Goodman Gallery Johannesburg
24 April – 26 May 2018
Exhibition opening Tuesday 24 April at 19:00 with a talk by the artists at 18:00
Over one trillion images were produced in the world last year, mostly distributed on social media; mostly tools of self-promotion and self-flagellation.
For the past twenty years, Broomberg & Chanarin have engaged in a forensic and paranoid interrogation of the medium of photography in search of its source code; the cultural, emotional, political and financial currency of photographs.
In Bandage the knife not the wound, the artists reflect on their precarious sense of place and belonging to their homeland (South Africa), to photography and to each other by turning to the handful of images that remain meaningful to them. These include a profile of Pasolini’s head taken in the morgue, an anonymous figure falling through space, scanned from a police instruction manual and David Scherman’s photograph of Lee Miller in Hitler’s bath – images that refuse to be deleted and that resurface again and again in their exchanges.
Turning to their own archives, and embracing accidents and mishaps, Broomberg & Chanarin have produced a series of montages, playing a game of visual ping-pong that recalls the surrealist method exquisite corpse, where one image responds to the next. They have reproduced the results in incremental layers on the backs of unfolded cardboard boxes used for packaging photographic paper. Dissecting their images along industrial folds and perforations on this cheap, readily available material suggests something frightening about the life of images in the digital age; algorithmic, disposable and further than ever from the original.
Broomberg & Chanarin live in Berlin and London respectively. They have had numerous international exhibitions, most recently at the Centre Pompidou as well as The Museum of Modern Art, Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool, The Gwagnju Biennale, the Shanghai Biennale, and the Stedelijk Museum.
Broomberg & Chanarin are Professors of photography at the Hochschule für bildende Künste in Hamburg. Their work is represented in major public and private collections, including Tate Modern, The Museum of Modern Art, the Stedelijk Museum, The Centre Pompidou, Victoria and Albert Museum, Cleveland Museum of Art, The International Center of Photography and the Art Gallery of Ontario. They were awarded the ICP Infinity Award 2014 for their publication, Holy Bible, and in 2013 they were awarded the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize for War Primer 2.
Adam Broomberg (b. 1970, Johannesburg, South Africa) and Oliver Chanarin (b. 1971, London, UK) are artists living and working between London and Berlin. 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.
Their work considers themes of surveillance, warfare, and institutional authority. Having stood at the frontlines of war, Broomberg and Chanarin have captured zones of conflict not as documentarians, but rather as unassuming witnesses. Their images have resisted the allure of being purely representational, and have instead considered how a photograph can capture more than just a visual encounter. Tackling politics,religion, war and history, Broomberg and Chanarin prise open the fault lines associated with such imagery, creating new responses and pathways towards an understanding of the human condition.
Together they have had numerous solo exhibitions most recently at The Centre Georges Pompidou (2018) and the Hasselblad Center (2017). Their participation in international group shows include 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 include 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.