Santu Mofokeng

© Santu Mofokeng
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Mofokeng’s deviation from conventional subject matter includes photographic enquiries into spirituality, an interest that has continued throughout his photographic career and produced the extraordinary, evocative series Chasing Shadows. His explorations of landscape, invested with spiritual significance, form part of a wider enquiry into space and belonging, the political meaning of landscape. His work, in which he ‘reclaims landscape’, investigates the meaning of landscape in relation to ownership, power and memory. In his recent photographs of urban landscapes, Santu Mofokeng again goes beyond political and social commentary into meditations on ‘existential madness — the absurdities of living’. Noting that ‘billboards have been the medium of communication between the rulers and the denizens of townships since the beginning of the township’, in his images their solicitations cruelly highlight the impoverishment of the citizenry they importune. Mofokeng has been the recipient of numerous awards. In 1991 he won the Ernest Cole Scholarship, to study at the International Centre for Photography in New York. The first Mother Jones Award for Africa in 1992. In 1998 he was the recipient of the Künstlerhaus Worpswede Fellowship and three years later of the DAAD Fellowship, both in Germany. In 2009 he was nominated as a Prince Claus Fund Laureate for Visual Arts. Santu Mofokeng’s first international retrospective opened in May 2011 at the Jeu de Paume Paris and subsequently travelled to Kunsthalle Bern in the latter part of 2011 and Bergen Kunsthall and the Wits Art Museum in Johannesburg in 2012. In may 2013 he will participate in the 55th International Art Exhibition – La Biennalle di Venezia on the German Pavilion.



Santu Mofokeng: A Metaphorical Biography, The Walther Collection Project Space, New York, USA

Chasing Shadows/Santu Mofokeng, thirty years of photographic essays, Bergen Kunsthall, the Wits Art Museum, Johannesburg.

Chasing Shadows/Santu Mofokeng, thirty years of photographic essays, Jeu de Paume, Kunsthalle Bern.

Let’s Talk, Arts on Main, Johannesburg, South Africa
Remaining Past, Minshar Art Institute, Tel Aviv, Israel
Chasing Shadows, Anne Arbor Institute of Humanities, Michigan, USA

Mofokeng survey exhibition, Autograph ABP, London, UK

Santu Mofokeng’s Landscapes, Warren Siebrits, Johannesburg, South Africa
Homeland Security – Johannesburg Art Gallery, South Africa

Invoice Standard Bank Art Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa

Invoice Iziko, South African National Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa

Rethinking Landscape – Centre of Photography D’Ille-De-France, Pontault-Combault, Paris, France
Santu Mofokeng – Gallery Momo, Johannesburg
Santu Mofokeng – David Krut Projects, New York

Chasing Shadows – Memling Museum, Brugge, Belgium

Sad Landscapes – Camouflage Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
Chasing Shadows – Transparencies International, Berlin

Black Photo Album/ Look At Me (photos) – FNAC Montparnasse, France

Lunarscapes – Nederland Foto Instituut, Rotterdam, Holland
Chasing Shadows – Nederland Foto Instituut (NFI), Rotterdam, Holland“
Black Photo Album/ Look At Me (slides and text slides) – NFI, Holland

Chasing Shadows – Gertrude Posel Gallery, Wits University, South Africa

Distorting Mirror/Townships Imagined – Worker´s Library, Johannesburg, South Africa

Rumours / The Bloemhof Portfolio – Market Galleries, Johannesburg, South Africa

Like Shifting Sand – Market Galleries, Johannesburg, South Africa



Álbum de Família, Centro Municipal de Arte Hélio Oiticica, Rio de Janeiro
Between States of Emergency, Nelson Mandela Foundation, Johannesburg
The Problem of God, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein – Westfalen, Düsseldorf

INPUT / OUTPUT – Interface Worpswede, Worpswede die Museen

Public Intimacy: Art and Other Ordinary Acts in South Africa, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco
Apartheid and After, Huis Marseille Museum door Fotografie, Amsterdam
8th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art, Berlin

Rise and Fall of Apartheid: Photography and the Bureaucracy of Everyday Life, International Centre of Photography (New York), Haus der Kunst (Munich), Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea (Milan) and Museum Africa (Johannesburg)
Biographical Forms – Construction and Individual Mythology, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid
Earth Matters: Land as Material and Metaphor in the Arts of Africa, Smithsonian, Washington DC

German Pavilion, 55th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy
African Photography from The Walther Collection Distance and Desire: Encounters with the African Archive The Walter Collection, Ulm, Germany
Umhlaba Wethu This is Our Land: 100 year commemoration of the 1913 Land Act, South African National Gallery, Cape Town; Wits Art Museum, Johannesburg

Household Narratives. Beyond the Family Album, Diputación de Huesca, Spain
Poetry and Dream Collection Display, Tate Modern, London, United Kingdom

Figures & Fictions: Contemporary South African Photography, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK
Events of the Self: Portraiture and Social Identity, The Walther Collection, Neu-Ulm, Germany
(Re)construções: Arte Contemporânea de África do Sul, Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Niterói

Darkroom: Photography and New Media in South Africa since 1950, Virginia      Museum of Fine Arts, Virginia, USA
Animism, Extra City/M HKA, Antwerp, Belgium; Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland; Generali Foundation, Vienna, Austria
Apartheid – Widerstand – Freiheit: Südafrikanische Fotografie 1950-2010, Willy-Brandt-Haus, Berlin, Germany

The Symbolic Efficiency of the Frame, T.I.C.A.B. Tirana International Contemporary Art Biannual, Albania
Imaginar_historiar, XVI Jornadas de Estudio de la Imagen, Madrid, Spain
Joburg Art Fair, Warren Siebrits, Johannesburg, South Africa
Urban Reflections, Stills Scotland’s Centre for Photography, Edinburgh, Scotland

Home Lands – Land Marks: Contemporary Art from South Africa, Haunch of Venison, London, UK
Rationalism of Nationalism, Warren Siebrits, Johannesburg, South Africa

52nd Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy
Climate Change, Ruth First Fellowship Award Conference, Atlas Studios, Johannesburg, South Africa
Apartheid – The South African Mirror, Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, Spain
Uniform: South Africa’s New Clothes, Spanierman Modern, New York, USA
Reality Check: Zeitgenössische Fotokunst aus Südafrika, Neue Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin; Kunstmuseum Bochum, Germany;
Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz, Germany; Galerie der Stadt Sindelfingen, Germany; Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa

Afrika Remix: Contemporary Art of a Continent, Museum Kunst Palast, Düsseldof, Germany; Hayward Gallery, London, UK;
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan; Johannesburg Art Gallery, South Africa; Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden

Exorcising Exoticism, International Contemporary Art Exhibition Taipei, Taiwan
1a Trienal de Luanda, Angola
Black, Brown + White, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, Austria

Unsettled, Durban Art Gallery, South Africa; Reykjavik Museum of Photography, Iceland; Kristanstads Konsthall, Sweden;
National Museum of Photography, Copenhagen, Denmark

10 years 100 artists: Art in a Democratic South Africa, Bell-Roberts Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa

Post! Contemporary South African Photography, Tama Art University Museum, Tokyo, Japan
Forbidden City International Photography Festival, Beijing, China
New Identities: Contemporary South African Art, Bochum Museum, Germany; Johannesburg Art Gallery, South Africa;
Pretoria Art Museum, South Africa
Ralentir vite, le Plateau/Frac Ile-de-France, Paris
Photography from South Africa, Christine Koenig Galerie, Vienna, Austria

5es Recontres de la Photographie Africaine, Bamako, Mali
6th Sharjah International Biennial, United Arab Emirates

Documenta11, Kassel, Germany
25a Bienal de São Pãolo, Brasil
African Advertising Art, Iwalewa House, University of Bayreuth, Germany
Surviving Apartheid, Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris, France
Dislocation: Installations from South Africa, Circulo de Bellas Artes, Madrid, Spain; Sala Rekalde, Bilbao, Spain

The Short Century, Independence and Liberation Movements in Africa 1945-1994, Museum Vialla Stuck, Munich, Germany;
Haus der Kulturen der Welt/Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, Germany; MoMa/PS1, New York, USA; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, USA
Africas: The Artist and the City, Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, Spain

Unplugged V, Market Galleries, Johannesburg, South Africa
Man + Space, Gwangju Biennale, South Korea
Translation/Seduction/Displacement, White Box Gallery, New York, USA; Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art, Portland, USA
The Song of the Earth: Biennials in Dialogue, Fridericianum Museum, Kassel, Germany
Positions Attitudes Actions, 4th Photo Biennale Rotterdam, Netherlands
L´etat des Choses, Kunst-werke Berlin, Germany
Rhizomes of Memory, Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Oslo, Norway

Africa by Africa: A Photographic View, Barbican Centre, London, UK
Identity and Environment, Ludwig Museum, Budapest, Hungary
A South Photographs Collective Exhibition, Area Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa

Blank__Architecture, Apartheid and After, Nederlands Architecture Institute, Rotterdam, Netherlands
3es Rencontres de la Photographie Africaine, Bamako, Mali
Dreams and Clouds, KulturHuset, Stockholm, Sweden
Democracy´s Images, BildMuseet, Umea University, Sweden; Atlas Studios, Johannesburg, South Africa

Alternating Currents, 2nd Johannesburg Biennale, South Africa

In/Sight: African Photographers, 1940 to the Present, Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA
Images of Africa Festival, Copenhagen, Denmark
Standard Bank National Arts Festival, Grahamstown, South Africa
Colours: Contemporary Art from South Africa, Haus Der Kulturen Der Welt, Berlin, Germany

Transitions: Contemporary Art from South Africa, F-Stop Gallery, Bath, UK
3rd International Photography Biennale Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands
Panoramas of Passage: Chaning Landscapes of South Africa, Standard Bank National Arts Festival, Grahamstown, South Africa
Les assises de l´Afrique, UNESCO, Paris, France

1es Recontres de la Photographie Africaine, Bamako, Mali
This Land is our Land, Bloemfontein, South Africa

FNAC – Mother Jones Award winners

Light Factory, North Carolina, USA
Happy Sad Land, Internationale Fototage Herten, Germany
Montage ´93, International Festival of the Image, Rochester, USA
In Transit, New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, USA

AA Vita Art Now, Johannesburg Art Gallery, South Africa
Alltag schwarz–weiss: Fünf Fotografinnen und Fotografen aus Südafrika, Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst, Berlin, Germany

Zabalaza Cultural Festival, London, UK
History Workshop Open Day Festival, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Women´s Exhibition, Malibongwe Conference, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Going Home, Canon Image Centre, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Black Sash Human Rights Exhibition, Market Galleries, Johannesburg, South Africa