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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

Jo Ractliffe: Drives


Art Institute / Chicago / Art

“My interest is not in the immediacy of the moment and the thing in front of me,” explains the photographer Jo Ractliffe. “It is always the stuff that circulates around it, the felt experience.” Born in 1961 in the South African subcontinent, Ractliffe was a young woman when she began photographing the aftermath of apartheid in the mid 1980s. Her work doesn’t capture overt racist acts or front-page sensations. Ractliffe was more interested in the allegorical. Her photographs capture scorched landscapes, stray dogs and donkeys, and a nation struggling through the consequences of razed neighborhoods and injustice. “Drives” is a major survey, Ractliffe’s first, with 100 artworks that span her lengthy career. —E.C.

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