maandag 24 september 2018

What I have Seen an Impression Unseen Amsterdam 2018 Photography

Red Nails, from the series Experimental Relationship, 2014 © Pixy Liao, Fotogalleri Vasli Souza

Unseen is the leading platform for contemporary photography. Exclusively focusing on what’s new in the photography world, the platform provides a channel for up-and-coming talent to showcase their work. Unseen brings together the international photography community to discuss and debate the directions in which the photographic medium is evolving. Unseens main event returning for its sixth edition at the Westergasfabriek from the 21st to the 23rd of September 2018.

See also 

The Suitcase Collection Photobooks from Africa Asia-Pacific and Ireland Unseen Amsterdam 2018 Photography

Fotoromanzo Italiano is made up of three Italian artists based in Milan. Adding a contemporary touch to anecdotes and photographic techniques, they aim to reinvent photo-novel practices by exploring the combination of text and image, distorting our understanding of reality and fiction in the process.

(Musicfor)Eggplant confronts the traditional notions of authorship by presenting a remastered archive of the collective’s history and collaborations. With improvisation, absurd sounds and musical density being at the core of their collaborations, their work combines video, installations with fabrics, interac- tion, live stream images and audio.

CO-OP Encounters #5: Migrant Image Research Group
August 13 2018

Kwadjo Anabisa and Andreas Listowell recount the story of their refugee journey, 2015 © Andreas Langfeld

Unseen CO-OP is back for its second edition. Introduced to increase the representation of artist-run initiatives and collectives worldwide, CO-OP encourages artists to present challenging works of art, dynamic presentations and new commercial formats. In the coming months, we’ll be speaking to each of the participating collectives to find out more about the collaborative processes that drive their practice forward.

This week we caught up with Elisa Calore, a graphic designer and researcher in the diverse group of twelve illustrators, photographers, artists, photography historians, graphic designers and publishers that make up The Migrant Image Research Group. Questioning the circulating media images of migrants by finding new photographs and possibilities of representation, the collective’s goal is to explore existing images and portrayals of migration, collecting testimonies that go beyond stereotypes.

What inspired you to start working as a collective?
The project started in 2010, when Armin Linke involved a team of artists and photographers from the University of Art and Design of Karlsruhe to work on the representation of migration in Lampedusa. Due to the complexity of the subject, Linke preferred to work in a group instead of working on his own. Some years later we approached the publishing house Spector Book; they studied the gathered materials and suggested adopting the form of a photographic novel, in which drawings could comment on the photographs, thus creating an external perspective on the images. We later found that these drawings could even show the sensitive content of particular images we couldn't publish.

Since then, the group has four illustrators and other new and important collaborators that are able to analyse the archival material. A necessary element in our group is the collaboration between the Italian contributions and the Egyptian ones. They understand the languages and political situations of the two countries involved in the phenomenon better than anybody outside of those countries could. During our research, we interviewed many image-makers who deal with the phenomenon of migration on a daily basis: refugees, social workers, military representatives, photographers and photo editors, aid organizations and inhabitants of the Italian island.

We visited the island of Lampedusa, Frontex headquarter in Warsaw and went to the other side of the Mediterranean Sea to understand what was going on in Egypt. The plurality of the collective mirrors the hybrid and polyphonic narrative of our research.

How has working as a collective changed the way you interact with the art market?
This is a bit of a difficult question to answer, as we haven’t really dealt with the art market as of yet. Due to the private nature of the gathered material, the photos can’t be sold - but we have published a book and participated to the Photo Biennal in Mannheim.

What sets you apart from other collectives?
We are a big group of professionals at different levels of career. Each of us has different goals, hopes and dreams. We are from different countries and work in different artistic and professional fields. We didn’t know each other, the collaboration has not been an easy one - making the unexpected result all the more interesting.

What do you have in store for us at Unseen Amsterdam 2018?
Come and pay us a visit, and find out! We will love to give you something we’ve been preparing especially for Unseen Amsterdam, but until then: it’s a surprise.

Thank you, Elisa!

You can read more interviews with the collectives participating in CO-OP 2018 on our stories page.

Daido Moriyama
The Netherlands, Amsterdam
Galerie Alex Daniëls - Reflex Amsterdam

Daido Moriyama (b. 1938, Japan) is a Japanese photographer known for his grainy black and white images of a post-war Japan that won him the New Artist Award in 1967. Since then he has had major exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography and at Tate Modern. In 2012 Moriyama received the Lifetime Achievement Award form the ICP (International Centre of Photography) in New York.

Anne Geene
The Netherlands, Amsterdam
Galerie Caroline O’Breen

As a visual artist, Anne Geene (NL, 1983) captures the hidden beauty of plants and animals. With the help of photography, Geene investigates, collects and arranges the world around her. The camera objectively registers the materials in where Geene is looking for visual similarities, patterns and phenomena. Eventually, her findings are analyzed and catalogued according to an apparent logic. Her interpretation of the data is strictly personal and hints to our urge to regulate and understand the world around us.

Anne Geene began her studies on Photography at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague and graduated at Sint Joost in Breda. In 2014, Geene won the ING Unseen Talent Award. Her work is included in various public and private collections. In 2018, she was the winner of the Volkskrant Visual Art Award.

Gabriel Lester
The Netherlands, Amsterdam
Galerie Fons Welters

Gabriel Lester’s (NL, 1972) artwork, films and installations originate from a desire to tell stories and construct environments that support these stories or propose their own narrative interpretation. His artworks are typified as cinematographic, without necessarily employing film or video. Like cinema, Lester’s practice has come to embrace all imaginable media and occupy both time and space. The artworks propose a tension span and are either implicitly narrative, explicitly visual or both at once.

Gabriel Lester lives and works in Amsterdam. Lester went to the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunst, Amsterdam. Recent solo exhibitions include Groninger Museum, The Netherlands; CAC Vilnius, Lithuania; De Appel arts centre, Amsterdam; Bonner Kunstverein, Germany.

Jimmy Robert
The Netherlands, Amsterdam
Stigter van Doesburg

Guadeloupe born artist Jimmy Robert (FR, 1975) uses a variety of media to emphasize on what he sees as the instability of the image. His photographs, installations and performances reveal multiple meanings, thereby challenging the cultural codes within language, taste and aesthetic judgment. The appropriation of material from other artists or writers – a performance by Yvonne Rainer, films by Bas Jan Ader, words adopted from Marguerite Duras, a piece by Yoko Ono – is used by Robert as another layering technique. It’s not the Postmodern strategy as such that counts, but more the whisper of the voices from the past.

Henk Wildschut
The Netherlands, Amsterdam & Nijmegen
Galerie Bart

Henk Wildschut's (NL, 1967) work is characterized by a contemplative and often distant view on the people and situations he photographs which lends a balance and monumental quality to his photographs that incite the viewer to further reflect on the subject. In 2005 Wildschut started a long-term project around European illegal immigration. When visiting several refugee camps across the world, Wildschut was surprised by the need for domesticity. Small gardens were created around the tents and these gardens turned out to be a universal phenomenon. This changed his view on refugees entirely.

Eva O'Leary
The United States, New York, Queens

Eva O’Leary (IE, 1989) received a BFA from the California College of the Arts in 2012, and a MFA from Yale in 2016. She was the recipient of the Hyères Festival Photographie Grand Prix in 2018, the Vontobel Contemporary Photography Prize in 2017, and was named a Foam Talent in 2014.

Much of O’Leary's work questions what is deemed acceptable or natural within a particular community, and how these agreed upon norms often function as a method of social control. O’Leary grew up in a college town called Happy Valley, a place she felt intoxicating, and where naivety and recklessness collide with big money. Happy Valley is where O’Leary had her first drink at 13, and where her best friend first shot heroin three years later. Mothers peel their daughters off the floors of cheap motel rooms, and old men get young girls blind drunk on acrid vodka. It’s a polarized place: Some get BMW’s at 16 while others have babies. This work draws from her upbringing to explore the relationship between fantasy and power, specifically relating to the identities, experiences and representations of American women. Just as makeup can be at once armour and artifice, this work is simultaneously an imitation of and resistance to the glossy commercial imagery through which women are taught to relate to themselves and one another.

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