Walther Collection Opens New Exhibition of Contemporary Landscape Photography of Southern Africa

Opening June 11, 2011, Appropriated Landscapes Includes Photography and Video by Ângela Fer reira, David Goldblatt, Santu Mofokeng, Jo Ractliffe, and Guy Tillim, Among Others

The complex layers of meaning embedded in the physical attributes of a place are explored in Appropriated Landscapes, an exhibition on landscape photography of Southern Africa, on view at the Walther Collection in Neu-Ulm / Burlafingen, Germany. Bringing together the photography and video of thirteen contemporary artists—including Jane Alexander, Mitch Epstein, Ângela Ferreira, Peter Friedl, David Goldblatt, Christine Meisner, Sabelo Mlangeni, Santu Mofokeng, Zanele Muholi, Jo Ractliffe, Penny Siopis, Mikhael Subotzky / Patrick Waterhouse, and Guy Tillim—the exhibition examines the effects of war, migration, colonization, industrialization, and ideology on the landscapes of South Africa, Namibia, Angola, and Mozambique. On view from June 11, 2011, through May 2012, Appropriated Landscapes reveals the distinct and varied histories of the region and its people, illustrating how landscape in its broadest definition is a construct of the mind—a work built up as much from the strata of memory as from layers of rock.

David Goldblatt, Squatter camp of foreign nationals between the N1 and railway property at Woodstock, CapeTown. 22 August 2006.

Appropriated Landscapes is presented throughout the three exhibition buildings on the Walther Collection’s campus—the Green House, Black House, and White Box. Each building provides a distinct environment for the presentation of photography and video, with the intimate galleries of the Green House pairing the work of David Goldblatt and Santu Mofokeng; the three galleries of the Black House presenting the haunting blackand-white photographs of Jo Ractliffe; and the White Box showcasing across its three floors a selection of photography and video by ten representative artists from the collection.

The main exhibition gallery on the lower level features works by Jane Alexander, Peter Friedl, David Goldblatt, Sabelo Mlangeni, Zanele Muholi, Penny Siopis, Mikhael Subotzky, and Guy Tillim. Organized by artist, the 61 works on view include images of architectonic structures, construction sites, forgotten rural areas, precarious public spheres, and social rituals and migration within Southern Africa. These works resonate with Mitch Epstein’s American Power project (2004 – 2008), depicting energy production sites in the United States and the repercussions of industrialization and expansion on the American landscape.


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