the twist of a knee

CJ Chandler

2017 - Ongoing

It was once a military outpost of the Cape Colony. If they hadn’t discovered gold in the Witswatersrand, Grahamstown may have become the capital of South Africa. Recently renamed Makhanda, this place ebbs and flows in cyclical mundanity. Harsh light emphasizes a fractured reality commonly found in these neglected small towns. This is where Chandler was born, and where his parents still live.

He returned home with a sense of dislocation to photograph a place he thought he knew.

For the most part Chandler relied on chance interactions within the everyday ebb and flow of Grahamstown/Makhanda in the making of his work. Key concepts include time, cycles, labour and routine: the way that these mark everyday life and are integral to the photographic process. That is, both the everyday life of the artist and of those around him. The work intentionally lacks temporal and spatial indicators, allowing his home to serve as a metaphor for South Africa. The harsh sun, shattered glass, smoke, a scar, a stare, a kiss and the twist of a knee.

The work is investigatory, forensic even. In taking note of the beauty in fracture and the fracture in beauty, Chandler attempts to make sense of this notion of home: the often violent place where he was brought up. The tight, visceral pictures form a staggered narrative of a familiar space that is both mundane and harsh. The photographs are captured with a fresh eye for detail, interrogating the town as well as the artist’s own vision.

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