Appropriated Landscapes


The Walther Collection is pleased to announce Appropriated Landscapes, opening to the public on June 16, 2011 in its main venue in Neu-Ulm/Burlafingen, Germany.

Appropriated Landscapes, curated by Corinne Diserens, explores the complex layers of meaning embedded in the physical attributes of a place, in particular the landscape of Southern Africa. Bringing together the photography and video of thirteen contemporary artists – Jane Alexander, Mitch Epstein, Ângela Ferreira, Peter Friedl, David Goldblatt, Christine Meisner, Sabelo Mlangeni, Santu Mofokeng, Zanele Muholi, Jo Ractliffe, Penny Siopis, Mikhael Subotzky in collaboration with Patrick Waterhouse, and Guy Tillim – the exhibition examines the effects of war, migration, colonization, industrialization, and ideology on the landscapes of South Africa, Namibia, Angola, and Mozambique. On view from June 16, 2011 through May 13, 2012, Appropriated Landscapes reveals 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 is the second installment of the Walther Collection’s annual exhibition program in Germany, which each year brings in a new curator to explore themes drawn from the Walther Family Foundation’s collection. The exhibition is part of an ongoing three-year examination of the collection’s extensive African photography holdings. Encompassing approximately 200 works, Appropriated Landscapes includes newly commissioned work by Ângela Ferreira, Christine Meisner, and Peter Friedl, as well as an extended presentation of As Terras do Fim do Mundo, Jo Ractliffe’s photographic essay on the war-torn Angolan countryside, currently on view at The Walther Collection Project Space in New York City.

Appropriated Landscapes will be presented throughout the three exhibition buildings on the Walther Collection’s campus:

The two gallery floors of the Green House will showcase the black-and-white photographs of South African photographers David Goldblatt and Santu Mofokeng, including work from the early 1970s through the present. Goldblatt has documented the changing landscape of South Africa for more than 60 years, giving particular attention to man-altered landscapes and deeply divisive ideological structures. His photographic examinations of the built environment and spatial planning in South Africa will appear in dialogue with Mofokeng’s focus on the every-day life of the township, in particular on the previously undocumented aspects of spiritual life in black South Africa and in landscapes of trauma. This concept of landscape as the mute witness to history, imbued with spiritual meaning and memories, will resonate with Christine Meisner’s newly commissioned video Landscape and Fate, on view in the Green House cinema on the lower level, which explores the history of slavery in the United States through the Mississippi fugitive routes.

The Black House will present 60 black-and-white photographs from Jo Ractliffe’s newest body of work documenting the « landscape of leftovers » created by Angola’s lengthy civil war. Featuring images of mass graves, eerily solitary landscapes, and remnants of war, the series underscores the physical scarring of the landscape resulting from human interaction.

The White Box, the Walther Collection’s main exhibition space, will feature photography and video on each of its three floors. On the ground level visitors will encounter Ângela Ferreira’s newly commissioned installation, For Mozambique, which explores the legacy of modernist architecture and its present every-day use in post-colonial Africa through the juxtaposition of archival and contemporary filmic images. The second floor gallery will present eight color panoramas from Ractliffe’s series Johannesburg Inner City Works, each of which capture multiple images of a neighborhood within the city and stitches them together into one united, expansive frame.

The main exhibition gallery on the lower level will feature works by Jane Alexander, Peter Friedl, David Goldblatt, Sabelo Mlangeni, Zanele Muholi, Penny Siopis, Mikhael Subotzky / Patrick Waterhouse, and Guy Tillim. The 61 works on view include images of architectonic structures, construction sites, forgotten rural areas, precarious public spheres, and social rituals and migration within Southern Africa. These works will resonate with Mitch Epstein’s American Power project, depicting energy production sites in the United States and the repercussions of industrialization and expansion on the American landscape.

Photograph: David Goldblatt, Squatter camp of foreign nationals between the N1 and railway property at Woodstock,
Cape Town. 22 August 2006.
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