Journal Frankfurt News – Images of our time

The four Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2022 nominees are dedicated to global and local areas of conflict – and sometimes find captivating imagery. After the London exhibition, they can now be seen in Frankfurt in Eschborn until September 15th.

At first glance, Diana Lawson’s paintings resemble documentaries. The portraits of the artist-photographer, who was born in Rochester, New York in 1979, are carefully staged. This can be recognized by the curtains which sometimes seem to flutter in the picture. Or in symbolically charged objects that people depicted wear and decorate the walls of their apartments. Given this prior knowledge, Lawson’s paintings then resemble more modern portraits of morality, created with photographs, whose objects and people point beyond a very sharp point in time, into dystopian moments in modern history, but perhaps also into a utopian future.

In summer 2020, Lawson’s paintings were on display at the Kunsthalle Basel. The artist exhibited them like a mythical family album, because it is impenetrable to the public, and its characters are crammed into XXL portraits in a white cube. Indeed, with Dean Lawson’s Centropa, she showed a cabinet of individuals, perhaps secluded as well, but at least alien to each other, who can only ignite themselves with alchemical power, art at its best – or at least generously pretending – for the first time gathered in a worldwide family from the black diaspora.

Deana Lawson received the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation 2022 Award for “Centropy” on May 12 in London. From June 30, some of the winning works will be exhibited at The Cube in Eschborn. Along with the other shortlisted: Gilles Peress, Jo Ractliffe and Anastasia Samoylova. They all deal with global and local conflicts that find images captivating, captivating or disturbing to them. As in Peress’s (* 1964) photographic almanac “Whatever You Say, Say Nothing” (* 1964), in which the photographer collected images from the Northern Ireland Civil War, including fictionalized photojournalism, while Ractcliffe (* 1961) created the images for Searches and finds the aftermath of South Africa’s history.

Anastasia Samoylova (* 1984) was nominated for the exhibition “FloodZone” with photos from the series of the same name. Her photos may already be known to some Frankfurter – in 2020, the gallery of Peter Sillem Samoylova showed pictures of tall palm trees threatening to blow up a pink pavement in Miami, pools on the flood plains, as well as slides and posters praising the heavenly conditions.

Samoylova has been living in Miami since 2016. Her photos of the abyss, of the city more threatened by climate change than others, are carefully sharpened, but not staged. The arrangement is often accompanied by a dry sense of humor, a view full of references to the history of painting and photography. Its continuation is a new series by the photographer “Florydas”, which was published as an illustrated book. They can be seen until June 11 at Peter Sillem, as a kind of prequel to the exhibition in Eschborn, the works of which, of course, were created earlier. “We owe Florida to images,” says Samoylova, when she had the book premiere in Frankfurt in late April. For an artist, the state, which in the US is also referred to as rather exaggerated, is at the same time the epitome of artistic Americana and a rich treasure of the abyss. In her photography work, she has visited every corner of Florida she could – “travel photography,” says Anastasia Samoylova, is actually a male-dominated genre. In an illustrated book, he juxtaposes his own photos with those of the American photography icon Walker Evans, who lived in Florida for many years himself, and invites you to play the guesswork game: Who did it? The authorship of photos is by no means always clear, as is the case with those you created yourself from places.

>> Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Award 2022, until September 15, The Cube, Eschborn, dates: deutscheboersephotographyfoundation.org. “Floridas” by Anastasia Samoylova, until June 11 in Galerie Peter Sillem, Info: galerie-peter-sillem.com. The attached photo book is published by Steidl and costs 58 euros.

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This text was also published in the June issue (6.22) of the FRANKFURT DIARY.

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