“It’s a world in which Black folks can appear intimate, in unison with themselves, and in sync with one another”
On the event of Photo London, BJP-online presents a round-up of exhibitions taking place in London this weekend
Maurice Scheltens and Liesbeth Abbenes have long been preoccupied by perspective. In fact, this year is the 18th that the artist duo – partners in life, as well as in work – have spent creating their painstakingly controlled scenes to capture on camera together. Translating their immaculately constructed three-dimensional sets into technically precise two-dimensional images, they have made a name for themselves with rich, playful and illusory works that toy with spatial dimensions, and which, though aesthetically pleasing, are conceptually rigorous first and foremost. The concept, Abbenes assures us, always precedes the picture.
Their spring exhibition at Amsterdam’s Foam Museum (from 15 March to 05 June) is something like a retrospective, giving the Dutch duo an opportunity to look back over almost two decades of work from a new perspective. And true to form, they are first rearranging the rooms their work will inhabit by uncovering windows that have not been opened in many years. “We will have light and some fresh air, hopefully. We have to give up walls for that, but it’s good to have a bit of the outside world coming in,” they say. Shifting the dimensions and conditions of the space itself will alter the way viewers see the work, and that typifies their approach to the exhibition, rethinking how the works will appear in this new context, and how they relate to each other.
Ghanaian photographer Eric Gyamfi has won the 13th Foam Paul Huf Award, which is given annually to a photographer under the age of 35.
Gyamfi won the award for his most recent project, Fixing Shadows; Julius and I. “Photographs die and are reincarnated,” stated the photographer, who wins £20,000, a solo show at Foam in Amsterdam, and a spot in Foam Magazine’s Talent Issue and travelling exhibition. “I am interested in what happens to the life of the photograph as it gets sited through time, through death. Fixing shadows; Julius and I, works on the space/life between two photographs, mapped/permutated through different times, encounters and potentialities, as they move through a certain death.”
A group show of contemporary Czech photography, Tender is dedicated to work that “registers vulnerabilities of people and their environments – the bruises on the fruit”. The selected photographers include image-makers such as Tereza Zelenková, Vendula Knopová, and Hana Knížová, for example, who adopt widely varying styles but can all be seen to investigate this idea in their selected work.
“Remember, ‘tender’ also means a bid and this exhibition is a part of a program established to promote the Czech Republic abroad,” write the exhibition curator Michal Nanoru. “Are you going to accept the offer?”
BJP-online Loves the new Russian photography on FotoDepartament’s Attention Hub, the RPS’ list of 100 photographic heroines, Claudio Majorana’s Head of the Lion, John Myers’ Looking at the Overlooked, Feast for the Eyes – The Story of Food in Photography on show at FOAM, Jamie Hawkesworth’s a blue painted fence, and La Vertigine by Federico Clavarino
When William Henry Fox Talbot pioneered the salted paper and calotype processes in 1841, he soon turned his new inventions to food, capturing two baskets overflowing with fruit. Creating an image designed to mimic the paintings of the time, and to contrast the colours and textures of the pineapple and peaches, he also made an image rife with welcoming symbolism – the pineapple a sign of hospitality, the peach a sign of fecundity.
“Fox Talbot’s photograph was copying the traditions of painting and its attendant symbolism,” says photography curator and writer Susan Bright. “But it was also concerned with the role of photography, and elevating its status to that of art. In this respect it resonates nicely with artists such as Daniel Gordon, whose work also deals with the medium of photography. But his constructed pineapple has nothing to do with symbolism, or striving to be understood as art. It is art. He is questioning the role of visual perception, what is real and what is not.
“The way food is photographed says a tremendous amount about significant aspects of our culture,” Bright continues. “It is often about fantasy, be that national, sexual or historical. Photographs of food are the carrier for so many things – desire, consumption, taste, immigration and feminism, for example. It has been a major part of the development of fine art, editorial, fashion, marketing and product photography throughout the 20th and 21st century.”
Silvia Rosi and Theo Simpson have won the UK’s Jerwood/Photoworks Awards for emerging photographers. Each receives £10,000 to make new work plus an additional fund of £5000 and print support from Spectrum Photographic, plus high-profile mentoring and a two-person exhibition that will start at the Jerwood Space in January 2020 and travel throughout the UK.
Born in 1992 in Scandiano, Italy, Rosi is a Togolaise/Italian artist living and working in London. Graduating from the London College of Communication in 2016 with a BA in Photography, she makes work that references the West African studio portrait to explore her family and its experience of migration. Born in 1986 in Doncaster, Theo Simpson lives and works in Lincolnshire, UK, and has shown his work at institutions such as FOAM in Amsterdam, and Webber Gallery, London. His work considers the long game and the transformations of the globalising world, and has previously been published on bjp-online www.bjp-online.com/2017/02/theosimpson/
Feeling all shopped out? Take refuge in a photo show – though many are being hosted by private galleries in Paris next week, meaning you can still buy prints if you want to. Photo Saint-Germain is a huge umbrella under which 36 exhibitions and events are taking place, for example, including the Polycopies and Shakespeare & Co book events and several cultural institutes, but also smaller, commercial galleries.
Les Rencontres d’Arles is the most prestigious photo festival in the world – that’s beyond question. But according to a high-profile group of photographers, curators, and writers, there’s still more that it could do. They’ve got together to sign a public letter to festival director Sam Stourdzé, which urges him to include more exhibitions by women in the main programme at Arles, and which was published in the French newspaper Libération on 03 September.
The letter is signed by influential industry figures such as Iwona Blazwick, director of the Whitechapel Gallery; Victor Burgin, Professor Emeritus of History of Consciousness, University of California, Santa Cruz, and Emeritus Millard Chair of Fine Art at Goldsmiths College, University of London; collectors Claire and James Hyman; and Olivier Richon, Professor of Photography, Royal College of Art, London, as well as photographers and artists such as Clare Strand, Sunil Gupta, and Anna Fox.