Across The Globe: Artist Spotlight #9
Open the Eye, 2018 © Izumi Miyazaki/Fotogalleri Vasli Souza
For our penultimate week of Across The Globe, we take a closer look at galleries based in Germany, Switzerland and Sweden. These galleries represent a selection of artists whose works span from creative and conceptual documentary photography, to fine art photography. Through experimental approaches, what results is often surprising work exploring and questioning themes from gender and nature, to family and self-portraiture.
Based in Zurich, Bildhalle is one of the most respected galleries for photography in Switzerland, with a tradition of representing established photographers from the 20th century as well as nurturing a new generation of artists. At Unseen Amsterdam, the artistic duo Angel Albarràn and Anna Cabrera (b. 1969, ES) will showcase two of their ongoing series, The Mouth of Krishna and Nyx. Influenced by their travels to Japan, their work explores the dichotomy between the real and the unreal, the construction of memory and the human fascination with myths as a way to explain the universe. With a focus on socio-political issues, Douglas Mandry’s (b. 1989, CH) series Monuments is concerned about the relationship between technological evolution and climate change. His practice involves both the manual intervention of negatives during the development process and the collection of amateur found images of glaciers from the early 20th century; which he then imprints for posterity through the antique process of lithography. The end result is a product of the digital age where images are reproduced endlessly in virtual formats.
#856, from the series The Mouth of Krishna, 2019 © Albarran Cabrera/Bildhalle
This gallery, based in Berlin, has a special focus on emerging talents from Scandinavia, whose work spans from performance to sculpture, video and installations. Concerned with the materiality of photography, award-winning artist duo, Inka (b. 1985, FI) and Niclas (b. 1984, SE) Lindergård, will showcase their series 4K ULTRA HD, which deals with the consumption of landscape through the use of camera-lenses and screens. In the exhibited works, nature is portrayed as a fluorescent landscape, abandoning the two-dimensionality of photography to reach its pure essence of matter again. Represented alongside this artist duo, Johan Österholm’s (b.1983, SE) work focuses on light pollution and night illumination. By approaching the subject as a kind of historian of light, Österholm has produced a three-part series, Some Moonwalks, that combines archival material and archaic photographic processes with the glare of artificial city lights as well as the more enigmatic light of the full moon. Interplaying sculpture and installations within her photographic practice, Susa Templin (b. 1965, DE) explores the concept of space both photographically and architecturally. Through multiple exposures, Templin is able to create a layered image composition that questions how spaces and memories permeate each other.
Bends and Folds, 2019 © Susa Templin/Dorothée Nilsson
Vasli Souza is a privately run gallery with an international focus that aims at representing up-and-coming contemporary artists from a diverse background. At Unseen Amsterdam, the gallery will exhibit work by three artists exploring the concepts of body, relationships and gender. Starting off with AdeY (b. 1981, SE); a Swedish-British multidisciplinary visual artist who is dancing between photography and performance. His exhibited images depict imbalances evident in contemporary society by directly addressing issues of gender, normative behaviour and how society forces us to choose one direction or path. Developing further on the theme of gender, Pixy Liao’s (b. 1979, CH) series Experimental Relationship pushes the boundaries on gender roles in heterosexual relationships, in order to uncover the power imbalances in a couple, starting from the documentation of her own relationship. Pointing the camera towards herself, Izumi Miyazaki’s (b. 1994, JP) surreal images expose her own selfie-obsessed generation, while revolutionising the long standing photographic genre of self-portraiture.
Open the Eye, 2018 © Izumi Miyazaki/Fotogalleri Vasli Souza
Founded in Lausanne in 2012, Galerie Heinzer Reszler represents mainly emerging and mid-career artists, of which half are Swiss with a bias to the German part of Switzerland. The artists represented approach the photographic medium through experimental choices, both from a formal and a content point of view. Sebastian Stadler’s (b. 1988, CH) series L’Apparition questions the value of images in the age of digital overflows. By using the technique of double-exposure, Stadler superimposes cityscapes or interiors with macro photographs of pixel landscapes from computer screens or mobile phone displays. The mysterious motifs, as well as the title of the series, invite the viewer to connect the material, virtual and possibly even spiritual worlds; it regards the emanating lights as otherworldly apparitions. Interested in the use of new digital forms, M. Bernard-Reymond (b. 1976, FR) creates new worlds and realities. His series, La Flèche du Temps (The Arrow of Time) is an abstract tale where three stories intersect: the fall of a centenary pine tree, an unimportant archaeological discovery and the remote end of a space mission. Shifting the attention towards landscape and the notion of identity, Simon Roberts’ (b. 1974, UK) Travertines consists of 40 silkscreen prints on slabs of travertine, the rock of choice to build cities in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia. The exhibited work presented as an installation transports the viewer into this forgotten region of Europe, thus turning the images into illusory landmarks.
Untitled, from the series L'Apparition, 2019 © Sebastian Stadler/Heinzer Reszler
Based in Cologne, Mirko Mayer Galerie / m-projects was founded in 1998. The gallery aims to collaborate with artists who work with both two and three dimensional mediums, which often results in exhibitions that are installation based or site specific. For this edition of Unseen Amsterdam, the gallery will present new solo work by artist Julia Gunther (b. 1979, DE). Gunther's current project, Fish-For-Sex is a portrait series which investigates the skewed gender dynamics between fishermen and female fish traders across southern Malawi. The protagonists in her portraits are both the women who fight against social, economic or political repression, and the men, the “oppressors”, who are perpetuating gender inequality. The end result is the creation of a dialogue on two levels: between the two parties involved and between the subjects and the viewer.
Fish, from the series Fish for Sex, 2018-2019 © Julia Gunther/Mirko Mayer Gallery
Established in 2004, Robert Morat Galerie is a contemporary art gallery, primarily focusing on emerging positions in contemporary photography and photo-based art. Photography is at the heart of the gallery programme, which, at Unseen Amsterdam, will bring three artists who are making waves in documentary photography. Drawing inspiration from his own life as the central focus of his work, Peter Puklus (b. 1980, DE) questions current gender roles in the family sphere. In his series The Hero Mother, he will present a series of works that are exploring masculinity through a closer look at the societal simulacra that constitutes our vision of family households. When talking about pushing the limits of documentary photography, Lia Darjes (b. 1984, DE) joins Puklus in doing so with her series Tempora Morte. Her work is the result of a collection of items from the roadside, which are then stylised by the artist to create a modern Nature Morte. Through the use of double-exposures, Andrea Grützner’s (b. 1984, DE) series Hive contemplates educational spaces and their impact on human behaviour by shooting interiors and buildings of Melbourne RMIT’s New Academic Street. You can also check out Andrea's work on Unseen Platform.
Untitled, from the series Hive, 2017 © Andrea Gruetzner/Robert Morat Galerie
Based in Zurich, Galerie Stephan Witschi represents a diverse array of internationally renowned contemporary artists as well as young aspiring fine art photographers, who, through museum exhibitions and awards, have found their place in the international art scene. All the artists presented at Unseen Amsterdam this year share a common approach of using the camera as a way of self-expression. Through her series Opening, Jungjin Lee (b. 1961, South Korea) returns to some of her favourite places in Arizona, New Mexico and Canada to convey her personal emotions by portraying the haunting beauty of the landscape, presented in a narrow upright format. While Ester Vonplon’s (b. 1980, CH) latest work was created in the Val Curciusa, an alpine high valley in the Swiss Canton of Grisons. The series presents plants and objects, drawn by light on unused Cellofix postcards from 1907; the result is to capture memento mori and the desire to memorise an image before its disappearance.
Focusing on the analogue side of photography, Bjørn Sterri (b. 1980, DE) will exhibit his series Family Photographs, which comprises of gelatin silver contact prints of the 8×10” negatives and limited edition archival ink-jet prints of scanned Polaroids.
Untitled, from the series Val Curciusa, 2018-2019 © EsterVonplon/Galerie & Edition Stephan Witschi
You can find out more about all the artists exhibiting at Unseen Amsterdam 2019 here.