David Goldblatt. Fifty-one years

David Goldblatt. Fifty-one years

David Goldblatt "Transvaal", 1964

In the catalogue for this exhibition, the writer Nadine Gordimer describes the photographs by David Goldblatt (Randfontein, South Africa, 1930), as having “an unstated political significance that goes before and grows beyond the obvious images – they reveal the violence against human beings repeated, endlessly, in the continuity of daily life.”

David Goldblatt. Fifty-one years was the first retrospective exhibition of David Goldblatt’s work to be held in Spain. It included 220 photographs produced between 1948 and 1999, which put forward a critical analysis of South African society, its recent history and its dismal links to apartheid policies. And Goldblatt confronted it with an oblique, transversal gaze that explored the pathologies of violence as it is played out in everyday situations.
The exhibition tackled some of the main subjects that Goldblatt works with: work in the goldmines; the long, slow rides from home to work of people segregated by apartheid laws; the life of the white community in a small provincial city; a portrait of Afrikaners; the ideological undercurrent behind architectural forms; and the daily life in Johannesburg.

This retrospective exhibition will be the first presentation in Spain of the work of David Goldblatt. It includes about two hundred photographs by the South African author, who has collected half a century of meticulous observation of the reality of his country, from 1948 to 1999. For David Goldblatt photography is a tool that enables him to analyse social and cultural structures. His photographic documents make a detailed investigation of the tensions and fictions typical of city and country life in South Africa. Altogether they make up an impressive testimonial of a contemporary African society, coming from the industrial revolution, which has provided an outstanding example for studying how colonialism and apartheid can evolve.


07 OCT. 2002 – 05 JAN. 2003 Centro Cultural de Belem, Lisboa
01 FEB. – 30 MAR. 2003 MOMA Oxford
05 JULY – 09 NOV. 2003 Lenbachhaus Munich
17 APR. – 15 JUNE 2003 Palais de Beaux-Arts de Bruxelles
08 FEB. – 14 APR. 2002 Museum galleries
01 AUG. – 30 NOV. 2004 MuseumAfrica, Johannesburg

see more show less
8 February 2002 – 14 April 2002
David Goldblatt. Fifty-one years
David Goldblatt
David Goldblatt was born in Randfontein in 1930. His parents, Eli Goldblatt and Olga Light, had arrived in South Africa in 1890 fleeing the persecution of Jews in Lithuania. Goldblatt has been documenting and photographing African society for more than fifty years, before, during and after the political regime of apartheid. His photographic portrayals of people and situations reflect the country’s political structure and social framework. Shunning sensationalism and predictable imagery, Goldblatt uses details from everyday life to show the complex value system that governs society. His images – which are actually documents arising from a process of social research – have been exhibited around the world and printed in numerous books alongside texts by acclaimed authors such as Nadine Gordimer and J. M. Coetzee. His photographs can be found at the South African National Gallery in Cape Town, the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the New York MoMA, and MACBA.
read more
David Goldblatt. Fifty-one years
1 artists