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Size: 13x18 cm
A contemporary myth
In his work we can indeed see the fabrication of a contemporary mythology at work. And what is it that he strips bare, if not a fringe of South African society which he transforms in fact into ordinary heroes? (...) We are struck by the way in which the camera comes gradually closer to its subjects and seems less and less intimidated by the lives which it is gently becoming more familiar with.
South Africa is always the setting (except for a brief escapade to neighbouring Mozambique), this country in the midst of transformation, where truth and reconciliation remain still to be invented. Mthethwa draws up his own cartography of his country, as if all of those whom he photographs had earned the role of a witness. His portraits are like so many archived documents, so much incriminating evidence. Let us dwell for a moment on that legal term. What is incriminating evidence, if not proof? Something that was created in order to prove someone guilty? Supposing we were to accept for a moment that it were actually Mthethwa who produces the evidence, we would then be led to wonder why, what the charge was, and whether it was evidence supporting the prosecution or the defence. And who are the opposing parties? We could put forward an infinite number of hypotheses.