The Austrian photographer Thomas Albdorf is the winner of the 2016 ING Unseen Talent Award. The award and the €10,000 prize to fund a new project was accepted at the opening event of Unseen Photo Fair, which took place in Amsterdam on 22 September.
The winner was chosen from five finalists: Thomas Albdorf (1982, Austria), Laurianne Bixhain (1987, Luxembourg), Felicity Hammond (1988, UK), Miren Pastor (1985, Spain) and Tereza Zelenkova (1985, Czech Republic).
After working for several years as an art director, Thomas Albdorf (1982, AT) studied Transmedia Art at the University of Applied Arts Vienna, where he graduated in 2013. His work has been exhibited throughout galleries in Europe and the USA and featured in many magazines. He lives and works in Vienna, Austria.
Albdorf conceives photography as “a chain of decisions” ranging from the subject’s staging to post-production and the final print. In this way, the analogue negative doesn’t officiate as an enclosed photograph but rather a space of possibilities and probabilities. Alterations leave their visible mark in the final work, revealing their source as well as bringing their conditions of production up for discussion.
The winner of the ING Unseen Talent Award 2016 Public Prize was also announced, a prize determined by an online poll, which closed on 19 September.
The winner, Spanish photographer Miren Pastor, was awarded a commission to create new work for the ING Collection.
Based in Madrid, Miren Pastor (1985, ES) studied Fine Arts at the University of the Basque Country and specialised in Photography in Blank Paper Escuela Madrid. This was a turning point in her career and it was there that Bidean was conceived as an ongoing project. Bidean investigates the passing of time and human relationships.
Taking adolescence as the epitome of change, Pastor reflects on the elements that determine our development and shape our identity, just like the unstable cycles of nature. Pastor has published two photobooks within the project so far.
Each of the finalists created an artwork for the ING Collection in response to this year’s theme, Fool for Love.
Director of Unseen Rixt Hulshoff Pol: “It’s incredibly exciting to see how this theme has challenged the artists in different ways. Each work shows a personal connection to the theme, which is what I find so powerful”.
The ING Unseen Talent Award winner was selected by an international jury comprised of Martin Barnes (Senior Curator, Photography Department, Victoria & Albert Museum, UK), Lucy Conticello (Director of Photography, M, le Monde, FR), Rineke Dijkstra (Artist and 2014 & 2015 edition coach, NL), Azu Nwagbogu (Director, LagosPhoto Festival, African Artists’ Foundation and National Art Competition, NG) and Sanne ten Brink (Global Head Curator, ING Collection, NL), as well as British Journal of Photography’s editor, Simon Bainbridge.
The report by the jury states: “Thomas Albdorf satisfied the theme with a very succinct approach. His use of technology and construction resulted in clear but sophisticated
￼￼images. The photographs were visually and conceptually multi-layered. In a powerful diptych he conveyed the universal experience of being both in and out of love.”
In addition to the €10,000 prize for the winner, all five artists also had an opportunity to take part in an extensive talent programme under the guidance of American artist Todd Hido.
Sanne ten Brink, Global Head Curator of the ING Collection and member of the jury, said: “The breadth and quality of the award finalists work was extraordinary and will make an excellent addition to the ING Collection.”
All ING Unseen Talent Award finalists’ works can be seen at the ING Unseen Lounge, during Unseen Photo Fair 2016, which runs from 23 to 25 September in Amsterdam.
More information here.