Tate Modern’s show Shape of Light: 100 Years of Photography and Abstract Art includes over 300 works by more than 100 artists, making it the first show of this scale to trace abstract art and photography’s parallel development. On show from 2 May to 15 October, the exhibition spans from early experiments of the 1900s to digital innovations of the present day, examining how photographers through the years have responded to the emerging field of abstract art. It places pioneering work such as Alvin Langdon Coburn’s Vortographs (1917) and Imogen Cunningham’s Triangles (1928) alongside iconic paintings and sculptures by the likes of George Braque and Jackson Pollock.
“I’m a bit at a loss at the moment; to say that I’m honoured feels like an understatement,” says photographer Daniel Shea, who has won the 12th Foam Paul Huf Award. “I’ve been following this award and Foam for a long time, and I feel incredibly honored, grateful, lucky, and humbled by this opportunity.” Shea has won the prize with his series 43-35 10th Street, described as a reflection on late capitalism and its effects on New York City. He wins €20,000 and a solo show at the Foam Fotografiemuseum in Amsterdam, which will take place in Autumn this year.
As we move into 2018, BJP review the themes explored in our 2017 editions and ask what you would like us to cover this year
We are in Arles, where in July 2016 he showed Mortuary, one of his signature sculptural installations, made up of heavily manipulated, elongated photographic forms. He had been selected for the Rencontres photofestival’s Discovery Award, though in truth this cat had been long out of the bag – Yokota exhibited in Arles in 2015, showing his almost imperceptible inky-black prints from his Inversion series as part of Another Language: 8 Japanese Photographers, curated by Simon Baker of Tate Modern. And in the preceding half decade, his intriguing, visually arresting performances, experiments, installations, books, soundscapes and collaborations have blazed a trail from Tokyo to wider international acclaim, taking photography on a journey to the extreme. In this he is a revolutionary, with neither pretension nor timid creativity. The sheer energy with which he produces work is extraordinary, verging on obsessional and driven by a desire to constantly record, destroy and then recreate. Anxiety is the fuel. “In my mind, I have an image of burning energy in continual production,” he says.
What do Daisuke Yokota and Thomas Mailaender have in common? On the face of it very little, with the Japanese artist specialising in ethereal, fine art installations, and the French provocateur in deliberately jokey tattoos, pottery and chicken runs (complete with live chickens). “Society puts too much pressure on us to be perfect when in fact everybody smells bad in the arse,” says Mailaender; “If you look around there are so many extraordinary artists and, when I compare, I have done nothing,” says Yokota. “If I burn out now, I was not good enough.” But if you look a little deeper, the two artists are both concerned with the fragile materiality of the photograph, and the alchemic process that transubstantiates mundane subjects into the sacred and the profane. So we’ve put their work together this issue, and added images by artists with similar concerns. Alejandro Guijarro’s Lead, for example, which uses an x-ray machine to illuminate the hidden layers of Old Masters; or Raphael Dallaporta’s Chauvet – Pont-d’Arc, L’inappropriable, a study of prehistoric cave sketches which …
The photography collector, dealer, curator, editor, artist and soon-to-be gallerist on what made the year for him
The director of Self Publish, Be Happy on what made 2016 for him – and what he’s looking forward to in 2017
Daisuke Yokota, 32, from Saitama, north of Tokyo, in Japan, has a long, meticulous and demanding approach to photography, the kind of work only an obsessive would embark on. Yokota, who is represented by Japanese gallery G/P, is at the vanguard of a new movement of Japanese experimental photographers. He shoots on a compact digital camera, before printing and rephotographing the images on medium-format film. He then prints and reprints, again and again, but this time using heat and light, or applying acid or naked flames to the end results. In the process, the images become distorted, warped, otherworldly. This process results in one-off prints and unique books, often published using unexpected materials. Yokota has made for a name for himself at photography festivals by staging these book-making sessions, in what amounts to public performances of photo publishing. Yokota has produced several acclaimed photobooks in this way, including Linger and Vertigo, each of which sold out over the course of the festivals in which they were launched, and are now invariably hard to find and expensive to …