I am an avid traveler; an explorer of people, places and images and recently embarked on a fifteen day visit to Ghana in West Africa. My planned collaboration (with Musha Nehuleni) at the Artspace in Johannesburg, and the title of our exhibition "Crash", inspired me to document over five hundred photographic images of "crash meetings" between myself and people/places/images in Accra, Cape Coast and Elmina, and returned with a mountain of material. Needless to say it turned out to be a very difficult exercise to select the final 17 digital photographs for the original exhibition "Crash". True to my own convictions, I never want to produce a body of work that merely "look" the same as my previous work. "Crash" in Johannesburg turned out to be a near sold-out show.
My work for the "Talents" show, at Focus Contemporary, is a selection of only seven images from the original exhibition "Crash" at the Artspace Gallery in Johannesburg. Some of these photographs are already housed in highly prestigious permanent collections such as Sasol Gas in Johannesburg.
"Talents", like "Crash", is another major departure from images created earlier in my career. I am currently intensely fascinated by the vast possibilities of digital photography and the fine line between reality and fantasy. I am also interested in Quantum Physics, which postulates that objects in our known universe never really touch each other due to existing fields of energy (electrons) separating them. Do we, then, on a deep philosophical level, ever touch each other, and is it not this intense need for human touch that keep us searching for love, soul-mates and happiness?
I discovered the same human phenomenon in Ghana, thousands of kilometers away from South Africa. The parallel between the movie Crash and my experiences in Ghana form the central theme for my contribution to "Talents". My accidental collisions into people and places in Ghana are what construct the central theme for this body of work. It is about different people leading very different lives who "collide". I am intensely fascinated by these "chance meetings" and found images.
The photographic series on this exhibition is mostly about places and time, and only on a secondary level about the stories of the people who invited me into their often most sacred spaces. I have tried to specifically capture "time", which is often only visible in a small crack or a loose piece of paper on the captured image. The edge between reality and fantasy becomes blurred, and it often feels as if I manipulated the photographic images digitally. However, all images are pure digital photographs, printed as archival Light-Jet prints. One Johannesburg art critic completely misread my artistic intentions and compared my work to that of 70's artist, Sherrie Levine, who blatantly photographed other photographers' works and claimed the final images as her "own". This was NOT my intention at all.
21 Jul - 3 Sept 2007
The winter Issue -
Focus Contemporary Art Gallery, Long Street, Cape Town, South Africa. Director: Migo Manz, www.focus contemporary.co.za