The director of Self Publish, Be Happy on what made 2016 for him - and what he's looking forward to in 2017
1. Tyrone Lebon’s CK campaign
I have been a fan of Tyrone’s work for a while but with this year’ CK campaign he has really accomplished something exceptional – helping reboot a brand, putting it back into our fashion consciousness. His campaign is visually breath-taking, smartly-casted and totally hot – and his video for Frank Ocean is also well worth a look.
2. La Hydra masterclass, Mexico City
La Hydra is a idiosyncratic organisation run by photographer Ana Casas Broda out of her own house in Mexico City. Among the different activities La Hydra runs is a masterclass in book-making that attracts very talented young photographers from across all of South America. The classes are a mix between group therapy and book club, where emotions and passion run pretty high. La Hydra is a good reminder of the power of grassroots education.
3. Spew Editions
Three of my favourite contemporary Japanese photographers – Daisuke Yokota, Naohiro Utagawa and Koji Kitagawa – have started a collective this year to create music, art performances, photographs and books. It all started with them locked in a hotel room for three days making work and documenting everything. Kūru!
4. Melanie Bonajo’s exhibition Night Soil at FOAM, 16 November-07 December
Melanie has always challenged expectations about art-making, and her new series of films Night Soil just confirm that. She mixes performance art with documentary filmmaking, the personal with the political, subversion with morality. Her work is powerful and a reminder of the real scope of art: pushing the boundaries and pursue a progressive agenda. Much needed in the dark times ahead of us.
5. Fotopub Festival in Slovenia, 01-06 August
A group of recent graduates from a small town in Slovenia called Novo Mesto has decided to put together a new photo festival. Exhibitions by young European photographers are curated by their contemporaries, the shows are hosted in unusual locations such as yoga studios or camping sites, all the artists sleep together in an hostel for a week, and each night there a BIG party. The result is an electrifying event with some of the most experimental exhibitions I have seen this year.
In 2017 I’m looking forward to:
1. The Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2017, 03 March-11 June
With Sophie Calle, Dana Lixenberg, Awoiska van der Molen and Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs all making the shortlist, the 2017 prize has the potential to be one of the best in years.
2. SPBH at the Melbourne Art Book Fair, 16-19 March
Self Publish, Be Happy is the keynote guest of the 2017 Melbourne Art Book Fair at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia. I’m very excited to visit Australia and with the NGV we are planning a three day non-stop book club session in the middle of the gallery, which will involve different communities to talk about politics, art and society using books as a conduit to exchange.
3. SPBH One Book Shop
A new project, in which we will open a temporary bookshop in London that sells only one title and lots of different artefacts related to that book.