Sun, 2nd Jun 2019 9:00

Modern & Contemporary Art

 
Lot 59
 
Lot 59 - David Goldblatt (South Africa 1930-2018)

59

David Goldblatt (South Africa 1930-2018)
The last of the bigger rocks has just been dropped into a kibble. Now, with shovels, the team "lashes" (loads) the small stuff into the kibble.

gelatin silver print

Signature details: signed and dated 1969/70 in pencil on the reverse|1969, printed later
Exhibited: Norval Foundation, Cape Town, David Goldblatt: On the Mines, 13 February to 11 August 2019, another example from the edition exhibited. A4 Arts Foundation, Cape Town, Picture Theory: An interaction with the work of David Goldblatt, 25 October 2018 to 7 February 2019, another example from the edition exhibited. Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney, David Goldblatt: Photographs 1948–2018, 18 October 2018 to 3 March 2019, another example from the edition exhibited. Centre Pompidou, Paris, David Goldblatt: Structures of Dominion and Democracy, 21 February to 13 May 2018, another example from the edition exhibited. Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, David Goldblatt: On the Mines, 25 October to 21 December 2012, another example from the edition exhibited.
Literature: Kent, R. (ed.) (2018). David Goldblatt: Photographs 1948–2018. Sydney: Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, another example from the edition illustrated on p.108. Ziebinska–Lewandowska, K. (ed.). (2018). David Goldblatt: Structures of Dominion and Democracy. Göttingen: Steidl, another example from the edition illustrated on p.61. Goldblatt, D. and Gordimer, N. (2012). On the Mines. Göttingen: Steidl, another example from the edition illustrated on p.113. Goldblatt, D. and Gordimer, N. (1973). On the Mines. Cape Town: Struik Press, another example from the edition illustrated on dust jacket cover and plate 37.

Sold for R432,440
Estimated at R150,000 - R250,000


 

gelatin silver print

Signature details: signed and dated 1969/70 in pencil on the reverse|1969, printed later
Exhibited: Norval Foundation, Cape Town, David Goldblatt: On the Mines, 13 February to 11 August 2019, another example from the edition exhibited. A4 Arts Foundation, Cape Town, Picture Theory: An interaction with the work of David Goldblatt, 25 October 2018 to 7 February 2019, another example from the edition exhibited. Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney, David Goldblatt: Photographs 1948–2018, 18 October 2018 to 3 March 2019, another example from the edition exhibited. Centre Pompidou, Paris, David Goldblatt: Structures of Dominion and Democracy, 21 February to 13 May 2018, another example from the edition exhibited. Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, David Goldblatt: On the Mines, 25 October to 21 December 2012, another example from the edition exhibited.
Literature: Kent, R. (ed.) (2018). David Goldblatt: Photographs 1948–2018. Sydney: Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, another example from the edition illustrated on p.108. Ziebinska–Lewandowska, K. (ed.). (2018). David Goldblatt: Structures of Dominion and Democracy. Göttingen: Steidl, another example from the edition illustrated on p.61. Goldblatt, D. and Gordimer, N. (2012). On the Mines. Göttingen: Steidl, another example from the edition illustrated on p.113. Goldblatt, D. and Gordimer, N. (1973). On the Mines. Cape Town: Struik Press, another example from the edition illustrated on dust jacket cover and plate 37.

(1)

image size: 49.5 x 30 cm

Notes:

These photographs are two of the finest examples from the celebrated historic series. Both images were included in the last exhibition that David Goldblatt actively helped conceptualise before his death in 2018. Staged in its entirety for the first time at the Norval Foundation in Cape Town this year, the exhibition comprises eighty photographs of the inner workings, the surrounding communities, and the people, both black and white, which drove South Africa’s Witwatersrand gold mining industry in the 1960s and 1970s. Different selections from the collection appeared first in 1968, and the first edition of a book documenting the collection appeared through Struik publishers in 1973, with a seminal essay by Goldblatt’s lifelong friend, Nobel laureate Nadine Gordimer.[i] The book including Gordimer’s essay was updated in 2012 for a European audience through Steidl publishers.[ii] Goldblatt’s aim was to document the various facets of life on the Witwatersrand mines at the time, but his work goes far beyond journalistic photodocumentation.Of the two editioned prints on offer in this auction, the character study of the boilerhouse supervisor should be familiar to collectors of Goldblatt’s later work. The centrality of its subject is offset by the monumentalism of the surrounding environment, giving a sense of the scale of the machinery required by an industry extracting minerals far beneath unfathomable weights of rock and landscape. It is in that sense a landscape image, despite being ostensibly an interior shot and a figure study. The subject’s diffident gaze out of the frame marks perhaps both his reluctance to be in the frame at all, but also Goldblatt’s skill in composition; the sideways gaze allowing the viewer to observe more clearly both subject and background.The other image, of the team of black underground miners shovelling small rocks into the ‘kibble’, is nothing short of astonishing. All of Goldblatt’s life experience growing up on a West Rand mine comes to bear in a powerfully haunting image that recalls the unforgettable scenes of the underground workers filing in unison into the maw of the great machine Moloch in Fritz Lang’s classic Expressionist film Metropolis (1927).

James Sey

Sources:

[i] Goldblatt, D & Gordimer, N. 1973. On the Mines. Pretoria: Struik.

[ii] Goldblatt, D & Gordimer, N. 2012. On the Mines. Göttingen: Steidl Verlag.

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Auction: Modern & Contemporary Art, Sun, 2nd Jun 2019

Aspire Art Auctions presented a focused and insightfully compiled selection of top-quality modern and contemporary art in their latest sale in Johannesburg.

The company’s commitment to innovation led to a bold and signature move in this sale, which featured a special section dedicated to photography. The medium has been traditionally strong among South African artists but has been without a proper focus in the local auction market. The ground-breaking segment featured a wide range of the most important South African photographers, including Pieter Hugo, David Goldblatt, Guy Tillim, and Zanele Muholi. In addition, the sale starred a number of the market’s big signatures – Alexis Preller J.H. Pierneef, Gerard Sekoto, and Maggie Laubser and top contemporary artists including, Diane Victor, and Wim Botha.

 

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