WEST COAST, 1987, © JO RACTLIFFE, COURTESY STEVENSON, CAPE TOWN AND JOHANNESBURG
Artist Jo Ractliffe, well-known in contemporary South African photography who lived through apartheid in the mid-1980s, recently debuted her first retrospective, “Jo Ractliffe: DRIVES,” at The Art Institute of Chicago.
The exhibition, which will be on view through April 26, features more than 100 works of haunting photography, video, book art and multimedia installations, focusing on images from the open road to depict human instincts and desires.
“Jo Ractliffe’s ever-changing career shows the importance of thinking again and afresh about place and conflict,” says curator Matthew S. Witkovsky. “What is the character of a place—one’s hometown, one’s country—as formed over time by its inhabitants? How do we—as thinkers, makers, viewers—stand in relation to that character? How do we fathom causes of conflict in a given place; how can we address those causes in ways beyond or beneath headline news?”
All of these questions seem especially relevant to American audiences today. artic.edu