Mikhael Subotzky, ‘Maplank and Naomi, Pollsmoor Maximum Security Prison from Die Vier Hoeke’, 2004, Phillips

Image/Sheet: 49.5 x 74.5 cm (19 1/2 x 29 3/8 in.)
Frame: 50 x 75 cm (19 5/8 x 29 1/2 in.)

From the Catalogue:
Mikhael Subotzky made Die Vier Hoeke during his final year at Michaelis School of Fine Art. This body of work was a culmination of the three months he spent working at Pollsmoor Prison. Here, in this overcrowded, gang-run correctional facility, Subotzky taught photography workshops and built a rapport with the inmates and staff. Taken from gang terminology, the series title Die Vier Hoeke means four corners and refers to not only the physical space but also the gang law that governs the prison. To create this work, Subotsky has punched the Diasec glazing, literally smashing the work in order to mimic the frustration felt by the prisoners.
Courtesy of Phillips

Signature: Signed in ink, printed title, date and number 5/5 on a Certificate of Authenticity accompanying the work.

Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg

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