Important South African and International Art

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Lot 288

South African 1937-1982
The Catacombs Series, ten
silver gelatin print on fibre paper
image sizes: 25 by 38cm; sheet sizes: 28 by 41cm

Sold for R 160 000
Including Buyer's Premium and VAT R 181 888

Estimate R 80 000 - 120 000

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Each accompanied by a letter of authenticity from Stevenson Gallery.

Printed by Jac de Villiers.

Edition: HC 4

Billy Monk worked as a bouncer for the notorious nightclub The Catacombs in the dock area of Cape Town harbour, taking photographs of the club goers with a Pentax camera and selling these back to his models. The photographs constitute a veritable archive of the seedy nightclub world of apartheid South Africa in the early-1960s, and are populated with the same-sex and interracial couples that were so brutally marginalised at the time. When the filmmaker Jac de Villiers hired studio space in Cape Town some time later, he discovered and developed some of Monk's contact sheets and negatives, mounting an exhibition at the Market Theatre Gallery in 1982. Monk was not in a position to attend the opening night, but he made plans to visit the gallery two weeks later. Sadly he was gunned down on his way. Many of his photographs are now included in the SFMoMA's permanent collection.

Brodie/Stevenson, Nightclub Photographs, 20 January - 18 February 2011, another example from this edition was exhibited

David Goldblatt, Jac de Villiers and Lin Sampson. (2011). Billy Monk, Stockport: Dewi Lewis Publishing. Other examples from the edition illustrated on pages 8, 9, 18, 29, 45, 50, 51, 67, 73, 78, 82 and 85.

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