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GUY TILLIM AT DAG (article first published : 2005-04-7)

The new series of works by Guy Tillim, the winner of the DaimlerChrysler Award for Creative Photography 2004, is set to open at the Durban Art Gallery, Durban City Hall, on April 6. The works were first exhibited in Cape Town in November, 2004.

Known for his images of conflict in Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Burundi, Eritrea, Mozambique and Sierra Leone, the new series of works is based on the inner city of Johannesburg during the course of 2004. Considering the shifts in control over the city between the forces of law, criminals and ordinary residents, Tillim poses the question of whether Johannesburg will revert to being a city of exclusion, or whether both rich and poor South African and African communities will be embraced; a condition for the emergence of a new, vibrant and dynamic city.

Explaining Tillim’s work, Rory Bester, art historian, curator and the chairperson on the DaimlerChrysler adjudication panel said: ”Tillim has a creative and poetic voice. Even though he works in a familiar tradition, his images are open to broader interpretation. They do not reveal an elaborated consciousness of technique such as the use of black and white or colour, and light, but an intimacy that brings the viewer closer to the subject.

“His work has a sense of tension and edge, and his continuous searching and exploration marks him as an exceptional photographer.”

Speaking at the opening ceremony in Cape Town, Christoph Köpke, former chairman of DaimlerChrysler South Africa said: “Tillim’s work is part of an impulse in South African photography that is subtly weaving social and political concerns with carefully considered visual textures into a series of critical moments that are at the forefront of public debate about the transformation of South Africa and the continent beyond.

“We are faced with an artistic commentary that focuses on the many varying social issues facing a normalizing community, and although sometimes disturbing, this narrative is necessary, exhilarating and inspiring. Some exciting and thought-provoking art has sprung from the abundance of free expression being experienced in our country, thankfully reflecting a new sense of national identity, renewal and hope. Guy’s work effectively illustrates the need to record and acknowledge the journey of society, its adaptation and transition, if we are to survive, and indeed progress to a better place.”

Guy Tillim’s work has been widely published in the years since he started photographing professionally in 1986. Previous awards include the Mondi Award (South Africa) for photojournalism in 1998 and in 1999 and the Prix SCAM (Societè Civile des Auteurs Multimedia) Roger Pic, 2002.

Forming part of the DaimlerChrysler Arts Award prize, the exhibition will remain at the Gallery until May 30. More information from the Durban Art Gallery on 031 311 2264.




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