David Goldblatt

David Goldblatt's (1930-2018) first exhibition in a commercial gallery in Australia presents striking black-and-white and colour photographs documenting South Africa’s people, culture and turbulent history.

Annandale Galleries Director Bill Gregory met Goldblatt in 1995 in Johanesburg, where the artist took him out for a day out on ‘the reef’ – the stretch of small hills on which the city is built, once brimming with gold. ‘We visited a number of abandoned mine shafts and related sites that he wanted me to see’, reflects Bill, ‘He [David] was incredibly passionate about these places and said they were a huge part of the cultural history of South Africa, resonating with both the wealth they produced and the incredible pain and suffering endured by so many to produce that wealth. He appeared to be in a race against time and decay to document them before they disappeared’. Now, twenty-four years later, Annandale Galleries presents a selection of photographs from Goldblatt’s oeuvre that evince narratives of race, industry, human values and the land.

The artist’s family was involved in selecting these works, which have been curated as two stylistic sections. Goldblatt’s portraits or ‘Particulars’ present close-ups of anonymous figures, the textures and gestures of the human body being brought into sharp focus, tearing down divisions and whispering the fundamental truth of our shared humanity. The second part of the show is Goldblatt’s later colour landscapes or ‘Intersections’, which capture desolate, unclassical vistas – dry grasslands, makeshift shacks, half-built suburbs, deserted farms, broken fences – that speak of hardship and resilience.  Firmly rejecting the picturesque, these works shine a reflective light on Goldblatt’s sensitive and unflinching documentary eye.

David Goldblatt
4 September – 26 October 2019
Annandale Galleries, Sydney


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