The opening of David Lurie's 'Daylight Ghosts'

The Melrose Gallery, Johannesburg
22 Nov 2018



You are invited to the opening of respected photographer, David Lurie's, latest solo 'Daylight Ghosts'. This photographic narrative explores The Cradle of Humankind following on from his residency at the Nirox Foundation Sculpture Park. James Sey will deliver the opening address.

"The balance Lurie achieves in this collection, between the aestheticized emptiness of a landscape viewed as ahistorical and yet still charged with significance, and one fundamentally underpinned and marked with history's traces, with a small and a capital H, is elegantly achieved."
JAMES SEY (from Landscape as History & Mystery)
The Cradle of Humankind - listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1999 - opens windows onto many pasts: onto the origins and evolution of humanity, but also, perhaps less well known and appreciated, marks and bears witness to many of the key phases of more recent South African history.
The Cradle region is the scene of numerous epic battles: ancient conflicts as well as those between the many African chiefdoms that settled or tried to settle in the interior, during the period sometimes called the difaqane; between African chiefdoms and Boer pioneers, and between Boers and Britons, as well as several Afrikaner rebellions. The Cradle provides a lens through which to view and comprehend a series of absolutely pivotal and formative moments of South African history. It offers a privileged vantage point to understand what it means to be human and what it meant and currently means to be South African.
But how to capture this perspective in landscape photographs in this achingly beautiful region? How to excavate below our conventional sight level to recover the veins of myth and memory that lie beneath a surface that conceals more than it reveals, given the extreme limitations of the medium? To look and discover what eludes cursory recognition and appreciation, to try and discern the outline of an old landscape “protruding above the surface of the commonplace of contemporary life” (Simon Schama).
It was an opportunity to explore and immerse myself in the region, its myths and its history, uncover the spirit of the place and even enquire into the nature and possibilities of landscape photography itself.
DAVID LURIE, April 2018