The exhibition Chasing Shadows, at Jeu de Paume, brings together a unique selection of the photographic essays made by Santu Mofokeng over the last thirty years.
Santu Mofokeng began his career as a street-photographer in the 1970s. He portrayed his family and friends in Soweto, South Africa. In 1985 he joined a photographers’ collective and began documenting the anti-apartheid struggle by covering that which was topical.
In 1986, Mofokeng began his ongoing research in places of religious ritual as well as his first photo essay: Train Church. At a time when South Africa was in a state of emergency due to apartheid, Mofokeng opted for photographic essays rather than documentary photography since this allowed for far greater complexity, rather than simply being able to depict an over-politicised depiction of repression and resistance.
In 1996, the artist began work on his photographic essay Chasing Shadows, a work still in progress today. His focus this time around is on religious rituals and the sites in which they are practised such as the caves of Motouleng and Mautse. In these pieces Mofokeng mostly probes the relation between landscape, memory and religion.
“Chasing Shadows – Santu Mofokeng, thirty years of photographic essays” presents a selection of more than 200 images. The photographic essays on display, some of which are lifelong works in progress, range from images of the Soweto of the artist’s youth to representations of the self and family histories of black South Africans. The exhibition also includes Mofokeng’s most recent project: Radiant Landscapes, commissioned especially for this retrospective.
Starting at Jeu de Paume, Paris (until 25 September 2011), the show will travel to the Kunsthalle Bern (07 October-27 November 2011), the Bergen Kunsthall (January-March 2012), Extra City Kunsthal Antwerpen (April-July 2012), and the Wits Art Museum Johannesburg (2013).
For further details, visit: www.jeudepaume.org.