"I, JOBURG" presents but a fragment of Dean Hutton’s photographic and video work. This selection of Dean’s previous and ongoing projects makes reference to the contexts in which she works, lives, loves and creates. Although on the surface, these photographs may appear to take on a linear approach, the selection mirrors the thematics and approach which inform Dean’s direct, quiet, yet schizophrenic and queer visual sensibility.
Prosaic at first glance — yet how often do you see a man carrying an oversized bear? Would you go inside a makeshift cardboard home under a staircase and ask for directions? Try asking the man with the wig if he can break your R50 note so you can play Batota. The photos are as much about the odd moment as they are about the pause before and the ultimate capture.
The documentary style speaks of the parallel contexts Dean occupies and what transpires in each. Be it the city, which she menacingly documents and captures fragments of, or the more staged settings in which she allows the opportune moment and improvisation to guide her carefully crafted compositions, to the more private use of portraiture and color.
The trajectory of the exhibition is also about the transitions in Dean’s work — a move from the public into the private and from the private by making it public. It is about the passage from the documentary sensibility to the realms of the intimate, the theatrical, or the display of queer elements.
Sometimes, her work becomes "mediated" — when she shift from being the observer to becoming a participant, no longer hiding behind a lens but taking part freely, documenting with only an iPhone. Shooting becomes more about the composition and the image than the technicalities involved and this immediacy becomes translated through her capacity to instantaneously share.
I, JOBURG is an amalgamation of cacophony, spirituality, melancholy, sexuality, absurdity, silence, friends and lovers, aspirations — in essence the poetry of her social and personal commentary, through the use of the still and moving image.
—Maria Fidel Regueros, curator