Aim and shoot

An insight into the 2017 Deutsche Börse Photography Prize nominations

  • Text Alex James Taylor
  • 7th December 2016
Art

Top image: Dana Lixenberg ‘Toussaint’, 1993 © Dana Lixenberg Courtesy of the artist and Grimm, Amsterdam

Awarded annually to a living photographer for the most significant contribution to photography in Europe, the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize shortlists four of the most exciting nascent photographers, before awarding one with a £30,000 prize fund and a globally recognised platform to showcase their work.

“We are incredibly excited by this year’s shortlist that celebrates the dynamism of photographic practices in the contemporary field, and considers conceptual approaches to documentary, landscape and portraiture,” said Anne-Marie Beckmann, Director, Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation.

Here, Beckmann gives us an insight into this year’s four nominations. Chosen by a group of more than 100 international photography experts, this year’s shortlisted lensers investigate questions of truth and fiction, doubt and certainty, what constitutes the real and ideal and the relationship between the observer and the observed.

Sophie Calle

“In her publication My All (Actes Sud, 2016), Sophie Calle (b.1953, France) transforms over fifty works melding autobiographical and sociological investigation, into postcard form. Taking stock of her entire œuvre, this set of postcards functions as a beautiful portfolio of Calle’s work, as well as a new investigation of it, in an appropriately nomadic format.

Over the past thirty years, Sophie Calle has invited strangers to sleep in her bed, followed a man through the streets of Paris to Venice, hired a detective to spy on her before providing a report of her day, and asked blind people to tell her about the final image they remember. In doing so, she has orchestrated small moments of life, establishing a game, then setting its rules for herself and for others.”

Sophie Calle 'North Pole', 2009 © Sophie Calle Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Perrotin

“Over the past thirty years, Sophie Calle has invited strangers to sleep in her bed, followed a man through the streets of Paris to Venice, hired a detective to spy on her before providing a report of her day, and asked blind people to tell her about the final image they remember.”

Dana Lixenberg

“Dana Lixenberg‘s publication Imperial Courts (Roma, 2015) documents a Los Angeles community from 1992 to the present day. In 1992, Lixenberg travelled to South Central Los Angeles for a magazine story on the riots that erupted following the verdict in the Rodney King trial. What she encountered inspired her to revisit the area, and led her to the community of the Imperial Courts housing project in Watts. Returning countless times over the following twenty-two years, Lixenberg gradually created a collaborative portrait of the changing face of this community. Over the years, some in the community were killed, while others disappeared or went to jail, and others, once children in early photographs, grew up and had children of their own. In this way, Imperial Courts constitutes a complex and evocative record of the passage of time in an underserved community.”

Dana Lixenberg 'Toussaint', 1993 © Dana Lixenberg Courtesy of the artist and Grimm, Amsterdam

“This year’s shortlisted lensers investigate questions of truth and fiction, doubt and certainty, what constitutes the real and ideal and the relationship between the observer and the observed.”

Awoiska van der Molen

“Awoiska van der Molen’s images, presented in her exhibition Blanco at Foam Fotografie Museum, Amsterdam (22 Jan – 3 Apr 2016), form an in-depth exploration of our relationship to landscape in timeless monochrome works. Spending long periods of time in solitude and silence in foreign landscapes, from Japan to Norway to Crete, she explores the identity of the place, allowing it to impress upon her its specific emotional and physical qualities and her personal experience within it. With this intuitive approach van der Molen aims to find a pure form of representing her surroundings, by focusing on the essential elements in and around her. Her work questions how natural and manmade environments are commonly represented and interacted with.”

Awoiska van der Molen '#412-9', 2015 © Awoiska van der Molen. Courtesy of the artist, Purdy Hicks Gallery and Kristof De Clercq gallery
Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs

“And finally Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs, nominated for their exhibition EURASIA at Fotomuseum Winterthur (24 Oct 15 – 14 Mar 16), that response to an eastern road trip where fiction, fact and memory merge. Onorato and Krebs’ journey begins in Switzerland, continues through the Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, and ends in Mongolia. Throughout their travels the duo encounters landscapes and people in a state of ongoing transition from ancient traditions and post-Communist structures to modernity and the formation of an independent identity. Using a mix of analogue media and techniques including 16mm films, large-format plate cameras and installation-based interventions, Onorato and Krebs compose a narrative that is as much fiction as documentation.”

Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs 'Well', 2013 © Taiyo Onorato/Nico Krebs Courtesy of the artists

The 2017 Deutsche Börse Photography Prize nominations will be exhibited at The Photographer’s gallery, 16-18 Ramillies St, London W1F 7LW from 3rd March – 11th June 2017

The winner of the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2014 will be announced at The Photographers’ Gallery during the exhibition.

 

Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs Zaha, 2013 © Taiyo Onorato/Nico Krebs Courtesy of the artists