3rd Sep, 2020 20:00

Modern & Contemporary Art

Lot 142
Lot 142 - David Goldblatt (South Africa 1930–2018)


David Goldblatt (South Africa 1930–2018)
Crippled by a stray bullet...

silver gelatin print on fibre paper

Artwork date: 2003
Signature details: signed and dated 7 August 2003 in ink along the bottom margin

Sold for R170,700
Estimated at R150,000 - R250,000


silver gelatin print on fibre paper

Artwork date: 2003
Signature details: signed and dated 7 August 2003 in ink along the bottom margin


sheet size: 50 x 50 cm


This image forms part of David Goldblatt’s Particulars body of work – a collection of ‘body fragments’ which were mostly shot in 1975 while Goldblatt was working on a portraiture project of people living in Johannesburg. At the time, Goldblatt took note of how people naturally composed themselves when positioned in front of a camera. In looking to be more lyrical in his own photographic practice, he turned his lens to explore, in close-up, certain intimate details of people’s bodies, focusing on postures and gestures, the placement of hands and feet, the weight of limbs, the creases of skin, and the drapes and textures of clothing. Although these images are visually poetic, these detailed ‘particulars’ subtly convey cultural, economic, and social cues.In this tightly-framed photograph, the focus is on the hands of a man who is seated in a wheelchair. Goldblatt was particularly interested in people’s hands, and what they can communicate about a person. Here the sitter extends his open hands in a begging gesture, revealing not only the traces and hardship of a life lived, but the hope of good-luck and, perhaps, fortune that might be hidden in the various formulas for lotto numbers which are written in pen on his palms. Goldblatt’s descriptive and almost matter of fact title for the work offers context and background, locating the ‘sitter’ in time and place. Though faceless and fragmentary, this contemplative image invokes a deeply empathic response towards the person through the universal language of the body.The photographs taken for Particulars were first released as a series in 2003, with the first edition of the book published by Goodman Gallery that same year. In 2004, the Particulars book was awarded the Arles Book Prize. Goldblatt revised Particulars for the new Steidl edition which was published in 2014.

Marelize van Zyl

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Auction: Modern & Contemporary Art, 3rd Sep, 2020

This Spring, Aspire Art Auctions broke new ground with a fresh, yet considered selection of artworks that is demographically more representative and reflects the spirit of current times. With a strong focus on South Africa, the sale also proudly represented artists from 10 African countries (Benin, DRC, Ghana, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Sudan, Togo, Uganda and Zimbabwe) and international artists from Europe, the UK and USA. 

A great highlight was Edoardo Villa’s monumental steel sculpture titled Traverse from 1957 which achieved R4,893,400 – an auction record for the artist. Other exceptional offerings included works by Gerard Sekoto, George Pemba, Peter Clarke and Nicholas Hlobo.

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