ART FIRST, EASTCASTLE STREET, LONDON
AS THE GRASS GROWS/MARKING TIME
photographs from post-apartheid South Africa
|Abandoned Sportsfield, Mzwiwabantu, Britstown,|
|Merino Inn Hotel, Colesburg|
'Now I see' is our normal visual response as we negotiate the world outside us. Then we move on. The effect of this terse, repetitive exhibition - full of real situations and real people, but set out without commentary - suggests that the artist is interested in stopping the 'Now I see' moment, and giving us the chance to reflect on time past, present and future.
Downstairs in Art First's lower gallery are selected works from two photographic essays by South African photographer Graeme Williams. Between 1989 and 1994 the artist covered South Africa's transition to democracy for Reuters and other news organisations. In Marking Time his new images (2008-2013) offer a compelling view of the shifts and realities of a nation working out the challenges of the first 20 years of a new democracy. Using a square format and bleached light Marking Time focuses on unfinished, abandoned, re-imagined and re-invented structures in a quickly-changing landscape: shared electricity supply points, a shack without windows, an abandoned brick factory.
|Burgersdorp South Africa,2015, Ashenkosi Gatyeni (18)|
Nearby As the Grass Grows is a collection of portraits of the first generation born after the end of apartheid, eligible and free to vote for the first time in the 2014 elections. All we know about Athenkosi is that he:
left school after Grade 6 when his father told him that he needed to find some work so that he could help with his family. 'I work a bit as a DJ. I have never really thought about what I want to become'.
The captions are brief, just a few facts plus date, place and name: Mosele, Dimpho, Ntombi, Siphosethu, Jacob and Vuyisa. Real people.