Being Present brings together more than 100 head and shoulders portraits realized by Pieter Hugo since the early 2000s, offering an expansive overview of the artist’s engagement with this particular tradition of portraiture. The selected photographs dabble with the lexicons of forensics, surveillance and typologies while keeping a strong humanism at their core. In Hugo’s words: “My work is about the notion of being an outsider: I feel I inhabit this space myself and I embrace this awareness as a way to engage with the people I photograph. I almost always work by announcing myself at the outset; I look, and I am equally looked at. When making a portrait there is a brief moment in which cynicism disappears. There is beauty in being held in the gaze of another.” There is an intimacy that emerges from being openly present, and what features prominently in these images is a moment of stillness and connection separate from everything that happened before or after.
Exhibition curator: Federica Angelucci.
Prints by Magnum Opus, Cape Town.
Mounting and framing by Anton, Cape Town.
Exhibition presented as part of the Africa2020 Season.
With support from the Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town.