Other I: Alec Soth, WassinkLundgren, Viviane Sassen
Hotshoe Gallery : 12 October – 27 November
Private View 11 October from 18:30
Curated by Aaron Schuman
Faced with legitimate criticism during the latter half of the twentieth century, photography shifted from a medium often used to explore, explain and express the foreign and unfamiliar, to one used to examine, reveal and define oneself. In 1984, Andy Grundberg noted such a shift starting to occur specifically within documentary practice, ‘…towards recording the “I” instead of the “Other”, centering itself on what the photographer’s life is rather than on what it is not…’. This exhibition features several prominent contemporary practitioners who are cleverly redressing this balance by merging direct encounters with the ‘Other’ into forms of self-exploration, self-revelation and subtle autobiography, equally emphasising what is in front of the camera – the ‘Other’ – and what is behind it – the ‘I’.
ALEC SOTH drew the attention of art world with his first book, Sleeping by the Mississippi, published by Steidl in 2004. His inclusion in the 2004 Whitney Biennial accelerated his growing reputation, and an invitation to join Magnum Photos followed shortly thereafter. Most recently, Soth had his first major museum retrospective – ‘From Here to There’ – at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis in 2010-11, which was accompanied by a conceptually intricate catalogue of the same name (Hatje Cantz, 2010). Soth is also a publisher, and has utilized his imprint, Little Brown Mushroom, to produce small editions of highly personal books and magazines. His own new book, Broken Manual, published by Steidl in 2011, was voted ‘Best Book’ at the Kassel Photobook Festival 2011, and also resulted in a documentary film about him, aptly entitled Somewhere to Disappear.
WASSINKLUNDGREN is a partnership between Thijs groot Wassink and Ruben Lundgren, which began in 2005 after they both graduated from the Utrecht School of Arts. Through collaboration, they make work often described as conceptual documentary photography. In 2007 they published Empty Bottles, which won the prestigious Prix du Livre for Best Contemporary Photobook at the Rencontres d’Arles Photofestival, was nominated by Thomas Weski as ‘Best Photography Book of 2007-8 at the Kasseler Fotoforum, and was selected by Martin Parr for exhibition at the New York Photo Festival 2008. Other publications include Hans Kemna: Catalogue (2008), the booklet Don’t Smile Now… Save it for Later! (2008), and most recently, Tokyo Tokyo (2010). Wassink lives in London, where he recently finished an MA in Fine Art at Central Saint Martins. Lundgren lives in Beijing, where he recently finished an MA at the Central Academy of Fine Arts.
VIVIANE SASSEN was born in Amsterdam in 1972, and spent her early childhood in Kenya. In 1997, she received her MA in Fine Arts from the Royal Academy in Arnhem. Since then she has found great success as a fashion photographer, publishing work in avant-garde fashion magazines, and has established a unique visual vocabulary all her own. Her aesthetic combines a sense of childhood memory, where scenes are crystallized and highly saturated with color and shadow, with a photographer’s sensitivity to the body and surface. In 2008, she published Flamboya (Contrasto) to high acclaim, and her work has since been exhibited at FOAM (Amsterdam), Danziger Projects (New York), and currently as part of the Museum of Modern Art’s series, ‘New Photography 2011’ (28th Sept. 2011 – 16th Jan. 2012).
AARON SCHUMAN is an American photographer, editor, writer and curator based in the United Kingdom. His photographic work is exhibited internationally, and he is a regular contributor of photography, articles, essays and interviews to a a wide variety of publications including Aperture, Foam, Photoworks, HotShoe International, The British Journal of Photography, ArtReview, Modern Painters, 1000Words, The Guardian, The Telegraph and The Sunday Times. In 2004, Schuman founded the online photography journal, SeeSaw Magazine ( www.seesawmagazine.com ), which is dedicated to presenting the best in contemporary photography, having taking inspiration from Walker Evans’s statement, ‘[Photography] is the capture an projection of the delights of seeing; it is the defining of observation full and felt.’ In recent years, Schuman has curated several exhibitions, including ‘Whatever Was Splendid: New American Photographs’, one of the principal exhibitions at the FotoFest Biennial 2010; he is also a Senior Lecturer at the Arts University College Bournemouth and the University of Brighton. For more information, please visit: www.aaronschuman.com