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Urbanautica

PIETER HUGO
‘Kin’

Stevenson, Johannesburg
03.10.2013 - 08.11.2013

Stevenson is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Pieter Hugo, titled Kin. This new photographic series will show across both of Stevenson’s galleries, premiering in Johannesburg and opening two weeks later in Cape Town.

Kin is a bittersweet perspective on Hugo’s homeland of South Africa. It is a meditation on the ideals of home, both familial and humanistic. It explores the tenuous ties that both bind us to and repel us from others.

Over the past eight years Hugo has turned his eye on cramped townships, contested farmlands and abandoned mining areas; psychologically charged still lifes in people’s homes; sites of political significance; drifters and the homeless; his pregnant wife, and his daughter moments after her birth; the domestic servants who have worked for the Hugo family over three generations. The series alternates between intimate and public spaces, with particular emphasis on the growing disparity between rich and poor, and reveals Hugo’s deeply conflicted feelings about his home. It confronts complex issues of colonisation, racial diversity and economic disparity. Kin endeavours to locate his young family in a country with a fraught history and an uncertain future.

Hugo describes the Kin project as:

an engagement with the failure of the South African colonial experiment and my sense of being ‘colonial driftwood’ … South Africa is such a fractured, schizophrenic, wounded and problematic place. It is a very violent society and the scars of colonialism and apartheid still run very deep. Issues of race and cultural custodianship permeate every aspect of society, and the legacy of forced racial segregation casts a long shadow … How does one live in this society? How does one take responsibility for history, and to what extent should one try? How do you raise a family in such a conflicted society? Before getting married and having children, these questions did not trouble me; now, they are more confusing. This work attempts to address these questions and to reflect on the nature of conflicting personal and collective narratives. I have deeply mixed feelings about being here. I am interested in the places where these narratives collide. Kin is an attempt at evaluating the gap between society’s ideals and its realities.

© Stevenson | Pieter Hugo

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