The Swiss artist wins for his series Ekaterina, a fictional narrative in which he looks for a bride in Ukraine
“Romain Mader’s Ekatarina is notable for the humour and irony with which he addresses serious issues: solitude, love, exploitation and the female body,” said the jury for the Foam Paul Huf Award. “In this Chinese box of a project, each layer opens to reveal a new interpretive possibility. What is real here, and what is fiction?
“In the invented Ukrainian town of Ekaterina, mysteriously populated only by women, Mader – or the character he plays – looks for love. Unremarkable in appearance, he spends time with aspiring models and beauty queen hopefuls, frozen behind their smiles.”
Mader, who was born in 1988, wins €20,000 plus a solo show at the Foam Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam towards the end of 2017. The Foam Paul Huf Award is an annual prize for image-makers under the age of 35, which was set up in 2007 in memory of Paul Huf, an innovative photographer instrumental in founding the Foam Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam in 2001. Previous winners include Daisuke Yokota (2016), Daniel Gordon (2014), Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs (2013), and Taryn Simon and Mikhael Subotzky (2007).
The members of the 2017 jury were: Lucy Conticello, chair (director of photography, M, Le Magazine du Monde, France); Gregory Barker (publisher, STANLEY/BARKER, UK); Teju Cole (writer, photographer and photo critic, The New York Times Magazine, USA); Shi Hantao (research director, Shanghai Project, China); Maddalena Scarzella (gallery manager, Galleria Carla Sozzani, Italy).