After a fight, Die Lane, Beaufort West, 2006. © Mikhael Subotzky/Goodman Gallery, Cape Town
Mikhael Subotzky‘s After a fight is part of our Benefit Silent Auction. South-African photographer Subotzky’s Beaufort West series captures a rural, impoverished, and crime-ridden South African town. Beaufort West is a town which sits off of the longest highway in South Africa and is host to a small prison. As Jonny Steinberg describes, in the afterward to Subotzky’s book Beaufort West (Chris Boot, 2008), the prison is often ignored by the average city-dwelling South African passerby, but is so devastatingly resonant in the minds of Beaufort West residents: “here is somewhere increasingly forgotten by post apartheid South Africa. And yet those who inhabit the country’s metropolis pass through in their millions; and those who are failing most miserably here, who wind up again and again in the town’s jail, get to rotate between a life in the township and a life in the middle of the highway, quite literally listening to the traffic of an economy in which they can find no place. It is as if a never-ending jamboree is passing through Beaufort West, and those most embittered by the spectacle have been sentenced to sit in front-row seats.” Subotzky’s work aids the inhabitants of Beaufort West in their attempt to reclaim their voice within their society’s culture. Or as Steinberg concludes, his photographs “give expression to something one understands – even while choosing to forget.”
Mikhael Subotzky (b. 1981, Cape Town) is a member of Magnum Photos and is represented by Goodman Gallery and Studio La Citta. Subotzky’s work has been exhibited widely in major galleries and museums, and his prints are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the South African National Gallery, Cape Town; the Johannesburg Art Gallery; and FOAM (FotoMuseum Amsterdam). He currently lives in Johannesburg.