Foam x Paris Photo
Foam Talks: Talent Edition
Sarker Protick & AnaMary Bilbao
Photography has the power to translate the intangible. The work of photographers Sarker Protick (1986, IN) and AnaMary Bilbao (1986, PT) aims to visualise philosophical concepts such as impermanence or materiality of time. In dialogue with Elisa Medde, Editor in Chief of Foam Magazine, they talk about their conceptual approaches.
In the associative sequences of Sarker Protick’s work ‘রশ্মি / Raśmi / Ray’, light is the main protagonist and a metaphor for illumination – be it spiritual or scientific. Raśmi is a Sanskrit word which can be found in the Bengali language meaning ‘Ray of Light’. Rooted in personal experiences of loss and grief, the work explores our existence in a cosmos that is both infinitely small and unfathomably wide. All photographs were taken with a cell phone, capturing our indirect (screen-based) relation to the world around us. Devoid of a sense of scale, the images become ambivalent: are we looking at a microscopic view of the neural system, or an aerial photograph of a river delta? An anti-depressant pill could just as well be an image of the Earth from space, and vice versa.
In her project inspired by ‘Le Bleu du ciel’ by Georges Bataille, AnaMary Bilbao explores the ideas of eternity and mortality, reality and dreams, belief and doubt. The works open a dialogue that suggests new connections and interpretations. Without ever aiming to close themselves in a specific narrative, they seek to expose the indeterminacy contained in the imminence of what is about to happen. All the works live from this tension, from the uncertainty of the images’ content and their openness to interpretation.
Igor Tereshkov & Anastasia Samoylova
The medium of photography and the world are changing rapidly. Photographers Igor Tereshkov (RU, 1989) and Anastasia Samoylova (RU/US, 1984) are part of a new generation of documentary photographers. Experimenting with different techniques, the two research the connection between humans and their environment. Together with David Campany, Managing Director of Programs at the International Center of Photography, the two artists speak about their research.
Igor Tereshkov works with mixed media including documentary photography and experiments with different photo process and mediums. His work revolves around topics such as environment, ecology and the Anthropocene. One of these examples is his series ‘Oil and Moss’ shot in KhMAO, the district producing about 50% of Russia’s oil. This work shows the irresponsible handling of fossils and the damage this brings to Indigenous People and nature.
Anastasia Samoylova moves between observational photography, studio practice and installation. By utilizing tools and strategies related to digital media and commercial photography, her work explores notions of environmentalism, consumerism and the picturesque. Her recent series ‘Floridas’ document Florida’s complex history and its connection to the broader context of contemporary USA.
Heather Agyepong & John Yuyi
“The body is an archive. It remembers everything – even the things that the head forgets.” Visual artist-performers Heather Agyepong (UK) and John Yuyi (TW, 1991) explore their own bodies as a vessel for personal and collective (hi)stories. Their work begs the question of how photography can be, and has been, used to perform a gendered and racialised persona. Through performance and self-portraiture, the artists unearth new ways to engage the body as both a target and an instrument of visual activism. Together with Hinde Haest, curator of Foam Talent Digital 2021, the artists go into conversation about their respective processes and the challenges they face.
Heather Agyepong uses lens-based practices and performance to explore collective wellbeing, activism, the African diaspora and the archive. The lead character of one of Agyepong’s recent projects ‘Wish You Were Here’ is the celebrated African-American vaudeville performer Aida Overton Walker. She was known as the Queen of the Cake Walk, a dance craze that swept the United States and Europe in the early 1900s. By personifying the figure of Overton Walker, Heather Agyepong reimagined her story as one of (black, female) agency instead of oppression.
The work of Yuyi John explores her own body as a malleable object and a product of consumer culture. Through social media, stickers and other lowbrow means of mass-communication she seeks experimental new forms to ‘brand’ her own feminity. With this, John formulates a newfound understanding of what individuality means in the context of millennial culture and the both liberating and oppressive social media landscape. The artist constructs a raw, unapologetic, often jarring and seemingly nonsensical interpretation of her own mediated identity.
Simon Lehner & Victoria Pidust
New media techniques like 3D rendering and artificial intelligence are pushing the boundaries of contemporary photography. By not making a distinction between real and generated images Simon Lehner (1996, DE) and Victoria Pidust (1992, UA) question our perception of reality. With Shoair Malvian, director of Photoworks and curator of Paris Photo Curiosa sector, the two artists speak about how they are pushing photography outside the frame.
Simon Lehner’s work is based on personal experiences. Its documentary core explores contemporary issues, social structures, psychology and its relation to current human and social developments through direct and embedded observation. The series uses fundamental elements and physical gestures of image-making as an analogy to the control that trauma can exercise over memories and self-perception. His project ‘’The Mind is a Voice, the Voice is Blind’’ presents a digital reconstruction of Simon Lehner’s childhood memories. The artist sought to relive his childhood traumas, creating 3D-renders of people and places of his past. In this way, Lehner compares the process of digital post-production to the constant unconscious reconfiguration of our own personal memories.
With her hyperrealist, layered panoramas, Victoria Pidust takes us into a visual maze where our perception is stirred up. The artist adapts generative aesthetic and concrete art to her artistic practice thereby transforming photography's traditional purpose of depicting reality into a creative endeavour. In her hybrid baroque-like works, analogue and digital images unite subjective and generative photography. Based on photogrammetry, her expressive digital photographic works are produced through human consciousness and artificial intelligence and describe the path from 2D to 3D.
Concept: Amelie Schüle and Hinde Heast
Production: Nordin Janssen
Mastering & Mixing: Andersen Audio Productions
The Foam Talent programme and the annual Talent issue of Foam Magazine are supported by The Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation, the VandenEnde Foundation and the Niemeijer Fund.
Foam Talent is made possible by Kleurgamma Fine-Art Photolab, Starframe, Oschatz Visuelle Medien and the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia.
Foam Magazine is sponsored by Igepa Netherlands BV, supplier of excellent paper.
Media partner: DAZED
Foam is supported by the VriendenLoterij, Foam Members, De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, the VandenEnde Foundation and the City of Amsterdam.
In 2021 Foam receives additional support from the Mondriaan Fund and Kickstart Cultuurfonds.