Ausgezeichnet mit dem Deutschen Fotobuchpreis in Silber 2015
Mikhael Subotzky and Patrick Waterhouse worked at Ponte City, the iconic Johannesburg apartment building which is Africa’s tallest residential skyscraper, for more than six years. They photographed the residents and documented the building – every door, the view from every window, the image on every television screen. This remarkable body of images is presented here in counterpoint with an extensive archive of found material and historical documents. The visual story is integrated with a sustained sequence of essays and documentary texts. In the essays, some of South Africa’s leading scholars and writers explore Ponte City’s unique place in Johannesburg and in the imagination of its citizens. What emerges is a complex portrait of a place shaped by contending projections, a single, unavoidable building seen as refuge and monstrosity, dreamland and dystopia, a lightning rod for a society’s hopes and fears, and always a beacon to navigate by. The long-term project obtained the Discovery Award of the 2011 Rencontres d’Arles Photography Festival.
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. Patrick Waterhouse was born in 1981 in Bath, United Kingdom. He graduated with a BA from the Camberwell College of Art in 2003. Since then he has produced a variety of work in many different media including drawings, prints, photographs, and artist’s books. He started collaborating with Mikhael Subotzky on Ponte City in 2008. Patrick’s work has been exhibited at numerous venues including the South African National Gallery, Goodman Gallery Cape, Art Basel, The Daimler Chrysler Collection, and The Walther Collection, and has been published in various publications including Granta, Wallpaper, and Du. Currently, Patrick is working between South Africa and Italy where he is also editor-in-chief of Colors magazine.