Who’s looking at the family, now?Artists announced for Photo50, curated by Tim Clark, at London Art Fair 2019
Image courtesy of London Art Fair
Fourteen artists have been announced for the 2019 edition of Photo50 at London Art Fair 2019 16-20 January (Preview 15 January). The annual guest-curated exhibition provides a critical forum for examining some of the most distinctive elements of current photographic practice.
Who’s looking at the family, now? is an exhibition curated by Tim Clark that will engage with some fundamental questions about family life, its dynamics and complexity, as represented by a group of contemporary photographers and artists working in the UK and internationally. 2019 will also mark twenty-five years since British curator Val Williams’ seminal exhibition, Who’s looking at the family? which opened at the Barbican in 1994, offering the opportunity to consider the multifarious changes, both to notions of the family and photography, that have taken place during this time. The exhibition will feature acclaimed British artists David Moore, Trish Morrissey and Léonie Hampton alongside artists on display for the first time in London, including Mexico City-based Mariela Sancari, as well as Thai-born artist Alba Zari, Iranian Amak Mahmoodian and Lebohang Kganye from South Africa.
Ranging from documentary modes and found photography to conceptual approaches to the medium, and bringing together forms of construction or performative acts as well as sculptural interventions, the exhibited works meditate on what might constitute, or in some cases deconstruct, a family photograph. Many demonstrate the way images embark on a journey from a point of origin in the private sphere to enter the public gaze. Furthermore, boundaries between internal and external worlds become blurred to create part-spectacle, part socio-historical testimonies that provide windows onto issues of class, race and identity.
Typically, these visual representations depict family members or domestic environments, characterised by an idiosyncratic sense of scene and a focus on keenly-observed behaviour. For nearly thirty years, Matt Finn collaborated with his mother, Jean, on the series simply titled Mother. Black and white portraits depict everyday rituals set within her home in Leeds through to the time she spent in residential care at the end of her life. In the parallel project, Uncle—exhibited together for the very first time at London Art Fair—the camera follows Finn’s uncle, Des, recording the mundane habits and quirks that we recognise in ourselves and the way we utilise our space. Léonie Hampton’s project In The Shadow of Things explores her family’s attempts to clear her mother’s cluttered house, documenting the process of unpacking and sorting an avalanche of objects loaded with personal significance and memories. The work exposes the emotional toll that obsessive compulsive disorder can have, not only on the sufferer, but also on the immediate family, and offers a personal study of the fraught but tender relationship between mother and daughter, and between a mother and her possessions.
Images courtesy of London Art Fair
Louis Quail’s body of work, entitled Big Brother, distils his brother Justin’s daily struggle with schizophrenia into an intimate photographic portrait without flinching or resorting to sensationalism, creating, like the other artists, a dialogue between agency and objectification. Another intimate universe is portrayed in Mar Sáez’s Vera Y Victoria, a visual diary centring on a love story in which one of the individuals confessed she was transsexual, bringing to light new facets of a relationship and cohabitation. For Trish Morrissey’s Front, the artist travelled to beaches across the UK and Melbourne, Australia, asking if she could temporarily become part of their family, often assuming the role and the position of the mother figure by standing in and borrowing their clothes. These highly-theatrical photographs perform memory and identity, shaped by chance encounters with strangers.
Who’s looking at the family, now? also brings together works that reflect on issues of loss and absence as a means to examine personal, cultural and collective memory. Erik Kessels’ My Sister is a stretched and repeated replay of a Super 8 film from 1970s, showing Kessels playing ping-pong with his younger sister. As the film unfolds, we are slowly confronted with the reality that his sister was killed shortly afterwards in a hit-and-run accident.
Mariela Sancari’s project Moises offers a meditation on her father who committed suicide when she and her twin sister were fourteen years old, and how he might look and behave if he was still alive. In the local press, she advertised for men that would have been the same age and appearance as her father, who then became her models for studio re-enactment.
Albav Zari’s The Y is an investigation-turned-visual study into the identity and whereabouts of her missing father. The puzzle comes together through attempts, failures and discoveries explored via photographic languages including scientific reports, archival images, film negatives, personal artefacts,mugshots and 3D facial construction. Elsewhere, in ISIS Mothers, Poulomi Basu portrays the lives, stories and environments of a number of women across Europe, whose children have embraced extreme versions of Islam and travelled to Syria to join ISIS, in many cases never to return.
Image courtesy of London Art Fair
Another key theme is the importance of context and the remediation of photography through archives in relation to how the family is perceived and how we connect to the past. Unveiling new works for Photo50, Jonny Briggs’ interdisciplinary practice, formed of photo-sculptures, collage and staged photography, embarks on journeys into lost parts of his childhood through adult eyes.
Re-photographed images, often cut, reconstructed and combined with objects from the home, seek to examine his relationship with deception and the constructed reality of the family in an attempt to question the boundaries between Briggs and his parents, but also between child and adult, self and other, nature and culture, reality and fantasy. Thom Bridge’s One Ear & Both Eyes (2 of 2), T. Bridge (Theo & Thom Bridge) is a pair of photographs exhibited so that they cannot be seen simultaneously, a restaging of the time he and his twin brother had their photographs taken in the UK for Swedish passports in 2002, aged fourteen.
Lebohang Kganye’s film Ke sale teng frames an important point: that family photographs are more than just documentation of an event that has occurred, and are also a space for us to project what we can recall, or even to reinvent histories and newly-negotiated meanings. Through the use of silhouette cutouts of family members and other props in a diorama, the film confronts the conflicting stories that are told in multiple ways, even by the same person. Amak Mahmoodian’s Neghab series draws on her Iranian heritage. Using historical photographs taken during the Qajar period, which she sourced from Golestan Archives in central Tehran, she creates masks for her relatives to pose with, concealing identities and mystifying the push and pull of absence and presence of individuals close to her that she misses now that she lives in exile. Visitors to Photo50 will also be able to see part of David Moore’s Lisa and John Project, an installation that comprises scale maquettes showing the photographer at the scene from a 360-degree perspective while he made the famed Pictures from the Real World series on a Derby housing estate during the 1980s.
Curator Tim Clark said: “I’m delighted to have been invited to curate the annual Photo50 exhibition at London Art Fair 2019. Family is both a great leveller amongst people and as a theme offers a very rich terrain for intellectual exploration within photographic practice and visual culture today. Through the framework of this exhibition I’m excited to synergise a number of projects that have interested me over a sustained period of time. The artists presented here all demonstrate exciting and inventive approaches to storytelling, offering narrative portals through which we might reflect on the contours of familial experience; what the photographer Jo Spence explained as subject to external pressures and its own internal dynamics.”
Sarah Monk, Director London Art Fair, said: “As a medium that London Art Fair has been proud to support throughout its history, particularly through Photo50, I am pleased that this exhibition brings to light, through such an enduring theme, how photography has evolved over the last twenty five years. I’m incredibly grateful to Tim Clark for having brought together this exceptional group of artists from around the world to explore the many diverse experiences and interpretations of the family.”
ABOUT LONDON ART FAIR
London Art Fair will return to London for its 31st edition in 2019, recognised as a platform for connecting the best galleries from around the world with both seasoned and aspiring collectors, providing a unique opportunity to discover and champion outstanding modern and contemporary art.
The Fair seeks to nurture collecting at all levels whilst providing expert insight into the changing international market. Sitting alongside the main Fair, curated sections Art Projects and Photo50 feature the next generation of artists, collectives and gallerists; showcasing increasingly innovative and interactive ways to engage with art. The Fair’s strong gallery line up is also complemented by an extensive programme of engaging talks, panel discussions, interactive performance art, and onsite activations from the Fair’s partners.
Taking place from 16 – 20 January 2019 (VIP Preview 15 January), London Art Fair is an unmissable opening to the international art calendar. www.londonartfair.co.uk
PHOTOGRAPHY FOCUS DAY
London Art Fair’s Photography Focus Day (Friday 18 January 2019) will feature a day of talks and tours dedicated to the examination and discussion of some of the most innovative and distinctive elements of contemporary photographic practice.
The programme will explore key themes raised in this year’s Photo50 exhibition, current photography trends and opportunities for collecting photography. Highlights include Strangely familiar: How Photo50 is looking at the family now, offering unique insight from the curator Tim Clark, a talk from The Photographers' Gallery Director Brett Rogers and a variety of panel discussions featuring artists, curators and influencers.
Alongside Photo50, contemporary photography is widely represented throughout the Fair by returning exhibitors including Purdy Hicks Gallery, Crane Kalman Brighton and ARTITLEDcontemporary; alongside newcomers dellasposa gallery, AN INC and Black Box Projects.
ABOUT TIM CLARK
Tim Clark is a curator, writer and since 2008, has been Editor in Chief and Director at 1000 Words, which was nominated for Photography Magazine of the Year at the Lucie Awards 2014 and 2016. He was previously Associate Curator at Media Space, The Science Museum in London; and Artistic Director of Photo Oxford 2017 together with Greg Hobson. Clark has curated numerous solo exhibitions of artists such as Alec Soth, Julia Margaret Cameron, Martin Parr, Mariken Wessels, Edgar Martins and Peter Watkins. Group exhibitions have included Rebecoming (2014) featuring Tereza Zelenkova, Lucy Levene, Virgilio Ferreira and Henrik Malmstrom; and the two-person exhibition Lexicon of Crime (2017) presenting works by Sergei Vasiliev and Arkady Bronnikov from The Russian Criminal Tattoo Archive. As well as organising Photo50 at London Art Fair 2019, he is currently leading the Photography & Curation short course at The Photographers’ Gallery, London, and also finalising the headline exhibition for FORMAT International Photography Festival 2019 in Derby, co-curated with Louise Clements.
His writing has appeared in FOAM, TIME Lightbox, Photoworks, Objectiv and The British Journal of Photography, as well as in exhibition catalogues and publications for the Barbican, Archive of Modern Conflict, Jerwood Visual Arts Foundation and Skinnerboox. Clark is also Associate Lecturer on the BA (Hons) Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at London College of Communication and the MA Photography at NABA Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti, Milano.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Poulomi Basu (Calcutta, 1983) is a storyteller, artist and activist. Raised by her mother in Calcutta, India, Basu has since been based between New Delhi, India and London, UK. Her work has become known for documenting the role of women in isolated communities and conflict zones and more generally for advocating for the rights of women. Basu is co-founder and director of Just Another Photo Festival, a festival that democratizes photography by taking photography to the people and forging new audiences, and was most recently winner of the first prize the Photographic Museum of Humanity Grant 2018. www.poulomibasu.com
Thom Bridge (Reading, UK, 1987) is a Swedish British artist who organises, curates and teaches. Working between Sweden and the UK, he exhibits internationally. He is the founder and coordinator of Field/s, a forum of thirteen artists, photographers and curators that are joined every month by an invited guest. Set up with funding from Artquest and The Photographers’ Gallery, Field/s aims to encourage transnational, intergenerational and cross-disciplinary discussions between arts professionals and is now hosted by Gasworks. www.thombridge.com
Jonny Briggs (London, 1985) received his BA in Fine Art from the Chelsea College of Art and Design in 2008 and his MA in Fine Art from The Royal College of Art in 2011. Briggs’ fragmented childhood memories form the impetus for his photographs, as he explores the constructed notion of family, and tries to reimagine the nature of those ties and boundaries from new perspectives. Briggs is the winner of Foam Talent (2014), Saatchi New Sensations (2011), the Conran Award (2011), the Lumi Honorary Art Award (2011), the Ovenden Contemporary Award (2009), the NESTA Creative Sparks Award (2009), the Compello Art & Saatchi Photography Award (2008), and the Arts Leadership Award (2006). www.jonnybriggs.com
Matthew Finn (Leeds, 1971) works on subjects about people that are important in his life, making images of students who he worked with in various art colleges in England and a collaboration with his mother who he photographed within her home environment for over 27 years. Finn has a Degree in Photography from Derby University and an MA degree from Westminster University in Photographic Studies. He was the recipient of the Jerwood/ Photoworks Awards in 2015 where his work, Mother, was seen in exhibitions at the Jerwood Space, London, the Impressions Gallery Bradford and The Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool. Finn is also a patron of the Hull International Photography Festival (HiP). www.mattfinn.com
Léonie Hampton (London, 1978) lives and works in Devon, UK. After graduating in Art History from University College London and SOAS in 2000, she continued her studies in Photography at the London College of Communication. She has since exhibited in solo and group shows around the world, with successive photo-based projects funded by Wellcome Trust and the British Council. In 2011, her award-winning 184-page book In the Shadow of Things was published by Contrasto (Italy). Hampton is a part-time teacher for MA Documentary Photography at London College of Communication and co-founded and runs Still/Moving, a not-for-profit organisation hosting film and photography workshops and seminars. www.leoniehampton.com
Lebohang Kganye (Katlehong, South Africa, 1990) is an artist living and working in Johannesburg. Kganye received her introduction to photography at the Market Photo Workshop in 2009 and completed the Advanced Photography Programme in 2011 and Fine Arts studies at the University of Johannesburg in 2016. Kganye was awarded the Jury Prize at the Bamako Encounters Biennale of African Photography in 2015, the CAP Prize 2016 in Basel and the award for the Sasol New Signatures Competition 2017. Kganye’s work forms part of several private and public collections, most notably the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pennsylvania and the Walther Collection in Ulm. www.lebohangkganye.co.za
Erik Kessels (Amsterdam, 1966) is a photographer, curator, editor, designer and creative director of advertising agency KesselsKramer. Kessels has published over fifty books of collected images, and since 2000 he has been an editor of alternative photography magazine Useful Photography. He has presented numerous exhibitions at Fotografia Europea in Reggio Emilia (2015), Centquatre-Paris (2014), Les Rencontres d’Arles (2014), the Victoria and Albert Museum in London (2013), Pier 24 Photography in San Francisco (2014–15) and the Images – Festival des Arts Visuels in Vevey (2014). In 2010, Kessels was awarded the prestigious Amsterdam Prize of the Arts, and in 2016 he was a finalist for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize for his exhibition Unfinished Father. www.kesselskramer.com
Louis Quail (1967) is a documentary photographer. He has worked extensively for some of the UK’s best known magazines and has been published and worked internationally over a period of many years. Louis increasingly devotes his time to personal, long-term projects. ‘Big Brother’ was selected for the Metro Imaging portfolio review prize at Format17; was series winner of the Renaissance Photography Prize 2017; and has been made into a book (Dewi Lewis Publishing, April 2018). He has twice been a finalist in the National Portrait Gallery’s BP Portrait Award, is held in their permanent collection and lectures and runs workshops there. www.louisquail.com
Amak Mahmoodian (Shiraz, Iran, 1980) is a contemporary Persian artist who lives in Bristol. She graduated from the University of South Wales, Newport in 2015 with a practice-led PhD in photography, where her research question interrogated ‘Double Identity: Images of women in Iran.’ Her body of work Shenasnameh was published as a book in May 2016 and was shortlisted for a number of awards, such as Time Magazine 2016 and Best Author Book Award, Rencontres Arles 2016. In addition, her work has been widely exhibited internationally, including as part of “Catharsis” at Exposed Gallery, Belfast, NI, at Umetnostna Galerija, Slovenia and at the Photographic Centre Northwest, Seattle, USA. www.amakmahmoodian.co.uk
David Moore (Blackburn, 1961) is a London based photographic artist using and interrogating documentary modes. He has worked as a photographer and educator since graduating from West Surrey College of Art and Design, Farnham, in 1988. He has exhibited and published internationally, has work held in many public and private collections, and has published several monographs of his work. His most recent publication, ‘Pictures from the Real World. Colour Photographs from 1987-88’ was published in 2013 to critical acclaim.
In November 2016, David became Principal Lecturer and Course Leader of the MA Documentary and Photojournalism Course at the University of Westminster. www.davidmoore.uk.com
Trish Morrissey (Dublin, 1967) lives in the UK. Her work is exhibited widely and is in the permanent collection of The Museum of Fine Art, Houston, the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, The National Media Museum, Bradford, and the Wilson Centre for Photography, London, and is included in several survey publications, including 'The Photograph as Contemporary Art' by Charlotte Cotton, (Thames and Hudson, 2005), 'Vitamin Ph, Survey of International Contemporary Photography,' (Phaidon, 2006), 'Auto Focus: The Self-Portrait in Contemporary Photography', by Susan Bright (Thames and Hudson, 2010), and Photography and Ireland by Justin Carville (Exposures, 2012). www.trishmorrissey.com
Mar Sáez (Murcia, 1983) graduated in Psychology and Audiovisual Communication and now specialises in Contemporary Photography. After a long time working for the press and media, she now focuses on capturing images that explore issues such as identity and biopolitics, based on first hand experience. In November 2016, she presented her first photobook Vera Y Victoria at Paris Photo with the French publishing house André Frère Éditions, and the photobook DUO-A: On Travelling on the Road with Strangers with the writer Miguel Ángel Hernández (Phree Publishing House). www.pilarserra.com
Mariela Sancari (Buenos Aires, 1976) has lived and worked in Mexico City since 1997. Her work revolves around truth and fiction in images, using personal narratives to explore the scope of photography as a means of representation. Her series Moisés received an Honorable Mention in XI Bienal Monterrey FEMSA and the book of the series was selected by several curators and reviewers as one of the Best Photobooks published in 2015. Sancari is a fellow of Sistema Nacional de Creadores de Arte FONCA, 2015-2018, and works as a freelance photographer. www.marielasancari.com
Alba Zari (Bangkok,1987) graduated in cinemacriticism at DAMS in Bologna, Italy. She specialised in Visual Design at NABA in Milan and in Documentary Photography at the International Center of Photography in New York. She works as a photographer and is especially committed to projects in the welfare/social sector. Her recent work includes visual research into mental health care centers in Italy since Dr. Basaglia Law (1978), food disorders common in American society, and the unique flora of the Mesr Desert in Iran. www.infoalbazari.com