselblad Center (2017). Their participation in international group shows included the Yokohama Trienniale (2017), Documenta, Kassel (2017), The British Art Show 8 (2015-2017), Conflict, Time, Photography at Tate Modern (2015); Shanghai Biennale (2014); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2014); Tate Britain (2014), and the Gwanju Biennale (2012). Their work is held in major public and private collections including Pompidou, Tate, MoMA, Yale, Stedelijk, V&A, the Art Gallery of Ontario, Cleveland Museum of Art, and Baltimore Museum of Art.
Major awards included the ICP Infinity Award (2014) for Holy Bible, and the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize (2013) for War Primer 2. Broomberg and Chanarin are the winners of the Arles Photo Text Award 2018 for their paper back edition of War Primer 2, published by MACK.
Both Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin continue to work independently, they are professors of photography at the Hochschule für bildende Künste (HFBK) in Hamburg and teach on the MA Photography & Society programme at The Royal Academy of Art (KABK),The Hague which they co-designed.
Carlos Garaicoa (B. 1967 Havana, Cuba) studied thermodynamics and later painting at the Instituto Superior de Arte, Havana (1989 – 1994).
Garaicoa developed a multidisciplinary approach to address issues of culture and politics, particularly Cuban, through the study of architecture, urbanism and history. He focuses on a dialogue between art and urban space through which investigates the social structure of our cities in terms of their architecture. Through a wide variety of materials and media, Garaicoa found ways to criticise modernist Utopian architecture and the collapse of the 20th century ideologies.
Garaicoa’shas held numerous solo exhibitions including Lunds Konsthall and Skissernass Museum, Lund (2019); Parasol Unit Foundation, London (2018); Fondazione Merz, Torino (2017); MAAT, Lisbon (2017); Azkuna Zentroa, Bilbao (2017); Museum Villa Stuck, Munich (2016); Nasjonalmuseet, Oslo (2015); CA2M Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo, Móstoles, Madrid (2014); Fundación Botín, Santander (2014); NC-Arte and FLORA ars + natura, Bogotá (2014); Kunsthaus Baselland Muttenz, Basel(2012); Kunstverein Braunschweig, Brunswick, Germany (2012); Contemporary Art Museum, Institute for Research in Art, Tampa (2007); H.F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York (2011); Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam (SMBA), Amsterdam (2010); Centre d’Art la Panera, Lérida (2011); Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Caja de Burgos (CAB), Burgos (2011); National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST), Athens (2011); Inhotim Instituto de Arte Contemporáneo, Brumadinho (2012); Caixa Cultural, Río de Janeiro (2008); Museo ICO (2012) and Matadero (2010), Madrid; IMMA, Dublin (2010); Palau de la Virreina, Barcelona (2006); Museum of Contemporary Art (M.O.C.A), Los Angeles (2005); Biblioteca Luis Ángel Arango, Bogotá (2000).
Garaicoa has participated in prestigious international events such as the Biennials of Havana (1991, 1994, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2009, 2012, 2015), Shanghai (2010), São Paulo (1998, 2004), Venice (2009, 2005), Johannesburg (1995), Liverpool (2006) and Moscow (2005), the Triennials of Auckland (2007), San Juan (2004), Yokohama (2001) and Echigo-Tsumari (2012); Documenta 11 (2003) and 14 (2017) and PhotoEspaña 12 (2012).
In 2005 Garaicoa received the XXXIX International Contemporary Art Prize Foundation “Pierre de Monaco” in Montecarlo, and the Katherine S. Marmor Award in Los Angeles.
Garaicoa currently lives and works between Havana and Madrid.
Jeremey Wafer (b. 1953, Durban, South Africa) grew up in Nkwalini in what was then Zululand. He studied fine art at the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg (B.A.F.A.1979) and at the University of the Witwatersrand (B.A. Hons. in Art History 1980 and M.A. Fine Art 1987).
Wafer has taught in the Fine Art Departments of the former Technikon Natal (now DUT) and Technikon Witwatersrand (now UJ) before being appointed Associate Professor. Wafer received his PhD in 2016 and was subsequently appointed full professor of Sculpture in the School of Arts of the University of the Witwatersrand.
Wafer is the recipient of numerous awards and residencies, notably the Standard Bank National Drawing Prize in 1987 and the Sasol Wax Art Award in 2006. His work featured on the South African Pavilion of the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015. Wafer has exhibited in South Africa and internationally, his work is represented in the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC, the South African National Gallery, the Johannesburg Art Gallery as well as in many other museum, private and corporate collections.
Wafer lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa.
David Goldblatt (1930 – 2018) was born in Randfontein, a small mining town outside of Johannesburg, South Africa. He began exploring the medium of photography after matriculating in 1948 but only formally made photography his profession after his father died in 1962 and the family business, a mining concession store, was sold. In the years that followed, while Goldblatt supported his family through photography commissions and magazine work, he produced more than ten major photographic series, documenting the people, landscapes and structures of South Africa.
In 1989, Goldblatt founded the Market Photography Workshop, a training institution in Johannesburg, for aspiring photographers. In 1998 he was the first South African to have a solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 2001, a retrospective of his work, David Goldblatt Fifty-One Years began a tour of galleries and museums. He was one of the few South African artists to exhibit at Documenta 11 (2002) and Documenta 12 (2007) in Kassel, Germany. He has held solo exhibitions at the Jewish Museum and the New Museum, both in New York. His work was included in the exhibition ILLUMInations at the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011, and has featured on shows at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Barbican Centre in London. In 2017, Goldblatt installed a series of portraits from his photographic essay Ex-Offenders in former prisons in Birmingham and Manchester. The portraits depict men and women, from South African and the UK, at the scene of their crimes, with accompanying texts that relate the subjects’ stories in their words. In the last year of his life, two major retrospectives were opened at Centre Pompidou in Paris, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney. The Goldblatt Archive is held by Yale University, in New Haven, Connecticut.
Goldblatt is the recipient of the 2006 Hasselblad award, the 2009 Henri Cartier-Bresson Award, the 2013 ICP Infinity Award and in 2016, he was awarded the Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres by the Ministry of Culture of France.
Mikhael Subotzky (b. 1981, Cape Town) is a Johannesburg based artist whose works in multiple mediums (including film installation, video, photography, collage and painting) attempt to engage critically with the instability of images and the politics of representation.
Subotzky has exhibited in a number of important international exhibitions, including most recently Masculinities: Liberation through Photography at the Barbican in London (2020), Inheritance: Recent Video Art from Africa at the Fowler Museum (UCLA) in Los Angeles (2019) and Ex Africa in various venues in Brazil (2017-18). His award-winning Ponte City project (co-authored with Patrick Waterhouse) was presented at Art Basel Unlimited in 2018. The full exhibition and archive of this
project has since been acquired by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and will be the subject of a monographic exhibition there in 2021.
Subotzky’s work is collected widely by international institutions, including the Museum of Modern Art (New York), Solomon R Guggenheim Museum (New York), the National Gallery of Art (Washington), Tate (London), Centre Pompidou (Paris), the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the South African National Gallery, among others.
Subotzky’s work was included in Lubumbashi (2013) and Liverpool (2012) biennials. Pixel Interface, a multi-component video installation, was included in All The World’s Futures, curated by Okwui Enwezor at the 56th Venice Biennale (2015).