153pp., 4to., b/w & colour illus., hardback, (Cape Town) 2021
Winner of the 2021 Charta Dummy Award.
After his farther died in a microlight accident in 2011 van Staden discovered correspondence between his father and a therapist describing acts he committed as a seventeen-year old conscript in the SADF fighting in the South African Border War.
"I see his project as a family and above all a personal psychoanalysis. It is a process that combines memories and investigation. There are always things we don’t know about our parents, about our families that, at times, should remain unknown. But despite all odds, Van Staden has decided to open Pandora, because, there is always a moment when knowing is better than pretending not to know ... Things that a son should not necessarily be informed of but that constitute, at the same time, his way out; the missing key for his own development ... Van Staden has carefully gathered the elements of a puzzle that will never be completed. Those elements appear before our eyes as ruins, remains upon which one should try to rebuild a story of his own ... In the end, the journey was worth the pain. The story stands on its own, aesthetically and, should I say, philosophically. It shows that truth does not necessarily rhyme with reconciliation. Maybe a posthumous forgiveness." Simon Njami
South African photographer Jansen van Staden (b. 1986) was a fellow at the Goethe Institut’s Photographers’ Masterclass in 2017 and graduated in 2018. He lives in Cape Town.