Tag Archives: Oliver Chanarin

Photo News – Shortlist announced for Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2013 and new Hotshoe iPad App out now

© Chris Killip, nominee for Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2013

A newsy post today as The Photographers’ Gallery announces the shortlist for the annual Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2013 with an interesting mix of the old and the new, or rather, the more traditional and the contemporary. It’s great to see Chris Kilip in the mix as he surely represents a different generation of photographers from the remaining three nominees who were all born in the 1970s. In fact, I’d hazard a guess that he’s the only one who would refer to himself as a photographer rather than artist/visual artist using photography, or other such label.

© Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin, nominee for Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2013

The shortlist is based on “a specific body of work in an exhibition or publication format, which has significantly contributed to photography in Europe between 1 October 2011 and 30 September 2012″. Mmmmm. That’s a tall order as how can one tell whether a body of work “has significantly contributed to photography in Europe between 1 October 2011 and 30 September 2012″?

How is this measured and what are the criteria?

And why these cut off dates?

Doesn’t the significance of the publication, or show, need some distance in time to show what its contribution is? What if a show is “ahead of its time” and only gets recognized years later?

I’m happy to see these nominees (two, in particular), however, as I guess happens every year, I can think of one artist/show at the Imperial War Museum in London by Ori Gersht that I would have liked to have seen nominated. I wonder why it wasn’t in the running, or maybe it was?

DEUTSCHE BORSE PHOTOGRAPHY PRIZE 2013 SHORTLIST
“This year’s jury selected four artists whose work represents four distinct and significant positions within contemporary photography – Chris Killip for his singular and timeless vision reinterpreting the possibilities of documentary practice; Broomberg & Chanarin for their surgical examination of images of conflict using Brecht’s War Primer as their source; Mishka Henner for appropriating the archive of Google Street View photographs to examine the landscape of today’s sex workers and Cristina De Middel’s ‘mockumentary’ on the Zambian space programme which confidently blurs the boundaries of fact and fiction in a highly original way.”
Brett Rogers, Director of The Photographers’ Gallery and Chair of the Jury.

The four artists shortlisted for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2013 are Mishka Henner, Chris Killip, Cristina De Middel and the artist duo Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin.

© Mishka Henner, nominee for Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2013

The annual award of £30,000 rewards a living photographer, of any nationality, for a specific body of work in an exhibition or publication format, which has significantly contributed to photography in Europe between 1 October 2011 and 30 September 2012. The winner will be announced at a special ceremony at The Photographers’ Gallery in May 2013. The Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2013is presented by The Photographers’ Gallery, London.

© Cristina de Middel, nominee for Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2013

I was going to post a multimedia video by Cristina de Middel from the recent SlideLuck London show in Brighton, see previous post, so I thought I’d add it here as she’s one of the nominees (though not for this work).

Cristina de Middel – Made in from elciclopemecanico on Vimeo.

For information on each of the nominees, read more…

HOTSHOE NEW iPAD ISSUE OUT NOW


Look out for the new issue of the Hotshoe iPad app which is out with a lead feature by a previous Deutsche Börse nominee Pieter Hugo.

Featuring: David Chancellor’s documentary project, Hunters, exploring Africa through the eyes of the tourist trophy hunter; Photojournalist Christopher Anderson comes in from the cold to create his emotive series, Son; Pieter Hugo’s haunting portraits from There’s a Place in Hell for Me and My Friends; Cyrus Shahrad’s hilarious essay in response to Matthieu Lavanchy’s Mr Schulmann or the Man in the High Castle; Laura Noel’s Withdrawn library books and in the Hot Seat, Prestel Director, Andrew Hansen, talks about keeping the faith.

Plus reviews of Sophie Calle’s book Rachel, Monique…., WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, curated by Anne Tucker, the Canon EOS 5D, as well as A.D. Coleman’s Letter from New York: Return of the Supressed (3), a round up of the latest photo books, exhibition listings, news and more.

Exclusive App Content: Michael Jang’s Summer Weather and Roman Drits Auftakt, with added multimedia content from Andrew Hansen, plus enriched portfolios, clickable exhibition listings and much, much more.

Download the app for free and then subscribe for one year for just £9.99, and get the latest issue of Hotshoe directly to your iPad every other month.

DEUTSCHE BORSE PHOTOGRAPHY PRIZE 2013 SHORTLIST Cont…
The four shortlisted artists have been nominated for the following projects:

Adam Broomberg (b. 1970, South Africa) & Oliver Chanarin (b. 1971, UK) are nominated for their publication War Primer 2 (2012, MACK). The limited edition book physically inhabits the pages of Bertolt Brecht’s publication War Primer (1955). In the original, Brecht matched WWII newspaper clippings with short poems that sought to demystify press images, which he referred to as hieroglyphics. In War Primer 2 Broomberg & Chanarin choose to focus on the ‘War on Terror’; sifting through the internet for low resolution screen-grabs and mobile phone images, the artists then combined them to resonate with Brecht’s poems. Through this layering of photographic history, Broomberg & Chanarin offer a critique of photographs of contemporary conflict and their dissemination—a theme that has been at the centre of their practice for fifteen years.

Mishka Henner (b. 1976, UK) is nominated for his exhibition No Man’s Land at Fotografia Festival Internazionale di Roma, Museum of Contemporary Art, Rome, Italy (20 September – 28 October 2012). In No Man’s Land Henner explores the margins of European urban and rural environments with images produced using Google Street View. Identifying geographic locations from online forums where men share information on the whereabouts of sex workers, Henner visits and records these sites using the mechanical gaze of car-mounted cameras. Henner’s work poses complex questions about the blurring of boundaries between voyeurism, online information gathering and privacy rights.

Chris Killip (b. 1946, UK) is nominated for his exhibition What Happened Great Britain 1970 – 1990 at Le Bal, Paris (11 May – 19 August 2012). In this series of stark black and white images Killip chronicles the disintegration of industrial Britain in working class communities in the north of England. Immersing himself in the lives of the people he documented, Killip tells personal stories of men at work set against a backdrop of socio-political upheaval.

Cristina De Middel(b. 1975, Spain) is nominated for her publication The Afronauts (2011, self-published). In 1964, after gaining independence, Zambia started a space programme led by Edward Makuka Nkoloso, sole member of the unheard of National Academy of Science, Space Research and Philosophy. The programme, whose aim was to send the first African astronauts to Mars, was soon cancelled, becoming no more than an amusing anecdote in the country’s history. In The Afronauts De Middel creates a subjective version of the story engaging with myths and truths. The book is comprised of a series of constructed colour photographs, sequenced alongside drawings and reproductions of letters, resulting in a fictional portrait of a national dream.

The members of the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2013 jury are: Joan Fontcuberta, artist; Andrea Holzherr, Exhibition Manager, Magnum; Karol Hordziej, Artistic Director, Krakow Photomonth; and Anne-Marie Beckmann, Curator, Art Collection Deutsche Börse, Germany. Brett Rogers, Director of The Photographers’ Gallery, is the non-voting Chair.

Works by the shortlisted photographers will be shown in an exhibition at The Photographers’ Gallery followed by presentations at the Deutsche Börse headquarters in Frankfurt/Eschborn and at C/O Berlin, Forum for Visual Dialogues.

Filed under: Documentary photography, Photographers, Photography Awards & Competitions Tagged: Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin, Chris Killip, Cristina De Middel, Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2013, Hotshoe iPad app, Mishka Henner, Ori Gersht, photo competitions, The Photographers’ Gallery

Brighton Photo Fringe Photo Stroll Part One – Jinkyun Ahn, The Photocopy Club and The Unphotographable with Farnham student Catherine Symons

Trying to get work together for the Brighton Photo Fringe with Tri-pod and our work-in-progress show IS THAT IT (more to come later), plus moving and looking for work has been full on.

I’m now based in Brighton, for the time being, and while I find my feet, I asked Farnham student Catherine Symons, who attended the press view, to cover it for the blog. It’s great to get another perspective, let go and allow someone else the space to preview the shows…

So, I now hand over to Catherine for the first of two posts.

 ON THE SURFACE OF IMAGES – JINKYUN AHN

Confrontation 1 from On The Surface Of Images © Jinkyun Ahn. Photo courtesy of the artist and The Phoenix Brighton

On Saturday 6 October the Brighton Photo Fringe 2012 was launched, starting at Phoenix Brighton. Phoenix Brighton is used this year to showcase OPEN 2012.  Over 100 submissions were received and On The Surface Of Images by Korean photographer Jinkyun Ahn was selected as the winner by Clare Grafik, Susanna Brown and Oliver Chanarin.

Photographer Jinkyun Ahn in conversation with Afshin Dehkordi, Photograph by Catherine Symons

Ahn’s first major solo exhibition On The Surface Of Images shows his photographic work on the subject of his parents, looking at the theme of mortality. “The empty plot that my parents prepared for their after-life is an image of death that will be fixed eternally in the landscape, as well as, in my mind.” From the artist’s statement.

Photographs by Catherine Symons

Walking around the exhibition, there is the experience of the different elements and processes that Ahn went through in his mind when making this body of work. He comments on the distance and isolation he experienced through showing the fragmenting of his parents with their faces darkened or dismembered in different ways.

On The Surface Of Images runs until 18 November.

THE PHOTOCOPY CLUB

Photos Catherine Symons.

The fifth exhibition from The Photocopy Club is on show at The Phoenix Brighton. The Brighton-based company opened in 2011 with the aim to have six bi-monthly open submission exhibitions. The idea behind this organization is to take photographs from the internet and instead put them into the public’s hands.

100 photographers work is displayed on chipboard, including envelopes and notes sent in, which adds a rawness to the project. Bringing together a variety of different images, the aesthetic of the work allows the tactile nature of the photograph to come back into play and for the work to be disseminated to a wider audience.

This show is followed by the exhibition DUO hosted by WEARELUCKY/HOLYGHOST – a show looking at the work of four pairs of young photographers. Details of their next submission exhibition can be found at The Photocopy Club deadline 18 November.

UNPHOTOGRAPHABLE – MICHAEL DAVID MURPHY & THE ENTENTE

© Michael David Murphy & The Entente

Brighton Photo Fringe designers, Michael David Murphy and The Entente invited members of the public to contribute to their work, whereby they take elements of the unphotographable and combine this with text.

Photo by Catherine Symons

“Opportunities missed.  Simple failures.  Occasions when I wished I’d taken the picture, or not forgotten the camera, or had been brave enough to click the shutter.” Michael David Murphy.

The result is a graphical representation of what would have been and is achieved through combining bold black text with coloured symbols. The text and symbols give the viewer a snippet of the whole image and engaging the viewer’s imagination to allow them to determine the image that they would like to see.

Allow your imagination to run free with this thought-provoking installation.

All shows at The Phoenix Brighton. Open Tues-Sun 11:00-17:00.

Filed under: Photo Stroll, Photographers, Photography Festivals Tagged: Afshin Dehkordi, Catherine Symons, Jinkyun Ahn, Michael David Murphy, On The Surface Of Images, Phoenix Brighton, The Entente, The Photocopy Club, The Unphotographable

Photo Prize Round-Up — 05.31.12


PhoozL (With Joel Meyerowitz) (deadline: June 4, 2012, 11:59 pm EST)

History> The inauguration of a recurring “super-judged” photo contest run by the photography education and entertainment site PhoozL, which features assignments, critiques, competitions and more, created by Harald Johnson.

Concept> Legendary photographer Joel Meyerowitz, author of the monograph Legacy, will judge images pertaining to the theme “Seeing the Light.” In this video, he explains that he’s looking for “something surprising, something unexpected, some ordinary event that becomes extraordinary because the light changes it in just such a way.”

Details> No processing/editing or capture date restrictions. Grand Prize Winner receives a priceless one-on-one review of their photography by Joel Meyerowitz himself. Second-Place Prize is a Course Technology PRT Free Book Certificate or voucher redeemable here. Third-Place Prize is a one-year gift subscription to Aperture magazine. 

How To Apply> Entry is FREE to members (18+) registered with the website. Submit up to five (5) photos relating to the theme online by June 4, 2012, 12:59 pm EST.


Brighton Photo Fringe OPEN 2012 (deadline: June 4, 2012, 5:00 pm BST)

History> Every two years, Brighton Photo Fringe co-ordinates a city-wide festival of exhibitions and events in partnership with Brighton Photo Biennial, supporting photographers and lens-based artists and showcasing the best of current photographic practice.

Concept> Emerging-to-midcareer artists, currently living or working in the UK are invited to submit any lens-based work that has not yet been exhibited anywhere in the UK for a solo exhibition opportunity at Brighton Photo Fringe.

Details> Clare Grafik, Adam Broomberg, Oliver Chanarin, and Susanna Brown are judging the work. In addition to a high profile solo exhibition, winners receive a £500 artist’s fee, a production budget and travel expenses within the UK. 

How To Apply> Entry fee is £15 per submission. Email a link to up to 20 images in JPEG format at 72 dpi, along with details of the production of submitted work, a statement of up to 500 words about the work, a statement of up to  250 words about how the work will be presented, and an artist’s CV by June 4, 2012, 5:00 pm BST.


Photo Levallois 2012 (deadline: June 9, 2012, 11:59 pm GMT +2)

History> As part of the Photo Levallois Festival, which will take place in October and November 2012, the city of Levallois will be awarding a photography prize to support young international contemporary creation, and discover and promote new talents.

Concept> Photographers under 35 years of age are invited to submit new work of any contemporary photographic process which has not been previously exhibited or published.

Details> The panel of judges consisting of five personalities from the art world including one representative of the city of Levallois, meet in June 2012 and announce the winner the same day. First prize winners are awarded a sum of €10,000 and the opportunity to exhibit their work during the Photo Levallois Festival at L’Escale Gallery.

How To Apply> To submit, download the full rules and regulations, and mail in at least 15 photographs consistent in content and form of presentation, along with a supporting letter up to 1000 words, a letter of recommendation, and a signed copy of the regulations by June 9, 2012, 12:59 pm GMT +2.


Center Forward: International Call For Entries (deadline: June 20, 2012, 11:59 pm MDT)

History> Founded in 2004, The Center for Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins, CO is a nonprofit organization supported by donations, grants, and memberships. With offices, classrooms, and two galleries, the Center provides ongoing juried exhibitions of fine art photography by artists from around the world.

Concept> Photography’s “ability to capture our cultural changes, the environments we inhabit, and the thoughts we keep play[s] a vital role in giving us greater insights into our world and ourselves. In the 2012 Center Forward exhibit we are interested in exploring this unique quality of photography, therefore the theme is open and all subject matter is welcome.”

Details> Fine art photography gallery Directors Ann M. Jastrab and Hamidah Glasgow select work to be exhibited in the Center’s Main Gallery exhibition, Online Gallery exhibition, and Print Catalog. Two artists selected by the jurors will also receive $425 each along with a LiveBooks Website award valued at $399.

How To Apply> Entry is $20 for the first three images for members, $35 for non-members. Each additional image (unlimited) may be submitted for $10 a piece.  Download the upload guidelines and submit online by June 20, 2012, 11:59 pm MDT.

Out of Focus: Photography @ Saatchi Gallery, London


Just opened to the public at Saatchi Gallery is the eagerly anticipated Out of Focus, an exciting survey of contempoaray photography featuring a kaleidoscopic range of work with artists using photography in diverse and innovative ways. squido lense . Artists featured include Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, John Stezaker, Mitch Epstein and may others in what should be a fascinating and diverse look at the state of the medium.  

Out of Focus, the first major photography exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery since the highly acclaimed and controversial 2001 show I Am a Camera, presents 38 artists who offer an international perspective on current trends in photography, working with the medium in diverse, innovative and arresting ways. 
This exhibition comes at a time when the world of photography is going through one of its richest and also most complicated moments. Millions of images are being uploaded onto the internet every day making available more visual stimuli than ever before; old ideas about professional and amateur photographers are being upturned; the traditional boundaries between various territories within the world of photography – fashion, documentary, advertising and art – are blurring into one another in unexpected, exciting and not always tension-free ways; and even the labels artist and photographer are the subject of debate (Olaf Breuning responds to this thorny topic by describing himself as a four-wheel drive, all-purpose terrain vehicle).  
The work included in the show has been brought together to “challenge the received rules and regulations of the medium” while the artists featured within flag up shared concerns of the body and gender tensions, mind and memory, a sense of place and home, the face, bonds of family, friends, tribes and other subcultures, but display a huge range of approaches from classic documentary photography to the reworking of found images, from capturing collaborative performances to photographs of three-dimensional assemblages themselves made out of photographs. 
Out of Focus features works by Michele Abeles, Leonce Raphael Agbodjlou, Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, Olaf Breuning, Jonny Briggs, Elina Brotherus, Anders Clausen, Mat Collishaw, JH Engstrm, Mitch Epstein, Andreas Gefeller, Daniel Gordon, Noemie Goudal, Katy Grannan, Luis Guispert, Matthew Day Jackson, Chris Levine, Matt Lipps, Ryan McGinley, Mohau Modisakeng, Laurel Nakadate, Sohei Nishino, David Noonan, Marlo Pascual, Mariah Robertson, Hannah Sawtell, David Benjamin Sherry, Meredyth Sparks, Hannah Starkey, John Stezaker, A L Steiner, Mikhael Subotzky, Yumiko Utsu, Sara VanDerBeek, Nicole Wermers, Jennifer West and Pinar Yolaan. 
A catalogue to accompany the exhibition is published by Booth-Clibborn Editions with an essay by William E Ewing, former director of the Muse de l’Elyse in Lausanne. The exhibition runs until 22 July 2012.

Out of Focus: Photography @ Saatchi Gallery, London


Just opened to the public at Saatchi Gallery is the eagerly anticipated Out of Focus, an exciting survey of contempoaray photography featuring a kaleidoscopic range of work with artists using photography in diverse and innovative ways. Artists featured include Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, John Stezaker, Mitch Epstein and may others in what should be a fascinating and diverse look at the state of the medium.  

Out of Focus, the first major photography exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery since the highly acclaimed and controversial 2001 show I Am a Camera, presents 38 artists who offer an international perspective on current trends in photography, working with the medium in diverse, innovative and arresting ways. 
This exhibition comes at a time when the world of photography is going through one of its richest and also most complicated moments. Millions of images are being uploaded onto the internet every day making available more visual stimuli than ever before; old ideas about professional and amateur photographers are being upturned; the traditional boundaries between various territories within the world of photography – fashion, documentary, advertising and art – are blurring into one another in unexpected, exciting and not always tension-free ways; and even the labels artist and photographer are the subject of debate (Olaf Breuning responds to this thorny topic by describing himself as a four-wheel drive, all-purpose terrain vehicle).  
The work included in the show has been brought together to “challenge the received rules and regulations of the medium” while the artists featured within flag up shared concerns of the body and gender tensions, mind and memory, a sense of place and home, the face, bonds of family, friends, tribes and other subcultures, but display a huge range of approaches from classic documentary photography to the reworking of found images, from capturing collaborative performances to photographs of three-dimensional assemblages themselves made out of photographs. 
Out of Focus features works by Michele Abeles, Leonce Raphael Agbodjlou, Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, Olaf Breuning, Jonny Briggs, Elina Brotherus, Anders Clausen, Mat Collishaw, JH Engstrm, Mitch Epstein, Andreas Gefeller, Daniel Gordon, Noemie Goudal, Katy Grannan, Luis Guispert, Matthew Day Jackson, Chris Levine, Matt Lipps, Ryan McGinley, Mohau Modisakeng, Laurel Nakadate, Sohei Nishino, David Noonan, Marlo Pascual, Mariah Robertson, Hannah Sawtell, David Benjamin Sherry, Meredyth Sparks, Hannah Starkey, John Stezaker, A L Steiner, Mikhael Subotzky, Yumiko Utsu, Sara VanDerBeek, Nicole Wermers, Jennifer West and Pinar Yolaan. 
A catalogue to accompany the exhibition is published by Booth-Clibborn Editions with an essay by William E Ewing, former director of the Muse de l’Elyse in Lausanne. SEO Experts search engine marketing . The exhibition runs until 22 July 2012.

Portable Monuments: Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin

Plate 23, Poor Monuments, Aircraft, at right, is seen as it is about to fly into the World Trade Center in New York on Tuesday. The aircraft was the second to fly into the tower Tuesday morning, http://www.forrestmarketing.com/ worldtradecenters/attack.html, 2011, © Broomberg and Chanarin

Exhibition on view:
January 14–February 18, 2012

Galerie Gabriel Rolt
Elandsgracht 34
1016 TW Amsterdam
+31 (0) 20 78 55 146

Galerie Gabriel Rolt presents Poor Monuments, a series of 85 works on paper reappropriated from Bertolt Brecht’s book, War Primer. The UK-based team, Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, identify images comparable to our present day from Brecht’s book. Instead of correlating them to World War II as Brecht did, they are revised to embody the “War on Terror.”

The contemporary representation is exemplified through a red box over Brecht’s original image. Here the titles of the source photograph and web address are stated rather than the image itself. In this vein, Broomberg and Chanarin question what has remained similar and what has changed in terms of the fabrication, utilization, and delivery of war photography.

Exhibited for the first time alongside Poor Monuments is Portable Monuments, a further analyzation of Brecht’s poems, where seemingly unsophisticated colored blocks are used to develop a code for investigating and dissecting the photographic image.

Broomberg and Chanarin have been featured in Aperture issues 185 and 204.

Photomonth Krakow 2011 (ALIAS)

You see them here, you see them there, you see them everywhere. In their latest project, the artist team Oliver Chanarin and Adam Broomberg (featured in #11 of 1000 Words) have been blessed with the opportunity of curating an entire photography festival, and in so doing have left an indelible mark on the landscape of such events.

Photomonth Krakow 2011, now in its ninth year, was subject to ALIAS, an unconventional series of conceptual exhibitions, split into two halves that tested the limits of acceptability and has divided audiences and critics alike. The festival is counter-balanced by a series of exhibitions from invited curators called ShowOFF.

The first half of ALIAS features twenty-three writers who were commissioned to construct a fictional story with a main character. A visual artist then inhabited this character and the work exhibited is the result of this symbiosis. Writers included such notables as David Campany, Ekow Eshun, Brad Zellar and Siddhartha Mukherjee taken from the art, literary and medical worlds, and visual artists such as Rut Blees Luxenburg, Alec Soth and David Goldblatt occupied the fictional artists and produced their work. We are wonderfully unaware of who did what, which is the point. This flies in the face of the egotistical and heavily loaded notion of authorship, and so the artists and writers remain anonymous. It can be helpful in the creative process for the artist to create an alter ego, in the guise of a protagonist with a pseudonym or simply to remain unknown, giving license to make work outside the confines of expectation and reveal a greater sense of self. As Chanarin and Broomberg point out in the accompanying catalogue, this conception of artists taking on or dealing with the subject of alternative personalities is nothing new, and the second half of the festival, buried in the aptly named Bunkier Sztuki Gallery, displays the work of artists such as Marcel Duchamp, Gillian Wearing and Sophie Calle. As an example these artists have produced work as the fictional and real people of Rrose Selavy, Jean and Brian Wearing and Maria Turner. One such artist, Brian O’Doherty, as a protest against Bloody Sunday embodied the persona of outsider artist, Patrick Ireland, whose subsequent symbolic death was, as perceived by O’Doherty as the “chance to bury hatred”.

Scattered in various galleries around Krakow were stories of humour, tragedy, strangeness and ordinariness – all quite believable though always with a hint of the uncanny. The various exhibitions are too numerous to mention, but one story struck a chord, and finds poignant roots in Poland’s dark history. This is the sad tale of a photographer called Dora Fobert (born in 1925) during her time in the Warsaw ghetto. It is a piece of fiction that sounds as authentic as the almost unbelievable story of Oskar Schindler, whose infamous factory in Krakow is now the site of the impressive and newly constructed MOCAK (Museum of Contemporary Art). Fobert’s last photographs were hastily printed and chemically unfixed, before being taken by the SS, and can only be shown in daylight behind red glass. The effect is imbued with multiple meanings; the fragility of life, the impossibility of fixing a moment, the frustration of not seeing and how photography is a process. The story also tells of how the Nazis vilified the Jewish woman as a bohemian, free thinking seductress, opposed to the idealisation of Aryan women – dressed in uniform, hair tied back, restrained and orderly. These photographs are the last act of defiance and reveal old and young Jewish women posing nude for Fobert’s studio camera in an expression of freedom.

Dora Fobert, from the archive of Adela K. circa 1942

What is ALIAS then, and how should it be remembered? The curators boldly claimed that this concept was to be an experiment and an experiment is a method of testing with the goal of explaining the nature of reality. It is rare to find festivals that proclaim such an experimental and admirable model. Though definitions should matter little, this festival is really an art festival more than it is a photography festival and because of this it has opened up a real Pandora’s box. One question it asks is that in a world confused with the ever-mounting proliferation of imagery are we really better informed and especially from photography that reports the ‘truth’? Given Chanarin and Broomberg’s trajectory from documentary photographers to constructors of photography this process lends credibility to the concept of ALIAS, in other words it is not being different for the sake of being different, rather it is logical and emotional conclusion. We are perhaps more intellectually astute about the role of photography than ever before and therefore we are better able to deal with conceptual festivals such as ALIAS that suggests that the truth is better understood from the perspective of non- truth.

ALIAS is by no means a festival of easy gratification; it is the antithesis of a spectacular and populist festival since it demands contemplation from the audience, and this, surely, is no bad thing. Those who resist are probably looking for work that is easily digestible and grumble at having to exist outside their comfort zone. But the mischievousness of this festival is highly enjoyable and perhaps raises the thinking behind future happenings even if this is in danger of alienating the local population.

One of the reasons for ShowOFF, than other to simply showcase new Polish photography, was perhaps to address the issue of the difficulties of ALIAS by inviting curators to realise more ‘conventional’ exhibitions, but no less interesting for that. ShowOFF was curated by Polish photographers and theorists such as Kuba Swircz, Magda Wunsche and Rafat Milach to select and featured the work of Ula Klimek, Karol Kaczorowski and Yulka Wilam to name but a few. The work is young and fresh, with a tendency towards the conceptual, and perhaps points to the future of Polish art photography.

All of this takes place in the wonderful city that is Krakow. With its rich cultural and historical diversity it continues to fascinate and is right on time for a festival such as this. In a sense, Photomonth Krakow is the Arles of the East; everything is within easy walking distance and beyond the photography there is much more to be seen.

Michael Grieve

Photomonth Krakow 2011 (ALIAS)

You see them here, you see them there, you see them everywhere. In their latest project, the artist team Oliver Chanarin and Adam Broomberg (featured in #11 of 1000 Words) have been blessed with the opportunity of curating an entire photography festival, and in so doing have left an indelible mark on the landscape of such events.

Photomonth Krakow 2011, now in its ninth year, was subject to ALIAS, an unconventional series of conceptual exhibitions, split into two halves that tested the limits of acceptability and has divided audiences and critics alike. The festival is counter-balanced by a series of exhibitions from invited curators called ShowOFF.

The first half of ALIAS features twenty-three writers who were commissioned to construct a fictional story with a main character. A visual artist then inhabited this character and the work exhibited is the result of this symbiosis. Writers included such notables as David Campany, Ekow Eshun, Brad Zellar and Siddhartha Mukherjee taken from the art, literary and medical worlds, and visual artists such as Rut Blees Luxenburg, Alec Soth and David Goldblatt occupied the fictional artists and produced their work. We are wonderfully unaware of who did what, which is the point. This flies in the face of the egotistical and heavily loaded notion of authorship, and so the artists and writers remain anonymous. It can be helpful in the creative process for the artist to create an alter ego, in the guise of a protagonist with a pseudonym or simply to remain unknown, giving license to make work outside the confines of expectation and reveal a greater sense of self. As Chanarin and Broomberg point out in the accompanying catalogue, this conception of artists taking on or dealing with the subject of alternative personalities is nothing new, and the second half of the festival, buried in the aptly named Bunkier Sztuki Gallery, displays the work of artists such as Marcel Duchamp, Gillian Wearing and Sophie Calle. As an example these artists have produced work as the fictional and real people of Rrose Selavy, Jean and Brian Wearing and Maria Turner. One such artist, Brian O’Doherty, as a protest against Bloody Sunday embodied the persona of outsider artist, Patrick Ireland, whose subsequent symbolic death was, as perceived by O’Doherty as the “chance to bury hatred”.

Scattered in various galleries around Krakow were stories of humour, tragedy, strangeness and ordinariness – all quite believable though always with a hint of the uncanny. The various exhibitions are too numerous to mention, but one story struck a chord, and finds poignant roots in Poland’s dark history. This is the sad tale of a photographer called Dora Fobert (born in 1925) during her time in the Warsaw ghetto. It is a piece of fiction that sounds as authentic as the almost unbelievable story of Oskar Schindler, whose infamous factory in Krakow is now the site of the impressive and newly constructed MOCAK (Museum of Contemporary Art). Fobert’s last photographs were hastily printed and chemically unfixed, before being taken by the SS, and can only be shown in daylight behind red glass. The effect is imbued with multiple meanings; the fragility of life, the impossibility of fixing a moment, the frustration of not seeing and how photography is a process. The story also tells of how the Nazis vilified the Jewish woman as a bohemian, free thinking seductress, opposed to the idealisation of Aryan women – dressed in uniform, hair tied back, restrained and orderly. These photographs are the last act of defiance and reveal old and young Jewish women posing nude for Fobert’s studio camera in an expression of freedom.

Dora Fobert, from the archive of Adela K. circa 1942

What is ALIAS then, and how should it be remembered? The curators boldly claimed that this concept was to be an experiment and an experiment is a method of testing with the goal of explaining the nature of reality. It is rare to find festivals that proclaim such an experimental and admirable model. Though definitions should matter little, this festival is really an art festival more than it is a photography festival and because of this it has opened up a real Pandora’s box. One question it asks is that in a world confused with the ever-mounting proliferation of imagery are we really better informed and especially from photography that reports the ‘truth’? Given Chanarin and Broomberg’s trajectory from documentary photographers to constructors of photography this process lends credibility to the concept of ALIAS, in other words it is not being different for the sake of being different, rather it is logical and emotional conclusion. We are perhaps more intellectually astute about the role of photography than ever before and therefore we are better able to deal with conceptual festivals such as ALIAS that suggests that the truth is better understood from the perspective of non- truth.

ALIAS is by no means a festival of easy gratification; it is the antithesis of a spectacular and populist festival since it demands contemplation from the audience, and this, surely, is no bad thing. Those who resist are probably looking for work that is easily digestible and grumble at having to exist outside their comfort zone. But the mischievousness of this festival is highly enjoyable and perhaps raises the thinking behind future happenings even if this is in danger of alienating the local population.

One of the reasons for ShowOFF, than other to simply showcase new Polish photography, was perhaps to address the issue of the difficulties of ALIAS by inviting curators to realise more ‘conventional’ exhibitions, but no less interesting for that. ShowOFF was curated by Polish photographers and theorists such as Kuba Swircz, Magda Wunsche and Rafat Milach to select and featured the work of Ula Klimek, Karol Kaczorowski and Yulka Wilam to name but a few. The work is young and fresh, with a tendency towards the conceptual, and perhaps points to the future of Polish art photography.

All of this takes place in the wonderful city that is Krakow. With its rich cultural and historical diversity it continues to fascinate and is right on time for a festival such as this. In a sense, Photomonth Krakow is the Arles of the East; everything is within easy walking distance and beyond the photography there is much more to be seen.

Michael Grieve