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Tebogo101
Review of "Between Darkness and Light" | Jodi Bieber
14H33 THURSDAY, 05 JUNE 2014
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After viewing Jodi Bieber's, Quiet at the Goodman Gallery, I had to see her retrospective Between Darkness and Light showing at the Wits Art Museum.  This is a retrospective of her works so it's an excellent way to get a sense of her body of work.

The exhibition includes a few series:

Las Canas - 6x images that represent portraits of people involved in drug use and prostitution; the other side of paradise (if you will) in the Dominican Republic.  The images are as grungy as the subject matter would suggest, and if you can penetrate your own glamorised images of grunge that are the subject of fashion magazine spreads, you can get down to the emptiness that resides in these places.  Essentially the inhabitants of these streets are "down in the gutter" maybe even "down on their luck"; you are truly affected by the absence of life in these shots (even while they represent the living, in the streets full of life and bustle),

Between Dogs & Wolves represents people growing up in derelict communities in South Africa on the outskirts of Johannesburg and Northern Cape.  This series will have you face-to-face with the loss: the loss of innocence, and how much of oneself you have to lose in order to survive in an environment like that.  In these places, you get the distinct sense that the newness of the "New South Africa" of the newspapers has not quite permeated the streets.  These are not places to dream, these are desolate places where the youth simply survive.

  • David Jackobie's Fietas in Vredepart I found to be a fun series.  It read to me much like the black and white photo-stories in the old magazines of a few decades ago (the kind that were in the last pages).  The series essentially follows the narrative: "a day in the life of..." David Jackobie.  He seems a much enthused character in the Vredepark; a neighbourhood where seemingly not much happens, but a place whose youth will always find a way to get into fights, and bouts of drunkenness -- generic code of youth.
  • Real Beauty represents women in their intimate spaces; unlike Quiet, the subjects portray a kind of confidence despite their body shape, size and perceived physical imperfection.  They may very well lift you up after you've sat through Survivors.
  • Survivors is a video in the form of a digital story (using mostly still images and voice) of women who recount stories of how they were victims of abuse.  The abuse they have been subjected to is at the hands of their spouses, lovers or caregivers (fathers, or step fathers); so much of their pain is physical as well as emotional.  These stories are emotionally taxing to listen to, let alone experience.  They will leave you wondering how these women have lived through such circumstance, and even how many of your colleagues, close friends and relatives could be living under similar conditions without you even being aware.


The exhibition really moves you through dark spaces and spaces of light.  You'll be taken through an emotional joyride.

_____________________

Between Darkness and Light is showing at WAM until 20 July  Images from Jodi Bieber

You can peep more of my writing on Like Water or find me on @Tebogo101

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