David Goldblatt: Structures of Dominion and Democracy
6 September - 18 October 2014
Marian Goodman Gallery, Paris is very pleased to present an exhibition of photographs by David Goldblatt. The show is dedicated to the series Structures, one of the major body of works by the artist described by the writer Nadine Gordimer as “an extraordinary visual history of a country and its people". 1
Since the 1980s David Goldblatt has been travelling in every province of South Africa and photographed monuments and buildings, public or private, secular or religious, built from the Colonial era with the idea that the architecture reveals something about the people who built them.
“For as long as building or structures is, it may 'tell' something of the needs, imperatives and values of those who put it there, of those who used it, and of the ideologies upon which their beliefs and lives may have been contingent." 2
Black and white photographs from the series taken in the 80s and 90s have been shown in an exhibition at MoMA in 1998 entitled South Africa: The Structure of Things Then. Since then David Goldblatt has taken new images of buildings built after apartheid.
In the 1980s and 90s I photographed structures that we South Africans had made during the Era of Baasskap,* that time, from about 1660 until 1990, in which Whites gradually came to exert dominion over all of South Africa and its peoples. It was the values we had expressed in those structures that I sought and attempted to elicit in photographs and text.
Beginning in 1999 – five years after the first democratic elections that brought the African National Congress led by Nelson Mandela to power - and continuing into the present, I have engaged in a similar photography of some of the structures that have emerged with our democracy and that I believe are expressive of values in this new, still nascent and yet in many ways old way of being in our society.
The photographs exhibited at the Marian Goodman Gallery are from these two separate yet intimately connected bodies of work, Dominion and Democracy.." 3
David Goldblatt’s recent work continues to explore the structuring of public and private life as depicted in series like On the Mines (about the Witwatersrand gold mines in the 60s), The Transported of KwaNdebele, Intersections, Particulars etc. with many corresponding publications.
David Goldblatt was born in 1930 in Randfontain near Johannesburg. He was the recipient of several prestigious awards such as the ICP Infinity Lifetime Achievement award in 2013, Henri Cartier-Bresson award in 2009 and the Hasselblad award in 2006. His work has been exhibited in many important museums. Between 2001 and 2003, a major retrospective David Goldblatt fifty-one years, with more than two hundred photographs, travelled in the United States and Europe. (AXA Gallery in New York, Museu d’Art Contemporani in Barcelona (MACBA), Witte de With – Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam, Centro Cultural de Belem in Lisbon, Museum of Modern Art in Oxford, Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels and Lenbachhaus in Munich ). In Paris, the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson presented an exhibition of works from his project TJ in 2011.
During the opening reception, the gallery is pleased to host the book launch of Photographers’ References: David Goldblatt, a book of conversations between David Goldblatt and Baptiste Lignel.
1 Nadine Gordimer, «Sudden Life, Never Seen or Suspected Before: David Goldblatt’s photographs», in Fifty-on years. David Goldblatt, Macba,
2 David Goldblatt, «Structures», text published in the frame of the exhibition «Home Land», The Market Theatre Gallery, Johannesburg, 1987.
* Afrikaans for mastership or White domination.
3 David Golblatt, juillet 2014