Clare Strand The Discrete Channel with Noise: Information Source #3 (2017 – 2018) © Clare Strand
The 2020 Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize Exhibition opens at The Photographers’ Gallery, London next month.
Curated by The Photographers’ Gallery’s Anna Dannemann, the exhibition brings together the four nominated projects from the 2020 shortlisted artists: Mohamed Bourouissa, Anton Kusters, Mark Neville and Clare Strand. Highlighting the diverse and innovative nature of their individual practices, the presentation also considers the shared artistic, social and political issues influencing contemporary photography more widely.
Taking over the 4th and 5th floors of The Photographers’ Gallery, the exhibition structure comprises four distinct artists’ rooms, offering each shortlisted project a self-contained space for visitors to engage with the works in-depth, as well as encouraging consideration of the projects in dialogue. While the projects are notably independent they all demonstrate, through their reflective approach to the medium and in the subjects they explore, photography’s unique ability to make visible what often lies invisible, forgotten or concealed.
Mohamed Bourouissa NOUS SOMMES HALLES, 2002-2003 In collaboration with Anoushkashoot © Mohamed Bourouissa, Kamel Mennour, Paris & London and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles
On the fourth floor, the first space showcases five selected projects by Mohamed Bourouissa, drawn from his nominated exhibition Free Trade at Rencontres d’Arles, France (1 July – 22 September 2019). Comprising a survey of Bourouissa’s work over the past 15 years, the Prize exhibition includes works from Nous Sommes Halles (2003-2005 in collaboration with Anoush Kashoot), Périphérique (2005-2008), Temps Mort (2009), Shoplifters (2014-2015) and his augmented-reality piece revealing the invisible Army of the Unemployed. Questioning the circulation of knowledge, social control and power dynamics in contemporary French society, Bourouissa focusses on disenfranchised people and communities. Working across photography, video and sculpture, his work probes socio-economic processes, and the invisible tensions between different social milieus and their related culturally and historically prescribed representations.
Inhabiting the backspace of this floor, artist Clare Strand’s conceptual research project, The Discrete Channel with Noise exhibited at PHotoESPAÑA, Madrid, Spain (5 – 21 June 2019) reconsiders an early experiment in the transmission of images via telegraphic communication and highlights how easily information can be misunderstood, misinterpreted or misused. Strand was Inspired by George H. Eckhardt’s publication Electronic Television (1936) and adopts this methodology as a way of exploring the process of transmission and reception, recreating existing photographic images into paintings via encoded messages by telephone. The project features photographs (information sources) and paintings (information destinations) also reflecting the competitive and often problematic relationship between the two media.
Anton Kusters München-Stadelheim | 0000100 (est.) | 48.100152, 11.592046 (EX) from The Blue Skies Project © Anton Kusters
The first encounter on the 5th floor is with Anton Kusters’ The Blue Skies Project, which was exhibited at Fitzrovia Chapel, London (15–19 May 2019) and curated by Monica Allende. The work offers a visual response to violence, trauma and memory and contains 1,078 polaroid images, all showing an upward view of a blue sky shot at the last known location of every former Nazi run concentration and extermination camp across Europe from 1933 to 1945. Questioning the act of commemoration and its potentially limited means of representing grief and suffering, Kusters proposes other ways of seeing and dealing with such history. The installation also features a 13 year-long generative audio piece by sound artist, composer and songwriter, Ruben Samama, which represents, in both sound and duration, the period between 1933 and 1945 when the camps were active, and further signifies the human loss at each of the sites.
Mark Neville Parade #5, 2019 © Mark Neville
Finally, on the 5th floor is Mark Neville’s project Parade, published by the Centre d’Art GwinZegal, Guingamp, France (2019) focused on a farming community in Brittany. Neville began taking photographs in Guingamp, Brittany (“little Britain”) in 2016 and over three years, produced a complex, multi-layered portrait of this tight-knit provincial farming region. Connecting art and social documentary practices, he further photographed different agribusinesses in the community – from small holdings to large industries. The resulting photobook, now accompanied by a publication of essays by Brittany farmers articulating the need for a sustainable, humane, even ecotopian type of agriculture, was sent out to UK and European ministries of agriculture and food as well as key policy makers, calling for the urgent adoption of more ecological methods of farming. The exhibition will feature 21 prints depicting the residents of Guingamp and reflecting their pastimes, agriculture and relationship to animals.
The winner of the £30,000 prize will be announced at a special award ceremony held at The Photographers’ Gallery on Thursday 14th May 2020.
The 2020 Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize Exhibition 21st February until 7th June 2020.
Mohamed Bourouissa Friday 21st February
Clare Strand Wednesday 11th March
Mark Neville Thursday 9th April
Anton Kusters Tuesday 12th May