STEVENSON is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Pieter Hugo, titled Kin. Kin is a bittersweet perspective on Hugo’s homeland of South Africa. It is a meditation on the ideals of home, both familial and humanistic. It explores the tenuous ties that both bind us to and repel us from others. This new photographic series will show across both of Stevenson’s galleries (until 8 November in JHB & from 17 October – 23 November in CPT) and at the Yossi Milo Gallery in New York until 19 October.

Photograph: Pieter Hugo, Green Point Common, Cape Town, 2013

Over the past eight years Hugo has turned his eye on cramped townships, contested farmlands and abandoned mining areas; psychologically charged still lifes in people’s homes; sites of political significance; drifters and the homeless; his pregnant wife, and his daughter moments after her birth; the domestic servants who have worked for the Hugo family over three generations. The series alternates between intimate and public spaces, with particular emphasis on the growing disparity between rich and poor, and reveals Hugo’s deeply conflicted feelings about his home. It confronts complex issues of colonisation, racial diversity and economic disparity. Kin endeavours to locate his young family in a country with a fraught history and an uncertain future.

Hugo describes the Kin project as:

An engagement with the failure of the South African colonial experiment and my sense of being ‘colonial driftwood’ … South Africa is such a fractured, schizophrenic, wounded and problematic place. It is a very violent society and the scars of colonialism and apartheid still run very deep. Issues of race and cultural custodianship permeate every aspect of society, and the legacy of forced racial segregation casts a long shadow…. How does one live in this society? How does one take responsibility for history, and to what extent should one try? How do you raise a family in such a conflicted society? Before getting married and having children, these questions did not trouble me; now, they are more confusing. This work attempts to address these questions and to reflect on the nature of conflicting personal and collective narratives. I have deeply mixed feelings about being here. I am interested in the places where these narratives collide. Kin is an attempt at evaluating the gap between society’s ideals and its realities.

Photograph: Pieter Hugo, The children’s ward in an abandoned tuberculosis hospital, Mthatha, 2008

Photograph: Pieter Hugo, Theresa Makwenya, Carletonville, 2013

Photograph: Pieter Hugo, Outside Michael’s flat, Troyeville, 2011


Hugo was born in 1976 in Johannesburg and grew up in Cape Town, where he lives. His survey exhibition, This Must Be the Place, has showed at the Fotomuseum Den Haag, The Netherlands; Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland; Stimultania Photographic Centre, Strasbourg, France (2012); Ludwig Museum, Budapest, Hungary (2013); and continues to tour. Some recent group exhibitions include Present Tense, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon, Portugal (2013); Distance and Desire: Encounters with the African Archive, The Walther Collection, Ulm, Germany (2013); Africa: Photographs and video from the Martin Margulies Collection, Bob Rauschenberg Gallery, Edison State College, Florida, USA (2012); Africa, There and Back, Folkwang Museum, Essen, Germany (2012); Qui Vive? 3rd Moscow International Biennale for Young Art, Russia (2012);, Funen, Denmark (2012); Contact Photography Festival, Toronto, Canada (2011); ARS 11, Kiasma, Helsinki Museum of Contemporary Art, Finland (2011); Figures and Fictions: Contemporary South African Photography, V&A Museum, London, UK (2011); The Eye is a Lonely Hunter: Images of Humankind, Fotofestival Mannheim Ludwigshafen Heidelberg, Germany (2011); and The Global Contemporary: Art Worlds after 1989, ZKM Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Germany (2011).


Hugo won the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Visual Art in 2007; the KLM Paul Huf Award and the Arles Discovery Award at the Rencontres d’Arles Photography Festival in 2008; the Seydou Keita Award at the 9th Rencontres de Bamako African Photography Biennial, Mali, in 2011, and was shortlisted for the Deutsche Börse photography prize in 2012.

KIN Info.:

KIN opened in Johannesburg on Thursday 3 October, 6 to 8pm, and runs until 8 November. It opens in Cape Town on Thursday 17 October, 6 to 8pm, and runs until 23 November.

Photograph: Pieter Hugo, Nokhanyo and Ayabukwa Mabuse, Langa, 2013

Photograph: Pieter Hugo, Louis Matanisa, Cape Town, 2013

Photograph: Pieter Hugo, Linda Ntsukwana, Colesberg, 2013

Photograph: Pieter Hugo, At Rietpoort farm, Graaff-Reinet, 2013

Photograph: Pieter Hugo, Aerial view of Diepsloot, 2013

Source: STEVENSON, all photos by Pieter Hugo