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Since 2007, Foam has awarded this prize to support and offer a platform to up-and-coming artists. In the years after receiving the award, the winners have made an international breakthrough, demonstrating that winning this title had a positive impact on their careers.
Romain Mader (1988, Switzerland) is the winner of the eleventh Foam Paul Huf Award 2017. This annual prize, given to a photography talent under 35 years, consists of €20.000 and an exhibition in Foam. The jury chose Romain Mader from a pool of 100 nominated photographers, from 25 countries worldwide. Mader wins the prize for his series Ekaterina, a narrative in which he seeks a bride in an imaginary city in the Ukraine.
The jury report states:
“Romain Mader’s Ekatarina is notable for the humour and irony with which he addresses serious issues: solitude, love, exploitation and the female body. In this Chinese box of a project, each layer opens to reveal a new interpretive possibility. What is real here, and what is fiction? In the invented Ukrainian town of Ekaterina, mysteriously populated only by women, Mader - or the character he plays - looks for love. Unremarkable in appearance, he spends time with aspiring models and beauty queen hopefuls, frozen behind their smiles.
In a slick style familiar from commercial snapshots, social media and tourist material, we are drawn into a world of exploited women, mail-order brides, sexual tourism, and pervasive media attention. But Mader’s depiction is funny, naive, absurd, light-hearted, and it is this contrast between the subject and its exploration that gives Ekaterina its unexpectedly moving power."
The jury was delighted to recognize Romain Mader’s already completed work as well as his significant promise with the 2017 Foam Paul Huf Award. "We strongly believe that he is an artist of remarkable sensibility and subtlety, and that he is destined to be a notable voice in contemporary photography.”
The work of Romain Mader will be on show at Foam at the end of 2017.
Each year, the Foam Paul Huf Award jury consists of a new formation of five big names in photography. This jury evaluates 100 nominees, who are submitted by gallerists, curators, critics, photographers, publishers and art school faculty. The winner is awarded an exhibition in Foam, a publication in Foam Magazine, and a prize of €20,000.
Jury Foam Paul Huf Award 2017 © Tessa Bosma / thefoofaraw.com
2007: Taryn Simon, Mikhael Subotzky
2008: Pieter Hugo
2009: Léonie Hampton-Purchas
2010: Alexander Gronsky
2011: Raphaël Dallaporta
2012: Alex Prager
2013: Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs
2014: Daniel Gordon
2015: Momo Okabe
2016: Daisuke Yokota
The title of the award refers to Dutch photographer Paul Huf (1924-2002) who had a special connection with Foam. Huf was involved in the establishment of the museum in 2001 and he was known for his open and enthusiastic approach to new photography and upcoming talent – a clear parallel with Foam's mission statement.
The Foam Paul Huf Award is made possible by JTI.
Foam is supported by the BankGiro Loterij, De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, Delta Lloyd, Gemeente Amsterdam, Olympus and the VandenEnde Foundation.