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Futures: A new platform for European talents

Futures partners © Jaap Scheeren

Introducing Futures, a network dedicated to emerging photography talent, initiated by Unseen Amsterdam, working alongside 10 European institutions, including BJP as a founding member

BJP has joined forces with 10 cultural institutions across Europe to promote emerging photography talent under the umbrella of a new photography network, named Futures. Initiated by Unseen Amsterdam and the fair’s owner, Vandejong Creative Agency, the platform launched in spring and continues with a series of shows, events and residencies across the continent, culminating in a large-scale exhibition at Unseen in September. The partners include museums and galleries in Hungary, Belgium and Italy, alongside photofestivals in France, Germany, Poland, Ireland and Romania. Each will present shows and events of their own talent programmes in their own countries, and then elements of these events will come together for the collaborative exhibition in Amsterdam, showcasing 10 emerging photographers from across the continent – a pick from each country.

© Rie Yamada

“We realised that we could do more to create opportunities for artists, and that is where we came up with Futures,” explains Menno Liauw, strategy director at Vandejong, which is coordinating activities, having created the platform in the mould of Unseen, the first art fair of its kind, focusing on emerging talent. “It’s not only a fair, it’s a multifaceted event,” says Emilia van Lynden, artistic director at Unseen, pointing towards its diverse and novel approaches to engaging audiences with contemporary photography, such as last-year’s Co-op, showcasing collectives, and its tireless efforts to bring young artists together with young consumers and fledgling collectors. “We want to show people that you don’t have to be a millionaire to buy photography,” says van Lynden. “With a small budget you can already buy fantastic works of art from talented artists.”

Peckham’s Copeland Gallery (left) and the Bussey Building (centre)

BJP’s event will take place at Peckham 24 from 18 to 20 May, presenting work by five artists featured in the latest annual talent issue, Ones To Watch in 2018. “We have long had ambitions to do more with our talent programme,” explains BJP editor Simon Bainbridge. “We’ve run our talent issue for seven years, but we have always wanted to turn it into an exhibition to give a wider platform to the talents we’re helping along in their careers in some way.”

The decision to put on the BJP Futures exhibition at Peckham 24 presented itself quite naturally, he says. Having worked with Peckham 24 last year, which runs alongside Photo London, he was impressed by the event’s vibrant atmosphere and engagement with local artists. “While Photo London brings together some of the world’s most renowned photography dealers in a landmark building between the Thames and The Strand in the West End, Peckham 24 represents another reality – that of the emerging artists, producers and galleries who have helped create such a vibrant arts scene away from the centre and gentrified east London,” says Bainbridge. “Last year’s opening night was buzzing; a meeting of the two worlds, with hundreds of young artists and students mixing with the collectors and curators and publishers who’d come over from Photo London and Offprint, drinking and talking together into the early hours of Saturday morning.”

Let us not fall asleep © David Denil

The artists that BJP will be exhibiting at the event are South African-born, London-based photographer Phillip Prokopiou, whose work explores the power of kitsch to communicate our deepest hopes, fears and fantasies; Belgian photographer David Denil, whose cinematic images from Ukraine communicate the sentiment of contemplating the future while gripped by the past; British photographer Phoebe Kiely, who is guided in her work by intuition and emotion; Japanese photographer Rie Yamada, who positions herself within self-composed family photographs, from photo albums sourced in her motherland and that of her new home in Germany; and Valeria Cherchi, an Italian photographer whose images seek to make sense of the many kidnappings that took place between 1960 and 1997 on the idyllic island of Sardinia.

© Valeria Cherchi

The Futures programme, co-funded by the Creative European programme of the European Union, began in Budapest last month, where the Robert Capa Contemporary Photography Center staged two days of portfolio reviews, from which five Hungarian artists were selected to join the Futures platform. This was followed by a presentation at Villa Noailles in Hyères, during the 33rd Festival of Fashion, Photography and Fashion Accessories (26-30 April), famed for the talent programme that has been a launchpad for photographers such as Sølve Sundsbø, Daniel Stier, Anouk Kruithof, Jessica Eaton and Lorenzo Vitturi, then by PhotoIreland Festival in Dublin (01-31 May), and a conference at http://camera.to/en/, the Italian Centre for Photography in Turin (11-13 May).

After BJP‘s Ones To Watch exhibition at Peckham 24 in mid-May, Hamburg Triennial of Photography will stage a unique take on the portfolio review (07-08 June) and, similar to the Capa Center, a jury will select five artists to represent at Unseen. The stellar jury panel includes Diane Dufour, director of Le Bal in Paris, Lars Boering, managing director of World Press Photo, and Christoph Wiesner, artistic director of Paris Photo.

Photo España will then stage projections in the beautific confines of the Botanical Gardens in Madrid on 16 June. This will be followed by a Polish talents launch at Lodz Fotofestiwal (21-24 June), consisting of five large-format projections to present each of the emerging photographers. Named The European Night of Photography, the event will take place along Piotrkowska Street – the longest street in Poland and one of the biggest commercial thoroughfares in Europe. Dates have yet to be confirmed for the final two events – a pop-up exhibition at FOMU in Antwerp, featuring the 10 Belgium-based talents from its Tiff programme and Photo Romania’s selections, which will be shown at the festival in Cluj-Napoca.

© Phillip Prokopiou

The more than 50 young artists selected in total will be supported through the programme over the course of four years, during which time further institutions will be invited to join, and each year the partners will submit new talents. There will also be a series of residencies, drawing on artists in the members’ talent programmes, beginning later this year with three residencies in Italy, Ireland and Poland.

© Phoebe Kiely

© Phoebe Kiely

© Phillip Prokopiou

Let us not fall asleep © David Denil

© Rie Yamada

© Valeria Cherchi