Simon Gush (South Africa)

Musée National du Mali

Sunday Light (2013)

Simon Gush’s video art uses the city as a means of exploring the interdependence between work, time, and the construction of identity. I See You (2013) focuses on the face of mining and the evolution of the culture of work during the time of Apartheid. After Hours (2013) examines the contemporary relationship between people and work through the representation of offices that are empty of their occupants. While questioning both the appeal for a Calvinist model and the oppressive regime of control vis-à-vis the South African population, Gush criticizes work and the capitalist philosophy as new forms of dictatorship that corrupt the natural rhythms of human life.

With Sunday Light (2013), Gush presents a 13-minute video that is comprised of a succession of black- and-white still shots, the majority of them taken in the business district of the city of Johannesburg. Filmed on Sundays over the course of several months, this video creates an almost formal, quasi-photographic portrait of presence and absence. Amid the vast, deserted spaces and the darkened banking complexes, rare sounds such as the distant traffic or the occasional passerby tend to suggest a reduced human presence. Emptied of the workers that give Johannesburg its vital essence, the city appears to have been left to itself, suspended between two moments, between two heartbeats. By interspersing short written critiques consisting of the artist’s own reflections and observations, Sunday Light interprets Johannesburg’s altered rhythms as a corollary to the production, profits, and mechanization of the human state that have become synonymous with personal fulfillment in post-Apartheid South Africa.

Born in 1981 in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa –
Lives in Johannesburg

Institut Français
Ministère de la Culture de l’Artisanat et du Tourisme du Mali