Villagers watch exhumation at a former Iraqi military headquarters outside Sulaymaniyah, Northern Iraq,  1991 © Susan Meiselas

Villagers watch exhumation at a former Iraqi military headquarters outside Sulaymaniyah, Northern Iraq, 1991 © Susan Meiselas

Now in its 22nd year, this prestigious prize is awarded annually by the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation in conjunction with The Photographer’s Gallery. Nominees need to have made significant contributions to the medium over the past year within Europe.

Originally known as the Citigroup Photography Prize or Citibank Private Bank Photography Prize, it was renamed as such from 2005 onward when Deutsche Borse began to sponsor the competition and award the winner a £30,000 prize.

The title went through one final change to include ‘Foundation’ in 2016 to "to reflect its new position within the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation, a specifically established non-profit organisation focused on the collecting, exhibiting and promoting of contemporary photography.” (The Photographers' Gallery 2017).

Since its formation, the prize has been awarded to now renowned names such as Richard Billingham (the very first winner), Andreas Gursky, Rineke Dijkstra, Anna Gaskell, Boris Mikhailov, Shirana Shahbazi, Robert Adams, Walid Raad, Sophie Ristelhueber, Jim Goldberg and John Stezaker.

Those shortlisted are just as celebrated and enjoy the exposure this competition exhibition offers. These include Uta Barth, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Hannah Starkey, Stephen Shore, Yto Barrada, Fazal Sheikh, Anna Fox, Thomas Demand, Rinko Kawauchi, Mishka Henner and Sophie Calle.

This years nominees do not fall short of the same high standard: Laia Abril for the publication On Abortion (Dewi Lewis Publishing, November 2017); Susan Meiselas for the exhibition Mediations (Jeu de Paume, Paris, 6 February – 30 May 2018);  Arwed Messmer for the exhibition RAF – No Evidence / Kein Beweis (ZEPHYR|Raum für Fotografie, Mannheim, 9 September – 5 November 2017) and Mark Ruwedel for the exhibition Artist and Society: Mark Ruwedel (16 February – 16 December 2018 at Tate Modern, London).

The Jury comprises of Sunil Gupta, artist, writer, activist and curator; Diane Dufour, Director of Le Bal, Paris; Felix Hoffmann, Chief Curator at C/O Berlin; Anne-Marie Beckmann, Director, Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation, Frankfurt and Brett Rogers, Director, The Photographers' Gallery, London, as the non-voting chair.

This year’s prize is less about the best photographs, whatever that might mean, and more focused on research and documentation, and compilation and presentation. 

“Collectively their projects explore state and gender politics, social injustice, human rights and conceptual approaches to image making."

RAF No Evidence/Kein Beweis , 2017 © Arwed Messmer: research, concept and editing; source: Berlin Police Historical Collection, 2018

RAF No Evidence/Kein Beweis, 2017 © Arwed Messmer: research, concept and editing; source: Berlin Police Historical Collection, 2018

Starting on the 5th floor is German photographer and artist Arwed Messmer, nominated for his project ‘RAF - No Evidence / Kein Beweis’. This body of work is completed in his signature style; focusing primarily on posing questions about photography using imagery of historical events from German state archives and specifically focusing on the ‘Red Army Faction (RAF) or ‘Baarder-Meinhof Group’ from the 1960s and 70s. This far left extremist organisation engaged in various terrorist attacks with events widely documented by police. Messmer’s hones in on the events from 1967 to 1977 which span student protests, police reenactments and forensic and documentary photographs, all to ‘examine how images once used as evidence in criminal cases can now provide a unique insight into our understanding of history’.

Taymour Abdullah, 15, the only survivor of village execution, shows his bullet wound, Arbil, Northern Iraq, December,  1991 © Susan Meiselas

Taymour Abdullah, 15, the only survivor of village execution, shows his bullet wound, Arbil, Northern Iraq, December, 1991 © Susan Meiselas

Susan Meiselas occupies the adjoining space with her long-term and extensive project ‘Mediations’ of which she has selected ‘Kurdistan/akaKurdistan’ for her prize consideration. Started in the 1990s and after seeing the exhumations of mass graves in Iraqi Kurdistan following Saddam Hussein’s genocide Anfal campaign (1987-88), the photography here shows Meiselas’ documentation of the aftermath; capturing graves, archeological excavations and individual survivors. This body of work has become an archive still active today (as website akaKurdistan.com), gathering visual evidence in the form of documents, family albums, maps and most importantly, personal stories. Examples of such collected visual evidence is on display here in museum display tables as maps, documents and family albums, as well as an entire wall dedicated to personal accounts of people within the Kurdistan borders and across the diaspora.

“This deeply affecting project examples Meiselas’ artistic approach and outstanding merit as an image-maker, whilst highlighting the collaborative nature of her documentary work”

“The exhibition reveals her unique approach as an artist who has constantly questioned the status of the image in relation to the context in which it appears.”

Portrait of Marta, 29, Poland. “On January 2, 2015, I travelled to Slovakia to have an abortion. [In Poland, abortion is illegal except in cases of sexual assault, serious fetal deformation, or threat to the mother’s life] I was too scared to take DIY abortion pills alone. What if something went wrong? So I decided to get a surgical abortion in a clinic abroad. I felt upset about borrowing money for the procedure, and lonely and frustrated because I couldn’t tell anyone what was happening. The hardest part was facing my boyfriend, who opposes abortion. All the same, I felt stronger and more mature afterwards.”  © Laia Abril, 2018

Portrait of Marta, 29, Poland. “On January 2, 2015, I travelled to Slovakia to have an abortion. [In Poland, abortion is illegal except in cases of sexual assault, serious fetal deformation, or threat to the mother’s life] I was too scared to take DIY abortion pills alone. What if something went wrong? So I decided to get a surgical abortion in a clinic abroad. I felt upset about borrowing money for the procedure, and lonely and frustrated because I couldn’t tell anyone what was happening. The hardest part was facing my boyfriend, who opposes abortion. All the same, I felt stronger and more mature afterwards.” © Laia Abril, 2018

The fourth floor holds work from Laia Abril’s publication ‘On Abortion’, a visually comprehensive project about abortion; from its disturbing past to its still politically disturbing consideration today. As the first chapter of Abril’s long-term project, A History of Misogyny, this exhibition not only traces the history of abortion, but also brings to light “the repercussions of not having access to abortion in the world”

Like many of Abril’s ongoing projects, this too conveys her tendencies of trying to visualise what is invisible because it is illegal, hidden, or an event of the past.

Intimate portraits, photographs of early contraceptive devices, personal accounts of those who have lived through the procedure as well as ‘incendiary, hate-filled quotes from outspoken opposers to abortion rights’ cover these gallery walls in hope of inviting viewers to actively learn and form opinions on the topic. Prominent to the exhibit is its central attraction; a solitary chair facing a television looping pointed anti-abortion speech from various outspoken male antiabortionists (including current US president Donald Trump).

“The project addresses the marginalised position of women in past and contemporary societies, whilst exposing the many social triggers, stigmas and taboos that still persist around abortion and female health.”

Hells Canyon,  1999 © Mark Ruwedel, 2018

Hells Canyon, 1999 © Mark Ruwedel, 2018


The final photographer shortlisted is Mark Ruwedel. His work on display spans the past four decades, exploring the impact that geological, historic and political events have had on the North American terrain. Photography from the following projects are on display: ‘Dusk’, showing empty desert homes under the twilight sky; ‘Pictures from Hell’, depicting awe-inspiring landscapes which generations of settlers evocatively named Helltown, Devils Gardens, Hells Hollow or Devils Land; ‘Crater', which shows eerie photographs of nuclear test sites, and his homage to the artist Ed Ruscha -‘We All Loved Ruscha'. 

Ruwedel recognises that his photography does not always explicitly show the ‘imprint of human activity’. He is more interested in the act of naming, mainly because of the fact that these places used to have indigenous names, aiming to question what this says about ‘dominant European attitudes toward both the land and the people that inhabited it’.

“Merging documentary and conceptual methods of image making, Ruwedel’s practice echoes historical photographic processes.”

With the intent of acknowledging those whose work discerns to “uniquely address and expand the fluency and capabilities of the medium”, this year’s prize can really be awarded to any of the four. All work here, at least in this printers’ opinion, is good work.

More info: Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation The Photographer’s Gallery

Posted
AuthorNazy Raouf

point101

An interview with Lucy Brown

Lucy is a London based illustration artist and designer. Her beautifully detailed drawings on paper and vellum combined make these otherworldly scenes appear all the more ephemeral. Although traditional in style and technique, these imaginative creations succeed in poetically evoking and enchanting our sensitivity to this fine art.

'“Together her exploration of animals and humans is an attempt at understanding the complexities between the natural world and human nature.”

Point101: How did you become interested in illustrating?

Lucy Brown:  I have always been interested in drawing people since I was a little girl, which developed into my career in costume design. There’s a curiosity I have towards understanding what’s beyond the surface of a person - pain, joy, intrigue, love, playfulness? Then exploring these ideas through drawing animals came later as I started to feel more connected with nature and the environment we share. I’m beginning to carve out a space to express my creativity through illustration, and trying to replace my sense of imposter-syndrome with an authentic delight for what I do.

P101: Why the material preferences? 


LB: I used to exclusively paint in watercolour (which I still enjoy), but then Dura-lar was a great discovery for me. The way the matte film takes the coloured pencil enables a more delicate approach to drawing which I think adds to the whimsy of the storytelling. I would like to make use of the milky transparency of the material and begin experimenting with layering the film sheets.


Media print is definitely something of interest to me.

P101: Tell us about your technique  


LB: I like walking along the river by my apartment, spending time with my sister’s dogs, Dolly and Violet. There’s a therapeutic element to being around nature and animals which opens my mind to make space for ideas to come forward. Then I take this inspiration, along with a cup of coffee, and develop the ideas through simple sketches and colour stories. Once I have the basic layout and composition in place I focus in on the details. Having come from a design background I have developed quite a solid process of working through ideas and trying to be consistent. However, I do like to let my work evolve in a way that feels organic and natural. I’m working on trying to leave some of the detail out, to make room for the work to breath a little.

P101: How long does each illustration typically take?


LB:  On average, a piece would take anywhere between 20-40 hours, but it depends on what time I have available. Sometimes a tight deadline can produce the most uninhibited work. It leaves you less time for self doubt.

P101: Where do the narratives to your drawings come from?


LB:  I like to reminisce and day dream…..I’m a classic Pisces. Nostalgia is often gently weaved throughout my work, with a devotion to compassion. I like each piece to be it’s own little world, a place where I can explore dreams and stories. I’m inspired by Vermeer’s magnetic use of colour and light. I enjoy listening to one of my favourite bands, Fleet Foxes, whilst I draw. Their music is so beautiful and their storytelling through word and melody is haunting and romantic. My quest is to capture that on paper somehow…haha! I’m always drawn to films and plays where it’s about what’s not said as much as what is said. I like leaving a little space for the audience to breath their own voice into the artwork. However, the other side of me sometimes just wants to draw something silly and a little humorous, with colour and vitality. 

P101: Are you strictly a solo artist?


LB: I usually work alone, however I’ve worked in theatre for many years so I know the triumphs which come from collaborating with fellow artists. I’m always open to the possibilities of such creative adventures as well as pushing myself further with my work.

P101: Where do you envision your artwork belonging?


LB: I would love to exhibit in a gallery, that’s a dream of mine to create a series for exhibition. Currently, I’ve been creating for personal prints. However, collaborating with an author for illustrative book work would also be a delight. I really just love drawing and working and seeing how it evolves.

P101: What type of paper do you think works best with your printed artwork?


LB: I love the Hahnemuhle Photorag because of its texture and beautiful print quality. Lovely Pauline at Print 101 recommended it to me.

P101: How does this artistic pursuit fit in with your day to day life?


LB: My day to day life is drawing, walking my sister’s dogs, then designing (I still work as a Costume Designer, which I love). I try to commit to drawing a little each day, to be curious and inspired by my surroundings. If I wait for a lightening bolt to strike then I would never work.

P101: Do you have any other interests/hobbies that influence/inspire you? 


LB: Does singing along to musicals (badly) and watching Miss Marple count as an interesting hobby? I really just love the simplicity of reading a book and drinking tea, with cake of course! Oh and I love Arthur Miller, reading his plays are always a source of inspiration for character study.

See more of Lucy’s work here.


Tony Ray Jones,  Pepys Estate, Deptford, London: children playing on a raised walkway , 1970. Credit: Tony Ray-Jones / RIBA Collections

Tony Ray Jones, Pepys Estate, Deptford, London: children playing on a raised walkway, 1970. Credit: Tony Ray-Jones / RIBA Collections


The latest exhibit at the Wellcome Collection spans both their temporary gallery spaces with an extensive look into our relationship with buildings over the last two centuries. The works on display brings to light the physical and psychological impact our built environment has on us and the innovative ways designs have been altered to achieve maximum wellbeing.

That is just half of the exhibition. The upper gallery space is dedicated to an open call architectural submission piece that responds to the urgent and adaptive health care designs being used in remote locations. Here we see architects Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) and engineers BuroHappold and Chapman (BDSP) work with Doctors of the World to create 1:1 scale structures that can be easily transported and set up in any given scenario, with strong and sturdy capabilities and use of waterproof materials stretched over them for shelter and much lacking private space that such current conditions cannot provide.


HIGHLIGHTS


Rab Harling, still from  Inversion/Reflection: What Does Balfron Tower Mean To You?,  2014. Credit: © Rab Harling

Rab Harling, still from Inversion/Reflection: What Does Balfron Tower Mean To You?, 2014. Credit: © Rab Harling

Living with Buildings, like other Wellcome Collection exhibitions, draws together science and art to explore our relationship with our constructed world. Starting with London’s slums from the end of the 19th century with a draft preface for Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, in which he declared that “nothing effectual can be done for the elevation of the poor in England, until their dwelling places are made decent and wholesome”, we see the concern with living conditions already being drawn on by creative minds of the time. And the exhibition continues as such, with special commissioned pieces by Giles Round, whose work here explores colour and light and their role on health; Joe Kerr, who invites the public to timed/self guided tours “through the radical histories of Somers Town and King’s Cross”; and Ian Sincalir’s book ‘Living with Buildings and Walking with Ghosts’ which is published by Wellcome Collection and explores the relationship between sickness and structure.

There is a remarkable collection from RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) scattered around and one that really stood out was Ernö Goldfinger’s design propositions and eventual construction of Balfron Tower. This was designed in 60’s brutalist characteristics with a few distinguishing key elements in mind such as placing waste disposal areas separate from living areas, connected with a bridge, and the notion of bringing high rise style of homes to Britain placed in green environments. Goldfinger transferred this architectural style onto his later Trellick Tower. What is most curious about Goldfinger and Balfron was probably his decision to move into the completed building that he designed and live among its inhabitants.

Andreas Gursky,  Paris Montparnasse , 1993. Credit: © Tate, London 2018

Andreas Gursky, Paris Montparnasse, 1993. Credit: © Tate, London 2018

And of course, Andreas Gursky’s Paris ‘Paris Montparnasse’ makes an appearance in this exhibit about buildings. Constructed as a large scale photograph in 1993 of a high-density apartment building, this 2.1 x 4 metre piece allows details of people’s homes to be clearly portrayed up close by the viewer to ultimately be overwhelmed by the close living quarters of the inhabitants when contemplated from further back. This work visually communicates the realities of urban living.


The first floor gallery space above explores the project Global Clinic created in response to Wellcome Collection collaborative commission from Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners and BuroHappold and ChapmanBDSP to aid Doctors of the World, an independent humanitarian charity operating across the globe with emergency care as well as long term training. The simple idea behind the winning design from this open call recognises the current situation of remote health care and has responded with a flexible, robust and easily transportable plywood pieces that connect together to make a basic but sturdy structure in which to safely practise healthcare. The engineering behind cutting the plywood is programmed by a CNC (computer numerical control) which can be adjusted in shape and size to adapt to preferred requirements. 

An example of this Global Clinic project’s potential is on display in the space with a 1:1 scale model which will be deployed to a location in need by Doctors of the World after the closing of the exhibit.

Living with Buildings run until March 3rd and is free to the public, with timed guided tours that alternately highlight parts of the exhibit. Works on display also feature that of Rachael Whiteread, Marther Rosler and Cathrine Yass. In addition, particular case studies are presented on hospital design and wellbeing as well as a look into the recent architectural flaws behind the Grenfell Tower fire.

The Wellcome Collection is a free museum with the self appointed motto of being the museum for the “incurably curious”. It encourages learning and challenging human health through events, exhibitions and its vast collection acquired by Sir Henry Wellcome, which amounted to some 125,000 medically related objects and artefacts by the time he died in 1936. His legacy has had a very successful history starting from the formation of a charity as his last will. Through this Wellcome Trust, research has been amongst the leading in the world.

Visit Wellcome Collection




Posted
AuthorNazy Raouf