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In conversation with Terry Kurgan

Terry Kurgan - Public Art/Private Lives

A conversation between Terry Kurgan and Sarah Nuttall will take place on Saturday 2 March at 12:00 at GALLERY AOP (Sarah Nuttall is Professor of Literary and Cultural Studies and Director of WISER at the University of the Witwatersrand). All welcome.

Terry Kurgan’s solo exhibition, Public Art/Private Lives, is an act of reflection, and of re-looking at aspects of a career’s work to date. An endeavor to rearticulate through revised collation and reconsidered pairing some key bodies of her work that continue to speak, both intimately and more overtly, to themes that have defined her interests and creative practice over many years.

There is a meticulous continuity in the nature of Kurgan’s questionings. Her vigorous engagement over the years with what photographs mean – of how subjects perform for and within the act of consciously being photographed – has been extensive and significant. She has, and continues to probe, refract and deepen her complex reading and articulation of the nature of photography. -Extracts from Tracy Murinik’s essay for the exhibition brochure

Hotel Yeoville was a participatory public art project, conceptualised and directed by artist Terry Kurgan. It was based online and in the public library of the old suburb of Yeoville on the eastern edge of Johannesburg’s inner city. Kurgan developed the project in collaboration with a diverse group of people working across a range of disciplines. It comprised a website (, a photo wall and a series of booths in which members of the public were invited to offer stories about themselves through mapping, video, photography and text, using various digital interfaces and social media applications.

This collection of essays, photographs and other texts represents and extends what began as an interactive art project and evolved into a multiplatform archive of urban life. The book presents new critical perspectives on contemporary artistic research and practice, and is a remarkable documentation of the complex set of negotiations – between artists, residents, consultants and audience – that brought the work into being.

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