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Self-Portrait with Soccer Team, Voorberg Prison, 2004
Mikhael Subotzky
Artwork 2004
Mikhael Subotzky's photograph 'Self-Portrait with Soccer Team, Voorberg Prison, 2004'.
Artwork: Mikhael Subotzky, Self-Portrait with Soccer Team, Voorberg Prison, 2004 (2004). Archival pigment ink on fibre paper. 15 x 10 cm. Courtesy of the artist.
Artist Mikhael Subotzky Title Self-Portrait with Soccer Team, Voorberg Prison, 2004 Date 2004 Materials Archival pigment ink on fibre paper Dimensions 15 x 10 cm Credit Courtesy of the artist

From Phokeng Tshepo Setai and Alexander Richards, the curators of Exhibition Match '22:

In this family-style photographic portrait, Subotzky poses alongside members of the Voorberg Prison soccer team. The image was made while the artist was working on his acclaimed photographic series Beaufort West.

Mikhael Subotzky remains deeply attuned to the ethical shortcomings of narrating a nation, yet continues to recount the country’s disparate realities even as he questions his medium. His first body of documentary photographs, Die Vier Hoeke (The Four Corners) (2004) witnessed the underbelly of the South African penal system and made visible that which more often goes unseen – the necessary intimacy of inmates, the rituals of prison life, the fraternity of gangs. Subotzky’s subsequent photographic projects continued in this vein, chronicling post-apartheid life and the structures that shape them, both built and bureaucratic. He has since extended his practice to include film, painting and collage, in an interrogation of the assumed validity of photographs as facts. Probing at the documentary tradition, Subotzky works against the photograph’s claim as indifferent and indexical. Rather, he suggests, every image reveals something of the artist, the subjective seeing eye that frames even the most objective of images. His work is then both social document and personal record, an account of shared narratives and singular impressions.