Cristina De Middel - The Afronauts
Press release | Amsterdam, August 9,
Christina De Middel - The Afronauts
13 September - 11 December 2013
Photographer Cristina De Middel (1975, Spain) chose as the
starting point for her project The Afronauts a little-known episode
from Zambia's history. This was a space programme started by an
educator which suddenly entered Zambia in the space race with the
United States and Russia. Its aim was to put the first African on
the moon. Due to a lack of financial resources, however, the
ambitious initiative was doomed to failure. Fifty years later, De
Middel reconstructs this story, using her own imagination. From 13
September, Foam will be showing the outcome of this project in an
exhibition that makes no reference to disappointment or defeat:
instead we view fantasy-rich and colourful images full of humour,
with wonderful self-created props, unexpected twists and unusual
In The Afronauts, De Middel combines set-up photography
with copies of typed letters and reproductions of vintage photos.
Although The Afronauts is in fact based on a failed
undertaking, the project includes nothing that refers to the
failure - to the contrary. The photos have an upbeat look thanks to
De Middels's fanciful space suits, playful astronaut training
sessions and a Zambian flag with a smiley face. Other characters
also appear against the background of the rugged landscape of
Alicante, including an elephant presented as a space creature and a
cat dressed in a starred costume, which according to the story also
was planned to be launched into space.
After a successful photojournalist career of nearly ten years, De
Middel discovered that she had become disappointed in
photojournalism and that her viewpoint toward the consumption of
'authentic' images and the untruths that accompany them was
becoming increasingly cynical. The Afronauts is De
Middels's first successful attempt to design her own ideal world.
De Middel's work shows that fiction can serve as the subject of
photography just as well as facts can and that our expectation that
photography must always make reference to reality is flawed.
The in 2012 self published book The Afronauts was sold
out within two months. The publication was shortlisted for the
Aperture First Photobook of 2012. Cristina De Middel has
recently been nominated for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize
The Afronauts by Cristina De Middel can be seen from 13
September - 11 December 2013 at Foam. Open daily 10 am - 6 pm,
Thurs/Fri 10 am - 9 pm. Tickets: € 8,75.
Note to editors: For information and visual
material please contact the communications department, e-mail foam[at]foam.org or phone +31 (0)20
Foam is sponsored by the BankGiroLoterij, De Brauw Blackstone
Westbroek, Delta Lloyd and the VandenEnde Foundation.
1017 DS Amsterdam
phone: + 31 (0)20 5516500