John Edmonds - A Sidelong Glance

Press Release | Amsterdam, February 2022

Foam proudly presents the exhibition of John Edmonds (1989, US), the winner of the Foam Paul Huf Award 2021. The show concentrates on A Sidelong Glance: Edmonds’ ongoing body of work in which he examines and reconsiders the representation of Black people throughout art history. Through his meticulously crafted studio photographs of models and objects representing Africa, he carefully contemplates what it means to be Black, human and the subject of art and imaging.

In his photographs, Edmonds juxtaposes the African art object with the human bodies alike those that originally inspired their creation. The sitters in Edmonds' photographs are individuals from his own creative community. Each subject performs an intuitive relationship with the artefacts that is based on desire, connection and care, regardless of distinguishing factors such as gender or origin. His portraits and still lifes raise the question what African artefacts symbolize to the artist and his models alike, most of whom aren’t born on the African continent. Through his photographs, Edmonds forges a spiritual connection to the roots of the Black diaspora, disrupted by a past of transatlantic slavery.

Inherent to the work of John Edmonds is a tension between the imagination around and appropriation of African objects by the African diaspora, and the original meaning attributed to them by the African communities who created them. This distinction is also the subject of the essay A Sidelong Glance: The Practice of African Diaspora Art History in the United States (2011) by Art Historian Krista Thompson, from which Edmonds' work takes its title. On the occasion of this exhibition Foam has three objects on loan from the National Museum of World Cultures (NL). These African artefacts show similarities to some of the objects that the artist has incorporated into his photographs. John Edmonds uses photography to propose new representations of historical connection. The presentation of the collection objects, along with Edmonds's excerpts from scholarly texts on Baule art, considers the distinct role that individuals and institutions—from collectors to art historians to art museums—play in the bestowal of meaning, authenticity, and value. While Edmonds's work recognizes the persistence of power imbalances, it offers new aesthetic and conceptual possibilities in looking both to the past and the future.

 <br> John Edmonds - A Sidelong Glance
 <br> John Edmonds - A Sidelong Glance
 <br> John Edmonds - A Sidelong Glance
 <br> John Edmonds - A Sidelong Glance

About John Edmonds
John Edmonds (1989, U.S.) is the winner of the fifteenth Foam Paul Huf Award. Edmonds first came to public recognition with his intimate portraits of lovers, close friends and strangers. He earned his MFA in Photography from Yale University and his BFA at the Corcoran School of Arts & Design. His work explores themes of identity, community, desire and belonging. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York and is Visiting Lecturer on Art, Film and Visual Studies at Harvard University.

About the Award
The Foam Paul Huf Award is presented annually to a talented upcoming photographer. Foam has been organizing this prize since 2007, the winner is appointed by an independent, international jury. The prize consists of €20.000 and a solo exhibition at Foam. John Edmonds sees his name added to an impressive list of alumni. Last year Laia Abril won the award.

The Foam Paul Huf Award was made possible in part by the generous support of Mentha Capital.
Special thanks to the National Museum of World Cultures (NL) and Company Gallery, New York (US).

In 2022 Foam receives additional support from the Mondriaan Fund.

Foam is supported by the VriendenLoterij, Foam Members, De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, the VandenEnde Foundation and the City of Amsterdam.

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