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Cape art picks: November 11 2011

David Goldblatt’s portrait photography is explored in a new retrospective, while photojournalists Justin Fox and Don Pinnock document their travels.

? Artist David Goldblatt quotes two American photographers to explain his philosophy of ­portraiture. Bill Brandt, who claims a good portrait tells something of the ­subject’s past while ­suggesting his or her future, and Evelyn Hofer, who claims that regardless of who they shoot, ­photographers ­photograph ­themselves.

Portraits,
which brings together old and new ­portraits of South Africans taken over the course of Goldblatt’s 50-year career, reveals both these approaches. With ­subjects ranging from politicians to ­domestic workers, Goldblatt refuses to acknowledge the ­difference between grand and small subjects or grand and small ­questions relating to everyday life. His images serve to reveal the ­similarities between us rather than the differences. The show includes the series Ex-Offenders, in which Goldblatt invites convicted and alleged criminals to revisit the scene of the crime of which they had been accused and to be photographed there.

Challenging the spectacle of “the event” of the crime, these works burrow under the statistics to reveal a starker, more honest, much sadder face of crime in South Africa.

Goodman Gallery, 3rd floor, Fairweather House, 176 Sir Lowry Road, Woodstock, until December 10. Tel: 021 462 7573/4. Website: goodmangallerycape.com.

? An artistic dialogue, a travelogue, a collection of stories and images, both visual and verbal, ­irreverent and brilliant, Postcards from the Road brings together works by renowned photojournalists Justin Fox and Don Pinnock.

Presented as postcards, with image and text in juxtaposition, the works form a narrative of the places to which the photojournalists have travelled and the different ways in which these journeys can be seen.

Reveling in inconsistencies, games and chance encounters, Fox and Pinnock aim not simply to bridge distances but to illuminate them. ­Underlying the ­narrative’s delightful sense of whimsy lies a deeply ­penetrating seriousness about absence and ­presence and the capacity for ­surroundings to act as portraits.

David Krut Projects, ­Montebello Design Centre, 31 ­Newlands ­Avenue, Newlands, until December 3. Tel: 021 685 0676. ­Website: davidkrutprojectscapetown.com.

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Miles Keylock
Guest Author

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