reviews

Santu Mofokeng, Eyes Wide Shut, Motouleng Cave, Clarens, Free State, 2004, black-and-white photograph, dimensions variable.

Santu Mofokeng

Santu Mofokeng, Eyes Wide Shut, Motouleng Cave, Clarens, Free State, 2004, black-and-white photograph, dimensions variable.

“DAVID GOLDBLATT IS CONCERNED with the is-ness of things,” Santu Mofokeng said of his onetime mentor earlier this year. “I’m interested in their isn’t-ness.” It is this negative metaphysics that largely shapes the South African photographer’s long-overdue retrospective, titled “Chasing Shadows: Santu Mofokeng, Thirty Years of Photographic Essays” and curated by Corinne Diserens for the Jeu de Paume. While Goldblatt has long probed the stubborn objectness of the world—the intractable presence of things—Mofokeng’s work reveals a progressive destabilization of material form: People dissolve into apparitions, objects scatter into wisps, and Mofokeng chases both across the haunted South African landscape. Through his self-described “gossamer world,” the photographer discloses the wobbly illusion by which we tame the flux of the world into decorous solids. Indeed, all that

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