The photographic work of Dillon Marsh is irreducibly unique. Walk the grey screed floors and stark white walls of Brundyn+ Gallery in BoKaap, a gallery space both beautiful and calm at the heart of the city, and explore part of Marsh’s landscape work from the series For What It’s Worth. The immersive landscapes offer a somewhat abstract, extra-terrestrial feel while shedding light on a pertinent part of South Africa’s history – the mining of natural resources.
Marsh critiques the mining process in South Africa by visualising the total amount of raw material extracted from specific mines and placing it in the mines themselves. See the plummeting, dormant mines and quarries juxtaposed against a large floating orb – symbolic of the man-made intervention that the process has allowed and the raw materials removed there. This juxtaposition reveals the startling reality of how little is actually extracted relative to the amount of damage done to the natural environment. This damage references not only the damages to the land, but to the miners and the upheaval that mining has caused – from inhumane living conditions during Apartheid to the recent Marikana shootings.
Although human beings are not visible or included in the stills, there is a ghost-like atmosphere as these chunks of land, once upheaved, lie dormant. A disturbing calm and penetrating silence is evoked as the land once mined and exploited for all it’s worth, now lacks life and purpose. A saddening, poignant tale told through a simple but effective means.
Brundyn+ is the perfect spot to house this reflective exhibition, silent but welcoming, calm but inviting. Showing until 24 January 2015 in Room 1, For What It’s Worth is a subtle but potent glance at purposes that come and go but leave a lasting effect.
Where ORO AFRICA Building (First Floor), 170 Buitengracht Street, Cape Town
Gallery Hours Monday to Friday, 9 am – 5 pm; Saturday 10 am – 2 pm
Contact +27 21 424 5150, www.brundyn.com