Everyone is Present

Everyone is Present

EVERYONE IS PRESENT Essays on Photography, Memory and Family This book project has grown out of more than twenty-five years of a multi-media, visual arts practice about photography. My aim was to try a different medium as an approach to certain preoccupations that have been with me for as long as I can remember. The ‘book object’ felt like the right form. Fourthwall Books’ press release reads as follows: “In this book, Kurgan begins with a family snapshot made by her Polish grandfather in 1939 on the eve of the war. Presenting this evocative image as a repository of multiple histories—public, private, domestic, familial and generational—she sets off on a series of meditations on photography that give us startling insights into how photographs work: what they conceal, how they mislead, what provocations they contain.” READ MORE “Each essay takes up the thread of the story of her family’s epic journey across Europe as they flee—country by country—Nazi occupation, until they reach Cape Town, South Africa. But Kurgan takes detours, circles back, diverts attention elsewhere, enriching and also disrupting the narrative with digressions on the way Google has changed our relationship to photography, on her grandfather’s eloquent daily journals, on the shipboard flirtations of her fascinating grandmother, on vanity, on self representation, on loss and return, home and exile. Kurgan’s richly satisfying essays are part memoir, part travelogue, part analysis and they demonstrate her sophisticated understanding of a medium that has long engaged her as an artist.” Kurgan has achieved something rare in this book: a truly dynamic fusion of text and image. She brings a deep knowledge of craft...
Hotel Yeoville – Special Edition Portfiolio

Hotel Yeoville – Special Edition Portfiolio

This portfolio edition of the book Hotel Yeoville was produced in association with Fourthwall Books, Johannesburg. It contains a signed edition of the book and four limited edition prints. The portfolios are numbered from I/X to X/X. Each print is separately editioned from 1/10 to 10/10 and is signed and numbered  on the front. The prints have been digitally printed with pigment inks onto 290 gm archival Hahnemühle Bamboo paper.  Oliver Barstow assisted with the portfolio preparation and design. Image reproduction and printing was by Amichai Tahor of Lightfarm, and the Solander box was made by Heléne van Aswegen. Publication Date: Johannesburg 2013. Order here _DSF6977_1 _DSF6976_1 _DSF6975_1 _DSF6974_1 _DSF6973_1 _DSF6972_1 COVER_Thumnail_1 _DSF6978_1...
Still, Life

Still, Life

Still, Life My practise is characterised by a productive negotiation between being a studio artist making fixed objects in a discreet private space, and a public realm artist, collaborator in a shifting field in social space.  It’s often tricky making the crossing, and this group of drawings began very far away from where they have ended. Underpinning much of my full body of work is a preoccupation with family photographs, particularly the way in which these photographs mediate our experience of ourselves in the world. I am interested in the complex negotiation that takes place in the making of a photographic image, and the mutual need of both photographer and subject for affirmation and recognition. Every project, whether public or ‘private’, attempts to get under the opaque, two-dimensional surface of the photograph.   Read More For the last ten years, every time I start making a new gallery exhibition, I haul out a small, precious portfolio of about thirty black and white photographs, produced by a studio photographer named Menashe Golashevsky. He came out to South Africa from Lithuania in 1928 on the same ship as my grandfather, and worked out of a shop front in Salt River, Cape Town. He documented the middle class Jewish community as they made families, weddings and barmitzvahs, but he also documented the working class community who lived and worked in Salt River. The images are very poignant, and bursting with layer upon layer of personal, cultural and public history that draw me in.  l placed them in a grid on my table and set out upon a series of new drawings  but...
Skip

Skip

Skip: Present Company Included A space between ‘private’ and public By Kathryn Smith A blond child, dressed in a bright red jumper and denim pedal pushers, plays a solo game of jump-rope with a pink skipping rope, her mouth moving as she clears each round. She counts as she moves forward in slow motion, in front of a wall from which the paint and plaster peels. The frame of a video camera remains locked off as she exits to the left, her rope leaving a blurred pink trace behind her. Read More “She’s trying to get to one thousand” was the answer Terry Kurgan offered when I asked why her daughter Jessie obsessively jumps rope. Watching her daughter skip and count, paying little heed to anything else going on around her as she strives towards her self-imposed goal, moves Kurgan. It was here that Jessie seemed completely ‘in her own world’, totally within herself. Not to disregard any sense of victory or self-satisfaction Jessie may feel if she actually reaches one thousand ‘skips’, but the number, if not unrealistic, is neither here nor there. What is compelling however, is what Kurgan manages to capture in filming this rather futile, yet unremitting action. Operating within a visual language system that utterly defies yet runs oddly parallel to that which underpins the ‘home movie’, the video captures not just the image of Jessie and a pink skipping rope, luminescent and animated against a decaying building, but materializes and amplifies the passing of  time and associated loss, through its repetition. Through the publicising of a relatively ‘private’ or personal process, the work holds...
Lost & Found

Lost & Found

Lost & Found When my parents got divorced, my mother, who had been the maker and keeper of the family albums, took them with her. My father, who attaches very little importance to physical objects with their roots in the past, retained the box of discards (which some years later he gave to me). Read More The disobedient photographs and slides that had never quite made the cut; a head cropped off at the neck, eyes caught between open and closed, a small dot of child in a vast and empty landscape. The pictures that were out of focus, or hopelessly over exposed; that did not confirm, “yes! I love you and I’m having a perfectly happy childhood, birthday or day at the beach”. The work comprised 16 images – digital prints onto silk organza. Each image measured 3 meters by 2 meters and had to be printed in three separate sections that I stitched together leaving the edges to fray. They moved slightly as viewers walked through the space. They also moved in and out of view and focus, depending on where you were standing and on the quality of the light as it shifted and changed throughout the day. This work won the FNB Vita Art Prize in the year 2000. Review by Kathryn Smith cover 1_1 Inst View DAG 2_1 Inst View DAG 5_1 cover 1_1 Inst View DAG 4_1 Inst View DAG...