Awards, Exhibitions, Festivals

Clare Strand’s Hoopla Stand at Unseen Festival

Image © Clare Strand, courtesy the artist.

British photographer Clare Strand is using the game of hoopla, the well-known fun fair attraction, as a new way of interacting between artist and art fair audience, at Unseen Photo Festival in Amsterdam.

Hoopla has been a well known attraction at fairs, fetes and fairgrounds for decades, if not centuries.

Strand places the bases in a random pattern in front of the throwing line and asks her audience to throw hoops from only 4 or 5 feet.

“Although it’s fun in its own right, the better the prizes, the more people will want to have a go,” she says.

At Unseen Photo Festival, Strand is therefore giving away the thing she prizes the most: her own work. The installation, she says, “introduces a new approach to photography acquisition” at such art fairs.

Clare Strand, born 1973, bases her practice out of Brighton and Hove, England. She is known for owning an extensive archive of scrapbooks, magazines and photographs that she has drawn together since her mid-teens.

Strand describes her working method as being like “rolling in newly cut grass and seeing what you pick up on your jumper”.

Last year, Strand published the photo book Girl Plays with Snake with the esteemed book publisher Mack, a boo sourced from her archive of women and girls are pictured holding, playing with and gazing fondly at snakes.

“Key to understanding the intention of the imagery is the inclusion of found and automatic generated texts orchestrated by Strand, which touch on the absurd, the intimate, the erotic and the uncanny,” Mack said of the work.

Strand’s photography has been published in her own newspaper Gone Astray (2003), and books Clare Strand: Photoworks Monograph (2009) and Skirts (2013).

Her first major solo exhibition being at Museum Folkwang, Germany, in 2009, and has since exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), London, in 2011.

Her work is held in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris,Tthe New York Library, and the V&A.

David Campany writes of Strand’s work: “Black-and-white photographs that would be equally at home in an art gallery, the offices of a scientific institute, or the archive of a dark cult. … They look like evidence, but of what we cannot know.”

Find out more here.