by Alain Chivilò
An institutional view to the ninth edition of Photo London 2024 in events and more.
Valérie Belin, Photo London Master of Photography 2024, presents the exhibition “Silent Stories”;
“The Magic Art of French Calotype. Paper Negative Photography 1846 – 1860” curated by Robert Hershkowitz;
Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation celebrates the 25th anniversary of its collection with the exhibition “See/Change – Art Collection Deutsche Börse @25” curated by Anne-Marie Beckmann and Renée Mussai;
A photographic space that evolves their “Belmond Legends” series, where Belmond’s iconic destinations are captured through the lens of internationally acclaimed artists curated by Belmond;
Kamiar Maleki, Photo London Fair Director, curates the Main Section of the fair for the first time and Charlotte Jansen curates the Discovery Section for emerging photographers and galleries;
Photo London x Nikon Emerging Photographer of the Year returns for its fifth cycle with last year’s winner Léa Habourdin and fellow shortlisted artists on display;
Photo London x Hahnemühle Student Award returns for its second year, platforming outstanding works by students enrolled in photography degrees at UK universities;
Thames & Hudson leads the 2024 Talks Programme, with contributions from Nikon and FT Weekend;
An enhanced VIP Programme collaborating with art and photography collections across London.
Focusing “Silent Stories” by French photographer Valérie Belin: the exhibition put in evidence three decades of her work about silent images that have no stories, no narratives and no documentaries because they “are designed to be seen as the mirror of fictions without words”. An enigmatic and intriguing research but, according to the artist’s statement: “I am deeply honoured to have been chosen to showcase my work as the 2024 Master of Photography. For me, this award represents the recognition of 30 years’ work and will be an opportunity to show the Photo London audience the vitality of contemporary photography by women”. Moreover, the Fair Founders Michael Benson and Fariba Farshad said: “The work of the acclaimed French photographer Valérie Belin is intriguingly positioned at the intersection of art and photography. Over the course of her career her image making has attracted significant international recognition. She is represented in many important private and public collections around the world. In 2015 she became the first woman to win the Prix Pictet. Her winning series ‘Still Life’ typifies her approach featuring arrangements of cheap consumer items in elaborate compositions that echo classical vanitas and memento mori paintings. At this point in our own development Valérie’s brilliant playful mix of art and photography makes her the ideal Master of Photography”.
Exhibitors: returning galleries as Sundaram Tagore Gallery (New York/London), Rolf Art (Buenos Aires), Persons Projects (Berlin), Robert Morat Galerie (Berlin), Ira Stehmann Fine Art (Munich), Galerie Peter Sillem (Frankfurt); an exciting group of first-time exhibitors as Pesiehl & Heine (Hamburg), Leila Heller Gallery (New York) and Martch Art Project (Istanbul); as well as a group of outstanding galleries from Paris, including Galerie Nathalie Obadia (Paris) and Galerie Sophie Scheidecker (Paris) and local regulars including Flowers Gallery (London), Robert Hershkowitz Ltd. (Lindfield), Roland Belgrave Vintage Photography Ltd. (Brighton) and Purdy Hicks Gallery (London).
Photo London Fair Director, Kamiar Maleki commented: “It has been a great privilege to work with Fariba and Michael and the outstanding team at Photo London to develop a shared vision designed to build on the formidable legacy of the Fair’s first nine years and exploit its incredible potential. It may take a few years for our vision to be fully realised but I am really excited to see the lines of what we are seeking to create are already becoming clear both in the quality of the galleries taking part and in the increasing number of collectors from non traditional groups who are planning to be with us in May”.
Discovery – Emerging photographers and galleries, curated by the critic and author Charlotte Jansen with the support of Photo London’s Associate Director Sophie Parker, in newcomers such as Palm* Studios (London) and Deák Erika Galéria (Budapest). Charlotte Jansen highlights how “the Discovery section at Photo London has always been, for me, the most exciting area of the fair. As the name implies, it’s where you might find things that you’ve never seen before, which is quite a rarity these days, given our image-saturated culture”.
The Awards: the Photo London x Nikon Emerging Photographer of the Year Award continues to show works of outstanding young photographers at the Fair and presents a special display dedicated to the winner of the 2023 award, French visual artist Léa Habourdin and her fellow shortlisted photographers in the Nikon Gallery. The Photo London x Hahnemühle Student Award in collaboration with UK universities offers photography degrees, the award highlights the most exciting early-career talent within the industry, bringing their portfolios to international attention. The shortlisted students will be granted the opportunity to print 5-10 artworks on their preferred Hahnemühle papers and present them in a dedicated exhibition at Photo London 2024. The winner is further awarded a trip to the Hahnemühle mill in Germany to produce a new body of photographic work.
The best of the past, present and future of photography, as noted: Photo London, 16 – 19th May 2024. Preview: Wednesday 15 May.
©AC, NDSL, AM, Alain Chivilo