Foam is proud to present the first museum solo exhibition of the German-American artist Rebecca Sampson (1984). Her work is a photographic study of the daily life of Indonesian domestic workers in Hong Kong. With little to no leisure time or personal space, these labour migrants construct a parallel identity using social media channels. Far from home and in a completely female subculture, the women develop an ambiguous sexual identity. Sampson portrays this population in a layered multi-media narrative, consisting of documentary photography, social media footage, and text.
While on a visit to Hong Kong in 2013, Sampson observed how hundreds of labour migrants – homeless for one day – spent their Sundays in the parks and public spaces of the city. The photographer spent many Sundays with them and gradually got to know them. The portraits made by Sampson and by the domestic workers themselves form a sharp contrast with the exemplary passport photos attached to their application forms, which Sampson was able to obtain by pretending to be a potential employer. These documents – for which the women pay steep fees to private brokers – reveal gross deficiencies in the local labour law. The artist juxtaposed the photographs provided by the agency – obediently smiling ladies wearing an apron with the text ‘Apples for Sale’ – with the images posted by these workers on social media. The discrepancy between the constructed typology of the model housekeeper, and images of their desperate attempts to escape from their dreary everyday life, begs the question which of the two images is furthest removed from reality.
OPENING AND BOOK PRESENTATION
The exhibition opened in the presence of the artist on Thursday 1 November 2018. During this event Rebecca Sampson presented her new book Apples for Sale. The artist and Hinde Haest (curator Foam) will talk about Sampson's observations in Hong Kong and her inventive approach to documentary photography.
Florentine Riem Vis Grant
Rebecca Sampson is the second recipient of the Florentine Riem Vis Grant, which was established in memory of Florentine Riem Vis (1959-2016). The grant is awarded annually with the goal of supporting young photographic talent in the development of their artistic career.
The research for the project Apples for Sale was funded by the Robert Bosch Stiftung in cooperation with the Literarisches Colloquium Berlin and within the context of the program Grenzgänger China – Deutschland.
The Foam 3h exhibitions are made possible with support from the Gieskes-Strijbis Fund, the Van Bijlevelt Foundation and Kleurgamma Fine-Art Photolab.
Foam is supported by the BankGiro Loterij, De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, Gemeente Amsterdam, Olympus and the VandenEnde Foundation.
ABOUT REBECCA SAMPSON
Rebecca Sampson (Germany, 1984) studied photography at Ostkreuzschüle - School of Photography and Design in Berlin. Her work has been exhibited internationally and was part of the exhibition Gute Aussichten Deluxe in Deichtorhallen / Haus der Photographie Hamburg in 2018. She is currently working on a science and art project with the Technical University in Berlin, and is a resident at the Goethe Institute. This year her first book Apples for Sale was published by Kerber Verlag. Sampson lives and works in Berlin.