Mikhael Subotzky, ‘Cell 33, E2 Section, Pollsmoor Maximum Security Prison’, 2004, Goodman Gallery

About Mikhael Subotzky

Mikhael Subotzky’s works are the results of his fractured attempts to place himself in relation to the social, historical, and political narratives that surround him both at home in South Africa and on his frequent travels. As an artist working in film, video installation, and photography, as well as more recently in collage and painting, Subotzky engages critically with contemporary politics of representation. In “Beaufort West” (2006–08), a series he premiered at MoMA, Subotzky focuses on the Beaufort West Prison, juxtaposing the prisoners inside with residents of the neighboring towns, from sex workers to privileged suburbanites. Another series, “Ponte City” (2008–), depicts residents in the titular Johannesburg residential tower, opposing the claustrophobic, dystopian architecture with poignant scenes of family life taking place within. Subotzky’s works are at once highly introspective and revelatory of the systemic injustices wrought by South Africa’s colonialist legacy.

South African, b. 1981, Cape Town, South Africa, based in Johannesburg, South Africa