Platform: South African Photography and Contemporary Literature

With: Santu Mofokeng, Mandla Langa, Ivan Vladislavic, Zoë Wicomb, Zukiswa Wanner og Kari Jegerstedt

Free entrance!

The South African artist Santu Mofokeng is the first major exhibitor at Bergen Kunsthall in 2012. As the title, “Chasing Shadows – 30 years of photographic essays” indicates, this is a retrospective exhibition of an extensive collection of works. From modest beginnings as a street photographer in the Soweto of his youth, followed by several years working as a darkroom assistant and freelance photographer for various South African newspapers in the 1980s, over the past twenty years he has turned more in the direction of the artistic representation of the everyday lives of the black South Africans and the exploration of religious rituals and landscape topologies. Through new ranges of subjects and an always-topical questioning of the politics of representation and objectivity in the photographic medium, he has emerged today as an important reformer of anti-apartheid art.

The exhibition “Chasing Shadows – 30 years of photographic essays” is produced in collaboration between Bergen Kunsthall, Jeu de Paume, Paris, Extra City Kunsthal Antwerpen and Kunsthalle Bern. Curator: Corinne Diserens.

In connection with the exhibition, Bergen Kunsthall is presenting an event in the Plat¬form series. Here central themes in Santu Mofokeng’s artistic oeuvre will be discussed in the context of South African contemporary literature. Mandla Langa, Ivan Vladislavic, Zoë Wicomb and Zuksiswa Wanner, some of the leading writers of the country will participate with readings and debate. Moderator: Kari Jegerstedt.

Santu Mofokeng (1956) is one of South Africa’s most renowned photographers. He has previously exhibited at a number of highly prestigious venues such as the Minshar Art Institute, Tel Aviv, (2010), the Johannesburg Art Gallery (2008), Forbidden City, Beijing (2004), Documenta 11, Kassel (2002) and the Netherlands Photo Institute, Rotterdam (1998).

Mandla Langa (1950) is a South African author, journalist and politician. Publications include Tenderness of Blood (1987), The Naked Song and Other Stories (1997), The Memory of Stones (2000) and The Lost Colours of the Chameleon (2008). His novels give broad descriptions of life in South Africa in the period before and just after the liberation, in which he both emphasize the fight against oppression and personal doubts and strength. Langa has been awarded several prizes, including South Africa’s National Order of Ikhamanga (silver) for the literary, journalistic and cultural achievements.

Zoë Wicomb (1947) is a South African writer who lives and works in Glasgow. Publications include the novels You Can’t Get Lost in Cape Town (1987), David’s Story (2000), Playing in the Light (2006) and The One That Got Away (2008). Wicombs´novels are all set in South Africa, and are dealing with questions of race and identity. Her work has been translated into Dutch, Swedish, French, Italian and German. Next to her fictional work, Zoë Wicomb has published critical articles on topics such as postcolonialism, intertextuality and South African writing.

Ivan Vladislaviċ is a South African short story writer and novelist. Publications include the novels The Folly (1993), The Restless Supermarket (2001), Portrait with Keys (2006), and the short story collections og novellesamlingene Missing Persons (1989) and The Exploded View (2004). Vladislavic’s style is postmodern, intermingling fantasy with references to historic events, enabling them to signify with symbolic meanings both within a South African context and beyond. Recipient of the Sunday Times Fiction Prize (2002), Sunday Times Alan Paton Award (2007) and University of Johannesburg English Literary Award (2010).

Zukiswa Wanner (1976) is a South African writer and an active social commentator. Publications include the novels Madams (2006), Behind Every Successful Man (2008) and Men of the South (2010). In addition to writing fiction, Zukiswa has also contributed essays to Oprah, Elle and Juice Magazine, and literary reviews and essays to Afropolitan and Sunday Independent, as well as the international online journal, African Writing. She is also a founding member of the ReadSA initiative, a campaign encouraging South Africa to read South African works.

Kari Jegerstedt (1963) is a literary scholar at the Centre for Womens and Gender Research, University of Bergen. She is working on a postdoctoral project on reading and globalization, and is also affiliated with the international research project: Thought as Action: Gender, Democracy, Freedom. She has at times lived and worked in Cape Town, and writes and teaches regularly on South African contemporary literature.

Platform is Bergen Kunsthall’s own series of lectures, presentations and debates. Platform is supported by Fritt Ord.

Santu Mofokeng meets key writers from South Africa