by Jacki McInnes*

Pierre Fouché favours the inherent duality of intimate snapshots to make commentary on interfamily relations and roles. Shanpshots purport to provide a true and real representation, but in fact the subject photographed is often situated out of context, giving rise to false impressions. In Portrait of Marie Fouché (b. Greyling) Fouché fragments and reconfigures a picture of his mother taken in the 1960's as a way of exploring the presumably accidental complicity of mothers in the potential violence of their sons. Fouché attests to having had an "ideal" upbringing from his loving and supportive parents but even so, masculine norms of superior strength and the imperative to defend were inculcated in him. Although by nature mild-mannered, Fouché believes even he could be driven to appalling acts of violence, were a loved one to bee endangered.

I suddenly realised that if anyone would ever do anything to my mother Id kill them. I'd soberly and calmly murder without thinking twice. This is a scary realisation to make, and it brings about quite a few related questions: how are mothers in a sense responsible for turning their sons into the kind of men who would abuse? [I am reminded here of the 70's feminist slogan "We are not raising our sons to be men anymore"...]**

I'm starting out with this photograph of my mother when she was in her early twenties. There is nothing "motherly" about how she is presenting herself for the camera: reserved, yet confident, revealing yet concealing. I'm not sure how this objectification (and her confident awareness of it) of my mother speaks to the general exhibition theme [activism against women and child abuse from the perspective of male artists], but I know that it does...


* Reference for this article: McInnes, J. (ed.) 2007. A legacy of men. Johannesburg: David Krut (Catalogue for an exhibition held at the Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg, 25 November to 14 February). p.13.

** The square bracketed insertions are not included in the published catalogue entry]