Five contemporary Austrian photographers – Stefanie Moshammer, Thomas Albdorf, Hanna Putz, Klaus Pichler and Daniel Gebhart de Koekkoek – present work responding to the place they call home
Photo London’s 2018 Pavilion Commission Austria. The Art of Discovery features work by five contemporary Austrian photographers. The exhibited images, on show at the fair between 17 and 20 May, all respond to Austria differently. Together they offer an alternative representation of the country from the perspectives of a group of practitioners living and working there. Curated by British Journal of Photography, the Pavilion Commission was made possible with the support of the Austrian National Tourist Office, as part of its initiative Austria. The Art of Discovery.
BJP organised a competition, in collaboration with the Austrian National Tourist Office, giving one photographer the opportunity to travel to Austria on an exclusive commission; images from the resulting body of work are being exhibited as part of the 2018 Pavilion Commission. London-based photographer Catherine Hyland was selected as the winner and embarked on a journey across the country to create a series of photographs responding to the people and places she encountered. Read the first of two editorials showcasing her project in full here.
Below, we introduce the work of the six exhibiting photographers.
Stefanie Moshammer’s exhibited work comes from two series, Therese (2017) and Chalupar (2018). For Therese, Moshammer embarked on a visual journey through her hometown of Vienna; as much an external exploration of her birthplace as an internal quest for self-identity. Chalupar is an extension of that initial series and developed out of Moshammer recording settings around her grandparents’ house in Upper Austria. The images sit together as a poignant depiction of Moshammer’s complex relationship with her homeland.
Thomas Albdorf is exhibiting work from his project I Know I Will See What I Have Seen Before (2015). For this series, Albdorf co-opted the mountainous landscapes of his homeland as a canvas on which to explore people’s perceptions of Austria and the visual cliches associated with it. “We, as Austrians, construct our visual identity through those mountain cliches and, from the outside, we are also very much associated with them,” he explained in an interview with BJP earlier this year.
Hanna Putz is showing work from her series Portraits (ongoing). Comprising individual portraits shot around the world, most of the images are the result of Putz approaching people who intrigue her, both friends and strangers. Many of the writers, artists and designers she photographed are part of Vienna’s thriving art scene, which, in a recent interview with BJP, the photographer described as “genuine, intelligent, self-destructive, energetic, fun, and, for better or for worse, always a bit ‘anti,’ whatever that might mean.”
Klaus Pichler is exhibiting work from his project Middle Class Utopia (2015), a series he shot in and around Vienna. The project captures the curious worlds of Schrebergärten – small allotment gardens found throughout the capital. Intrigued by the strange atmosphere that pervades them, Pichler explored these inner-city idylls over the course of a year, capturing their subtle quirks and peculiarities. “For me, photography is like a key, opening doors into hidden parts of society and everyday life,” explained Pichler in an interview with BJP.
Daniel Gebhart de Koekkoek
Daniel Gebhart de Koekkoek is showing work from his series A Kind of Magic (2016). Depicting a magician performing in a secluded field in rural Austria, the series offers a glimpse into the curious world of wizardry.
Gebhart de Koekkoek, who is based between Vienna and Berlin, began pursuing a career in photography while living in New York. His work captures peculiar situations, and an eclectic range of individuals and communities, united by their unconventional passions and professions.
As the winner of the Austria. The Art of Discovery competition, Catherine Hyland traversed the country over the course of a week, developing her project as the trip progressed. Beginning in the mountainous state of Vorarlberg in western Austria, here the photographer explored the striking landscapes of the Bregenzerwald. Hyland then travelled five hours north to the sprawling city of Linz: a former European Capital of Culture that straddles the Danube River.
In Bregenzerwald, the photographer documented humankind’s attempts to control and tame the region’s landscapes: from manicured villages punctuating sloping valleys, to man-made roads that weave up steep mountainsides. In Linz, Hyland was drawn to the Danube River, making portraits of the diverse range of people she encountered along its banks.
The Pavilion Commission was made possible with the generous support of the Austrian National Tourist Office, as part of its initiative Austria. The Art of Discovery, which offers an insight into the country through the eyes of local thinkers, artists and entrepreneurs. Please click here for more information on sponsored content funding at British Journal of Photography.