Pieter Hugo

Zakaria Salifu, Agbogbloshie Market, Accra, Ghana, from 'The Permanent Error' series, 2010
triptych, C-print, 7 from an edition of 10
81.5 x 81.5 cm (each image); 98 x 98 cm (each paper); 104 x 104 cm (each framed)
not signed or dated, however sold with a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist

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Michael Stevenson Fine Art (Pty) Ltd, Cape Town, South Africa
Acquired from the above on 3 October 2012

Other examples of this work have been exhibited at
Landmark: The Fields of Photography, Somerset House, London, 14 March 2013 – 28 April 2013
Permanent Error, MAXXI National Museum of 21st Century Arts, Rome, Italy, 1 December 2011 – 29 April 2012
Permanent Error, Yossi Milo Gallery, New York, USA, 8 September – 29 October 2011
Permanent Error, Cokkie Snoei, Amsterdam and Rotterdam, the Netherlands, 29 May – 3 July 2011
Permanent Error, Contact Photography Festival, Toronto, Canada, 25 April – 4 June 2011
Permanent Error, Brodie/Stevenson, Johannesburg, 4 November 2010 – 15 December 2010
Permanent Error, Michael Stevenson, Cape Town, 29 July 2010 – 4 September 2010

Pieter Hugo, TJ Demos and Aaron Shuman, Pieter Hugo: This Must Be The Place, Prestel, London, Munich and New York, 2012, p. 153
Pieter Hugo, Permanent Error, Prestel, Prestel, London, Munich and New York, 2011

This work is in the collections of
The Walther Collection, New York, United States, and Neu-Ulm, Germany 

Permanent Error (2010) is a series of photographs taken by Pieter Hugo over two weeks in Agbogbloshie, Accra, Ghana in 2009-10. Situated along the Odaw River, which flows into the Korle Lagoon, Agbogbloshie is West Africa’s second largest processer of electronic waste. At the same time, it is home to around 40,000 Ghanaians, many of whom migrated from rural Ghana for work.

Factories smelt these discarded parts into raw materials, but this has come at a huge environmental and human cost, with hundreds of thousands of tonnes of electronic waste and chemical pollution of the air, waterways and land. Because of the devastating conditions faced by its residents, the locals call the area “Sodom and Gomorrah”.

Reflecting on his time in Accra and the Permanent Error series, Hugo has written of the political role he hopes his images may have as objects both of art and photo-journalism: “I think it is fair to say that Agbogbloshie is a dark and dirty monument to the digital age, to our faith in technology and its built-in obsolescence. This idea of surplus and waste, which is key to our digital experience, is not one that many people seem comfortable addressing. Being in an environment like this, where geopolitical imbalances are being exploited to effectively dump waste on poor countries, it is hard not to take a political position. And so I have let my photographs be used by advocacy groups.”

Pieter Hugo (b. 1976) is a photographic artist based in Cape Town, South Africa. Born in Johannesburg, Hugo is best known for his portraits, which depict each sitter in their respective landscapes from inner cities to the African savannah. 

  • Zakaria Salifu, Agbogbloshie Market, Accra, Ghana, from 'The Permanent Error' series
  • Zakaria Salifu, Agbogbloshie Market, Accra, Ghana, from 'The Permanent Error' series
  • Zakaria Salifu, Agbogbloshie Market, Accra, Ghana, from 'The Permanent Error' series

Image courtesy of the artist and Stevenson, Cape Town and Johannesburg

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