Mackintosh: Is this surreal life, or is this just fantasy?


Mackintosh: Is this surreal life, or is this just fantasy?

Portraits on show in Cape Town are as much about fashion as they are about being a modern African

Paula Andropoulos

SA-born, London-based artist Kevin Mackintosh rose to prominence around 2008 with his photographs of the Russian Bolshoi Ballet company. Now, for the first time in more than 10 years, Mackintosh is exhibiting in Cape Town, where Hero, his latest compilation, is showing at the Deepest Darkest Gallery until April 10.

The Hero series draws on tenets of modern West African portraiture – in the colloquial, photo-booth style of Seydou Keita, Malick Sidibé and Sory Sanle – while incorporating elements of contemporary fashion photography.

Mackintosh’s lurid hybrids are slightly surreal, reminiscent of stylised magazine editorials but with a great deal more emphasis on human subjectivity – the makeup and garments are only an extension of the characters he conjures up from behind the camera. The images take on the quality of old-fashioned portraiture insofar as they mark time and place, operating as snapshots of personhood for posterity. ..

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