David Goldblatt   (b. 1930)
Remains of long-drop lavatories built for the 'closer settlement camp' of Frankfort, Eastern Cape. The 5000 members of the black farming community of Mgwali were to have been forcibly removed and resettled here after their land was declared a 'black spot' by the apartheid government in 1983. However, the people of Mgwali resisted strongly and in 1986 the removal scheme was dropped. The lavatories were gradually stripped of their usable building materials by people in the area and all that is left now are concrete bases over some 1500 anatomically shaped holes in the veld. 22 February 2006

Pigment ink on cotton rag paper
112 x 138cm
Edition of 10

Goldblatt is the recipient of the 2006 Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography. An exhibition of his work, curated and organised by the Hasselblad Center, opened in conjunction with the award ceremony in Göteborg, Sweden, in late November 2006. He was also a festival artist at the Rencontres d'Arles in France in July with an exhibition curated by fellow photographer Martin Parr, who also edited a new book on his work (David Goldblatt: Photographs, Contrasto, Rome, 2006). Goldblatt exhibited Some Afrikaners Revisited at Michael Stevenson in October/November 2006, and a new book of this series will be published soon (Umuzi, Cape Town, 2007).

Goldblatt's colour photographs are an ongoing exploration of the intersections between people, values and land in post-apartheid South Africa. He first published works from this series as Intersections (Prestel, Munich, 2005) and a selection of more recent colour images appears in the book accompanying the Hasselblad Award (David Goldblatt, Hatje Cantz, Ostfildern, 2006). In these photographs Goldblatt focuses on the expansive South African landscape, often incorporating elements that remind us of the lingering idiocies of apartheid and the ironies of the new South Africa.

Two recent photographs included in this catalogue - Remains of long-drop lavatories ... and Remains of children's households ... - reflect on the failed social engineering of apartheid and the waste of ill-considered schemes. Nature and man slowly erode the edifices built in places where people refused to live, and the remains are sad and elegiac.

© 2006 Michael Stevenson. All rights reserved.