Paris, Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson


The South African photographer Guy Tillim gives a bleak portrayal of his post-colonial country in photographs through which he seeks to situate his own identity. On show are his two series “Jo’burg” and “Avenue Patrice Lumumba,” which both affirm Tillim’s view that the camera can be an ideal tool to transcend barriers.

“Jo’burg” juxtaposes the modern skyline of Johannesburg, its towers soaring into the sky, with images of black tenants living in abject poverty in rundown housing. Tillim was born in Johannesburg in 1962 and seems to be reckoning with the flawed outcome of colonialism. Meanwhile, “Avenue Patrice Lumumba” is named after the first elected leader to the Congo after it won independence from Belgium in 1960; Lumumba was assassinated in a coup in 1961 for proclaiming his opposition to Western neocolonialism. The series includes images from the Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Madagascar, Benin, Ghana and Angola that evoke the political vacuum today.

However, Tillim eschews jaw-dropping sensationalism by using lightly tinted film; the colors are muted, lending a more delicate atmosphere. This aesthetic approach differs from that of his compatriot David Goldblatt, who is known for using black-and-white and color film in a more direct way.

January 13 through April 19, 2009
2 impasse Lebouis
75014 Paris
T. +33 (0)1 56 80 27 03