Terry Kurgan lives and works in Johannesburg. Currently, her work embraces a broad range of media and her primary artistic interest is in photography; in photographs as material for interpretation, and in the complex and paradoxical nature of all photographic transactions.
Her practice is characterized by a keen interest in the confluence of public and private realm issues and spaces. This thread runs through her work which is often made for very different contexts: personal projects for the gallery space, public realm projects made in response to a complicated social space, or projects realized for the business environment.
Most recently, her public realm work has engaged with Johannesburg’s inner city. Her projects are a process of collaboration and engagement; with other professionals and with the public associated with the site in which she and her team are engaged. These projects have been sited in spaces as diverse as a maternity hospital, a popular Johannesburg shopping mall, an inner city park and a prison. Kurgan’s work combines design and spatial understanding with a new and exciting way of representing contemporary South African social issues.
She won the FNB Vita Prize for Contemporary Art for 2000 and was nominated with her collaborator, the writer Alexandra Dodd, for Business Art South Africa/Business Day Awards in 2004, 2005 and 2009. In August 2009 they were awarded the prize for Best Corporate Commission of a New Artwork for the innovative exhibition and book they produced documenting the social and human impact of key projects of the Industrial Development Corporation nationwide.
She has been awarded many project grants, exhibited broadly and her work is represented in most major public and corporate South African collections and art publications.
She is currently working on:
1. Hotel Yeoville - a public project in progress: Working with an interdisciplinary team and in partnership with the Wits Forced Migration Studies Programme, Kurgan is directing and producing the Hotel Yeoville project, a multi-media exhibition, web project, and book publication. The project uses the Internet and popular social media as medium, and aims to produce a social map of a neglected inner city neighborhood that is ‘home’ to a largely invisible community of migrants from all over the African continent. The first phase of the project was an engagement with Web culture via the Internet cafes of the Yeoville high street, resulting in a customized website aimed at the neighbourhood’s extremely dense online community (www.hotelyeoville.co.za). The second phase of the project, (currently up and running), is the installation of a digital and interactive exhibition into the brand new public library on the Yeoville high street, which will largely be produced over a period of 6 to 8 months, through the public participation of Yeoville’s residents. The final phase of the project is a publication to be launched in September 2010.
Some Interesting Press recently published on the Hotel Yeoville Project:
2. A solo exhibition of prints and drawings scheduled for October 2010 at
AOP Gallery, Johannesburg.
For more information about her work, please visit her website: www.terrykurgan.com