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Conceptual artists

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For more than 30 years, artist John Stezaker has used found images as his primary medium. In his compositions, black-and-white studio portraits become surreal two-faced beings; elsewhere, a woman’s face is replaced by the crashing white waves of an illustrated postcard. These collages, which use classic movie stills, vintage postcards and book illustrations, are sliced and re-arranged into entirely new forms—they’re simple constructions, but Stezaker’s eye for the uncanny makes them powerful.

On Sept. 3, Stezaker was awarded the 2012 Deutsche Börse Photography Prize, which recognizes a significant contribution to the medium of photography through exhibition or publication, for his presentation of photographic collages last year at the Whitechapel Gallery in London.

The £30,000 prize (about $48,000) is organized by The Photographers’ Gallery in London. “Stezaker’s work has been influential on a new generation of image-makers,” said Brett Rogers, the Director of The Photographers’ Gallery, in a statement. “Within the vastness of today’s image flow, Stezaker has managed to resurrect the power and uncanny mystery inherent in the still image using traditional photographic strategies, most especially collage.”

Stezaker’s exhibition at Whitechapel showcased work from the 1970s until today.

“I am dedicated to fascination—to image fascination, a fascination for the point at which the image becomes self-enclosed and autonomous. It does so through a series of processes of disjunction,” Stezaker said in a statement from Whitechapel.

John Stezaker is a London-based artist. See more of his work here.

An exhibition of the artists shortlisted for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2012 is on display at The Photographers’ Gallery, London until Sept. 9.

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Deutche-borse-list

This year’s Deutche Börse Photography Prize exhibition opens tommorrow – July 13 – at London’s Photographers’ Gallery. The annual competition was was founded in 1996 by the gallery and since 2005 had run in collaboration with the Deutche Börse Group (hence the name). It aims to reward £30,000 to a contemporary photographer of any nationality who has made the most significant contribution to photography this past year – either in the contexts of publication or exhibition.

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With its grand new setting in the Grand Palais, nearly 120 exhibiting galleries, and tens of thousands of expected visitors, Paris Photo has secured its place as the n’est plus ultra of photography fairs.

That hasn’t kept its new director, Julien Frydman, from having even greater ambitions for the 15th anniversary of the annual event, which begins today and runs through Nov. 13. “It’s about getting out of the ghetto,” says Frydman, the former chief of Magnum Photos in the French capital, who notes that until recently, documentary photography has languished as a sideshow in the history of art. “We want to make sure this photo fair is among the best art fairs of the world.”

Paris Photo 2011 certainly has a lot going for it already. This year, the theme of Sub-Saharan Africa will be marked by a display of portraits from the private trove of German collector Artur Walther and a special exhibition of up-and-coming young African talent. Visitors will be treated to a vast array of images from the continent, from Malick Sidebé’s celebration of Malian pop culture in the 1969′s to Richard Mosse’s pink-hued portraits of modern Congo.

In addition to its usual swarm of galleries, this year’s fair will feature a suite of new attractions intended to up its global profile. Frydman hopes the new Paris Photo Platform, a discussion forum, will debunk the notion of documentary photography as an insular art form. Led by art historian Chantal Pontbriant, the Platform will feature “thinkers, artists, art critics—but not the usual suspects,” he promises. To bring alive this dialogue between photography and other genres, storied curator André Magnin will bring together paintings and photographs by artists such as Yinka Shonibare and Seydou Keïta.

Another new feature, “Recent acquisitions,” uncovers how museums collect their artworks, from the Tate Modern’s focus on the oeuvre of Daido Moriyama to the Musée de l’Elysée’s acquisition of the Charlie Chaplin estate.

In time, Frydman hopes that his innovations will “skyrocket the fair into the top 10” art fairs in the world. It’s important to him, however, that it doesn’t lose its heart along the way. “What I wanted to keep is the conviviality,” he says, noting the fair’s ambiance of friendship and shared passion. “That’s something to keep as a treasure.”

Paris Photo runs through Nov. 13 in the French capital. Read more about it here.

Sonia van Gilder Cooke is a reporter in TIME’s London bureau. Follow her on Twitter at @svangildercooke.

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