Johannesburg, South Africa
Mikhael Subotzky was born in 1981 in Cape Town and is currently based in Johannesburg. Subotzky adopts the directness of the social documentary mode while questioning the photographic medium itself. Over the past eight years, his work has focused on the inside and outside of South Africa’s notorious prisons, the small town of Beaufort West, and Ponte City, a single iconic building in Johannesburg.
Subotzky’s work has been exhibited widely in major galleries and museums, and his prints are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, the South African National Gallery, Cape Town, and the Johannesburg Art Gallery. Recent exhibitions include Expo 1, Dark Optimism at PS1 New York, A New Kind of Order, the ICP Triennial, New York, and #e Unexpected Guest, the 7th Liverpool Biennial. His first monograph, Beaufort West, was published by Chris Boot Publishers and was the subject of the 2008 exhibition, New Photography: Josephine Meckseper and Mikhael Subotzky at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Retinal Shift was published by Steidl in 2012 to accompany the touring exhibition of the same name that has shown at various public institutions, including the South African National Gallery.
Like a failed science-fiction utopia, this Apartheid-era residential tower has become the city's "focal point [of] dreams and nightmares, seen as refuge or monstrosity, dreamland or dystopia, a lightning rod for a society's hopes and fears..."