martedì 5 agosto 2008


by Ashraf Jamal

Modus operandi:

It is the interface between the lived world and "image-making" that drives Zwelethu Mthethwa. This he achieves through photography and pastel drawing. In both mediums it is the empirical - the re-presentation of an actual event or scene - that is key. This doesn't make Mthethwa a realist however. The framing of the work is self-aware, poised, keenly attuned to the dictates of the pictorial. Hence "image-maker". For Mthethwa "traditional documentary photography treats people as subjects not as human beings". Which is why the artist's work never merely records. Rather, each element in a work is imbued with an aura, a quality that transfigures and ennobles the seen.

Artist's statement:

"I always say that the word 'artist' is not an appropriate word. Art refers to the author, to ownership, it puts you above culture. I would like to be seen as an image-maker. Art is never about one's experiences in a vacuum, but about life at large ... In South Africa we don't really have an audience that is educated in the arts. I'm trying to pull in that audience ... In my photography and pastels I try to restore respect and dignity. People present themselves in the way they want to be seen."

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