STEVENSON Johannesburg present Everything is Everything, Jo Ractliffe’s third solo show with the gallery.
The exhibition, which comprises previously unpublished images spanning about 25 years, explores the idea of the photograph ‘without purpose’, unhinged from a specific project or body of work. In the words of the artist:
Such a photograph might be one taken for no reason other than to expose the remaining frames in a roll of film after a photographic shoot, or to test the workings of a newly acquired camera. Or it might manifest itself spontaneously, by chance, while you’re on your way looking to something else. In this way, a photograph without purpose might be seen as one that occurs through happenstance, rather than intentionality. But a photograph without purpose might also be one that asserts its own reason d’être, refusing to comply with the narrative or conceptual intentions of the larger body of work.
Reflecting the fluid nature of such images, Everything is Everything presents photographs produced with a wide range of film cameras including professional medium format, plastic toy and 35mm ‘point-and-shoot’ cameras, as well as a Nokia cell phone and 35mm digital camera.
Ractliffe was born in 1961 in Cape Town; she recently returned to live there after nearly 25 years in Johannesburg. Recent solo exhibitions include After War at Fondation A Stichting, Brussels (2015); The Aftermath of Conflict: Jo Ractliffe’s photographs of Angola and South Africa at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2015); and Someone Else’s Country at the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts (2014). Group exhibitions include Gestures and Archives of the Present, Genealogies of the Future, the 10th Taipei Biennial (2016); Things Fall Apart at Calvert 22, London, and other venues (2016-17); and Conflict, Time, Photography at Tate Modern, London (2015).
Special thanks to the Centre for Curating the Archive at UCT for the award of a Fellowship in 2014 during which this project was conceptualised.