Click here to open

Initial Edition of Unseen Exceeds All Expectations

Press release | Amsterdam, 24 September 2012

Initial Edition of Unseen Exceeds All Expectations

Strong sales and visitor figures and boosted by ebullient atmosphere and tight organisation

The inaugural Unseen Photo Fair closed its doors last night with reports of strong sales and a high level of gallerist satisfaction with the collectors and institutions that visited from the Middle East, South America, across Europe and the USA. Gallerists were also extremely positive about the high level of organisation, and the effort to which Unseen had gone with the marketing and presentation of the event.

Over 22,000 visitors came to Unseen, far exceeding the expectations of the organisers. A high number of additional visitors were also reported at the Fashion! exhibition, the launch of the Foam Talent edition, the Unseen Collection, Offprint, and other programmed events. The optimistic atmosphere of the opening night lasted to the end, aided by the 'spoke' system of    booth layout by designers Müller van Tol within the Westergasfabriek's Gashouder building. Last week the online Unseen Community reached over 176,000 people.

Fifty top international galleries came to Unseen, including Robert Morat Galerie (Hamburg and Berlin), Yossi Milo Gallery (New York), East Wing (Doha), Diana Stigter (Amsterdam) Michael Hoppen and The Photographers' Gallery (both London), G/P (Tokyo), m97 (Shanghai), Les Filles du Calvaire (Paris), Martin Asbæk Gallery (Copenhagen), and The Empire Project (Istanbul).

A number of strong sales were reported by galleries, including Aando Fine Art from Berlin selling a piece by Korean photographer Bae Bien-U priced at c. €60,000 to a new collector, and M97 from Shanghai selling ten pieces by Huang Xiaoling, their newest artist. The Photographers' Gallery in London sold their entire wall of works by Julie Cockburn within the first hour of the fair to a renowned Dutch collector. Galleria Heino (Finland) sold a print by Miklos Gáal four times over and said that they have had a great contact with curators and collectors at Unseen. Diana Stigter, who brought a solo presentation by Elspeth Diederix, sold the entire booth. Furthermore several galleries reported serious interest from major international museums.

Fair directors Marloes Krijnen, Pjotr de Jong and Roderick van der Lee commented: "We could not be happier with how the initial Unseen Photo Fair has gone, and are very grateful to the four parties of the Blockbusterfonds (the BankGiro Loterij, the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, the VSBFonds and the VandeEnde Foundation) and especially, the winners of the BankGiro Loterij for exchanging their vouchers for works of the Unseen Collection. We would also like to thank the City of Amsterdam and, of course, the Westergasfabriek for making it possible. The standard of works in the galleries was exceptional, enticing collectors and a public from afar and bolstering a shared festival atmosphere. We are already looking forward to the next edition of Unseen!'

Miami collector Mr. Martin Z. Margulies commented: "the energy and excitement of Unseen made it something special. The photos are terrific and the dealers were very nice. The whole excitment of it was very positive…. The prices at Unseen were also positive: they gave people that want to start collecting a ticket of admission. Amsterdam should be thrilled to have a fair like this."

Germany's Der Tagespiegel said: "Unseen could establish itself as a fair for new discoveries", while Le Figaro described the design of the fair as "clean, efficient and ergonomic", going on to say "the first Unseen Photo Fair captures the zeitgeist and shows…a new generation of artists." Similarly, Belgium's De Morgen emphasised the efforts that that has fair made to open photography out to a wide public, be that by including the Unseen Collection, the series of talks by people such as Simon Baker (Curator of Photography at Tate Modern) and Fred Ritchin the former picture editor of The New York Times Magazine. Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant described it as a  photo fair with a "museum feel", while Amsterdam's Trouw said "Unseen is a beautiful homage to the printed image, for both a large and select audience. Too bad that it only lasts for four days."

Gallery responses to the fair have been extremely positive.

Aando Fine Art commented: "I am very satisfied with the reactions of collectors…almost the entire booth is sold and I am happy with everything. I have met many new people here, my Dutch collectors brought their friends whom then introdued me to their friends. Also there are new people that are just starting to collect, this is a sign that Unseen has great potential!".

m97 Gallery said of Unseen that: "the experience has been great, with an amazing traffic. There is a great interest and understanding of photography in Amsterdam. Unseen is encouraging things that are not typical for an art fair, it gives us the chance to bring things that are surprising, fresh, new and just finished. Everybody is talking about year 2, 3 and 4 for Unseen already, so now I think that word will spread quickly about the quality of the fair and more and more people will come. We are looking forwards to it!"

Martin Asbaek Gallery commented: "We can really feel, that Unseen has put a lot of effort in promoting this new photo fair. After only a few days at the fair it has already been a success and we are very satisfied with the new connections to collectors and museums we have got during the past couple of days."

Les Filles du Calvaire commented: "I hope that Unseen will become an annual event. It is a good meeting point at the start of the season. If it continues its cutting edge programme it will become an interesting event for the professional and also for the collector."

For more information and images please contact:

Dutch press contact
Anja Scheltens
Tel: +31 (0) 551 6500


UnseenThe first edition of Unseen took place from 19 to 23 September 2012. Unseen not only offers space to established photographers but also to young talent and unknown work. The new generation of photographers is inspiring, innovative and unafraid to take risks. At Unseen, they will get the chance to introduce themselves.

Unseen is a joint venture between Foam, Platform A, and Vandejong.

Marloes Krijnen, Foam
Marloes Krijnen is founding director of Foam Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam. Prior to this she was director of Transworld, an agency representing an international group of photographers. In the years since its start in 2001, Foam has established itself as a renowned platform for photography in all its forms: strong national and international networks, and support of up-and-coming photographers being two of Foam's most important ambitions.

Roderick van der Lee, Platform A
In 2008 Roderick co-founded Platform A, office for cultural business development. Over the past decade Roderick has curated a dozen exhibitions in contemporary art and design and has consulted for several collections, ranging from private to large institutional collections such as of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Pjotr de Jong, Vandejong
Pjotr de Jong is the creative director of branding agency Vandejong. In 2001 Foam became a client of Vandejong and since 2006 the two organisations have jointly published Foam Magazine.

Blockbuster Fund (BankGiroLoterij, Prins Bernard Cultuurfonds, VSB Fonds, VandenEnde Foundation)
Municipality of Amsterdam

Unseen 19 - 23 September 2012 / Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam.
Foam is supported by the BankGiroLoterij, De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, Delta Lloyd and VandenEnde Foundation.

Keizersgracht 609
1017 DS
+ 31 20 5516500

Press kit

For more information and images download: PRESS KIT

For log in information please call the communications department at Foam:
0031 205516500 or send an e-mail to foam[at]