Appropriated Landscapes
Contemporary African Photography from The Walther Collection

6/16/2011 — 5/13/2012

DG 989 Walther Collection David Goldblatt Squatter Camp Cape Town

Conceptual Framework

The second exhibition in a three-year curatorial investigation of contemporary, modern and historical African photography, Appropriated Landscapes examines the effects of war, migration, colonization, industrialization, and ideology on the landscape of Southern Africa. The exhibition explores 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.

Appropriated Landscapes, curated by Corinne Diserens, comprises over 200 photographic and video works from fourteen contemporary artists, and will fill all nine galleries of The Walther Collection. It is divided into three distinct modules, presented respectively in the three exhibition buildings of The Walther Collection.

GT 943 04 Guy Tillim Grande Hotel Ave Patrice Lumumba
Guy Tillim, Grand Hotel, Beira, Mozambique, "Avenue Patrice Lumumba," 2008

The White Cube

The White Box, the campus' main exhibition building, features photography and video on each of its three floors. Here we encounter depictions of landscape that represent not only a diversity of geopolitical positions, but a typology of the genre itself. Organized by artist, the images of South African and Mozambican man-altered landscapes, architecture, social rituals and migration resonate with Mitch Epstein's "American Power" project, which depicts the production of energy, and the repercussions of industrialization and expansion on the American landscape.

Mitch Epstein, Amos Coal Power Plant, Raymond, West Virginia, "American Power," 2004

The Black House

Sixty black-and-white photographs from Jo Ractliffe's newest body of work will be presented in the Black House. Her series "As Terras do Fim do Mundo" (The Lands of the end of the World) documents the "landscape of leftovers" created by Angola's lengthy civil war.

JR 1091 Walther Collection Ractliffe Jo As Terras Do Fim Do Mundo Remains Of The Trench System Cuban Base Namibe 2010
Jo Ractliffe, Remains of the trench system, Cuban base, Namibe, "As Terras do Fim do Mundo," 2009

The Green House

The cornerstone of the exhibition is a dual presentation in the Green House of works by South African photographers David Goldblatt and Santu Mofokeng. Goldblatt has documented the changing landscape of South Africa for more than sixty years, giving particular attention to man-altered landscapes.

DG 1436 David Goldblatt Soweto
David Goldblatt, Soweto: Meadowlands from Mofolo, Soweto, Johannesburg, September 1972
SM 1028 Santu Mofokeng Tembisa Billboards
Santu Mofokeng, Winter in Tembisa, from the series "Billboards," 2004
© Santu Mofokeng Foundation. Courtesy Lunetta Bartz, MAKER, Johannesburg

His photographic examinations appear in dialogue with Mofokeng's images of everyday life in the townships, aspects of spiritual life in black South Africa, and landscapes of trauma. On view in the lower level is Christine Meisner's video project "The Present."

For further information, please see our exhibition guide.

Artworks on display

    Artists on display

    Press reviews

    Appropriated Landscapes: Announcement on e-flux

    Read more


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