There’s been a lot to take in recently within the art world – from the New York Art Book Fair at MoMA PS1 to London’s Art Licks opening next weekend – so it’s pretty easy to become complacent when it comes to cramming everything in. One such great event about to wrap is Amsterdam’s Unseen Photo Fair. With masters and emerging talent coming together among the city’s galleries, institutions and creative spaces – just in case you couldn’t make it – Dazed’s photography department, Lauren Ford and Saorla Houston, give us their cheatsheet on some of the best shows there. Some which you can still see until the end of this weekend – check out the full programme here.
Vincent Delbrouck contructs his visual diaries from special moments in his life, from living with friends in Cuba to with family in Nepal. “Vincent’s collages were what originally caught our eye. We don’t know what the text translation is but it didn't really matter, the composition of images helps you create your own interpretation,” say Ford and Houston.
One of the Middle East’s most colourful duos explore the history of Doha with an injection of humour and the surreal. Ford and Houston explain: “We loved the compositions and colours throughout Christto and Andrew’s work. The images felt unique and there was an underlying deeper message than first perceived.”
Beni Bischof plays with the covers and advertisements of well-known publications and subverts them with a satirical take on the culture of his own generation. Ford and Houston say: “Beni successfully communicates darker political messages with a sense of humour and joviality. His interesting messages combined with known materials and various media made his work really stand out for us.”
Raymond Meeks took inspiration from an idyllic creek nearby his house – where teens and young adults would take the 60-foot plunge into the waters below – for his show at Unseen. Ford and Houston muse" “The aesthetic of Raymond’s photographs had a feeling of suspense and unknowing, giving an overwhelming sense of nostalgia.”
US artist Charlie Engman and UK duo Luke Norman & Nik Adam joined forces to create 15 works commissioned especially for Unseen. The trio exchanged images which were then manipulated and reworked by one-another in a way thaat reinterpreted their existing works. “We liked the way this collaboration between Charlie Engman, Luke Norman and Nik Adam celebrated all elements of their experimental creativity. An interesting mix of media made it a very compelling exhibition,” explain Ford and Houston.
Photographer Gioia de Bruijn’s series “Weekend Warriors” is an intimate look at her group of friends, recorded over several weekends, as they partake in the rites of youth – smoking, kissing, drinking, sleeping. Ford and Houston say: “Gioia’s space at Unseen was very alluring. The exhibition combined text and image, creating a captivating and thought provoking display.”
Art duo Angel Albarrán and Anna Cabrera showcased two series entitled “The Mouth of Krishna” and “This Is You”. The pair, who have worked together for 17 years, are interested in exploring how photography makes people question their own reality, time and space. Ford and Houston say: “We were initially drawn to the other worldly element in each image. Shots of textures within nature – trees, flowers, people – with a dark yet fanciful undertone. The way in which the images were displayed felt like lots of mini-windows into the universe. Quite amazing!”
Polish photographer Piotr Zbiersk’s work ranges from an exploration of interactions between strangers and the masking of our own authentic emotions. “We loved how these images felt so personal, like we weren’t meant to see them – it felt as if you were looking through a window capturing a private moment,” say Ford and Houston.
Mayumi Hosokura’s series “CYALIUM” is a portrait of Tokyo’s suburbs and the young people who live there. Combining visuals with his unique sense of storytelling, Hosokura plays with varying techniques in order to achieve his colour-blocked end result. Ford and Houston explain: “Mayumi’s images had a mysterious innocence to them, mixed with her experimental printing techniques, which created a different approach to interpretation.”
Sophie Ebrard spent four years on the set of porn films, shooting the in-between moments, where performers would iron their clothes, read scripts and paint their toenails when the cameras stopped rolling. “Sophie had these images on display in her bedroom – you don’t imagine images from behind the scenes of a porn shoot to look like this. It felt like stills from a totally different type of film. They exuded a real sense of bond and affection,” say Ford and Houston.