The exhibition “Beyond the Binary – Group Show” is currently on view at The Walther Collection Museum in Neu-Ulm, Germany through November 19, 2023. This exhibition is the first dialogical exhibition of contemporary African photography by Santu Mofokeng (1956-2020) and David Goldblatt (1930-2018). Curated by art historian Tamar Garb, it presents a unique curatorial approach structured around three main themes and sub-chapters. This exhibition seeks to challenge the usual separation between the works of these two extraordinary photographers and allows for surprising juxtapositions and new perspectives.
The first thematic section, Earthscapes, presents Santu Mofokeng and David Goldblatt‘s photographic investigations of the landscape and explores how its topography is affected by culture and human habitation. The second section, Edifices, focuses on South African homes, their physical structures as well as their social fabric and location. David Goldblatt’s and Santu Mofokeng’s works explore what defines the home and the forces by which this space can be easily and ruthlessly destroyed. The third section, Sociality, explores how social experience is played out in photography. It brings together images of people, most often in groups, and explores the contacts and contexts they share.
The two photographers set out to document the everyday life and experience of South Africa during apartheid and its aftermath. While they are often pitted against each other, with David Goldblatt seen as an insightful social documentarian and Santu Mofokeng as a visionary poet, this exhibition aims to challenge this separation and allow the images to move beyond preconceived labels and patterns of perception. By combining their works in new ways, the exhibition seeks to bring out the specificity of each while challenging the binaries through which they are usually perceived.
The exhibition thus offers new ways of looking at Santu Mofokeng’s and David Goldblatt’s works by allowing for unexpected juxtapositions and renewed perspectives. It invites the public to discover the specificity of each work while challenging preconceived categorizations and stereotypes. “Beyond the Binary – Group Show” is therefore a must-see event for lovers of contemporary photography and those interested in discovering new and innovative perspectives on art.