Rotterdam Photo 2023 — Selections
Rotterdam Photo is an independent photography fair with festival vibes that takes place during the Art Rotterdam Week. The city of Rotterdam is well known for having the largest seaport in Europe and a major harbour. Inspired by its history and in order to escape the settled exhibition model of “the white cube”, Rotterdam Photo offers alternative exhibition spaces inside over 60 shipping containers where visitors can meet directly with the artists and attend live music events, talks, workshops, and many other collateral activities.
The main theme for this year was Freedom Redefined inspired by the COVID-19 crisis and all the emotions that have generated: isolation, the rise of mental health issues in younger generations, fear, dreams and uncertainty.
With a strong background in performance and film, LA based artist and creative director Mad Harper works mainly for brands and marketing campaigns. The image which was caught from a lower point of view, shows two blue legs dangling from a ledge. The shadow produced is reflected on a large print of the sky. The whole image shows Mad’s capacity to create immersive environments and generate visual impacts on the viewers.
Laura Pannack is renowned for her portraiture and social documentary work. In this enigmatic image she presents a young girl eating directly from a jar with a wide open eye drawn in her forehead. The decision of placing the focal point on the girl’s face accentuates her expressive look, creating an uncomfortable atmosphere and an active dialogue between the viewer and the unknown.
Tension is a constant topic in Ekaterina Ezhingel’s practice. This is due to her interest in finding more about herself and her belonging place. In this image, one can feel this tension by looking at the pressure and tightness of the feet, the amalgamation of bended legs and ultimately the nearly monochromy of the image where these sorts of mutations are placed.
What does it mean “to be free”? This question is essential for Sonja Trabandt’s visual investigation. The artist identifies freedom as an illusion, as a constant awareness of the limitations that people are subjected to. The series explores this illusion through emotional states and environments that cause them.
In the past years, South Korea has gained an important global exposure and its fast-paced technological development has drawn a lot of attention from everyone around the world. Despite this exciting profile, Korean society is still quite conservative. Fearless Flowers is a two-year project by Marcin T. Jozefiak where he studied the relationships, fights and struggles that people have with their bodies. A respectful and beautiful metaphor about acceptance, vulnerability and humanity.
Berlin-based artist and photographer Ute Klein showcased her recent work Triaden where she challenges our perception of images and interpersonal relationships. A sequence of images of twisted and flexed bodies reveal the complexities of love and the ambiguity of feelings. Sometimes simple, others more intricate, the bodies perform as a metaphor of the emotional connections between human beings.
Heavy Hearts echoes the insecurities of a generation. In a world where things seem to go worse every day, these series show the possibility of rethinking weaknesses and confronting them. Younger generations, even if they have to deal with a stronger social pressure, they proved themselves to be able to push boundaries of freedom and self-love in a way older generations couldn’t. Isabella Melis reflects the numerous ways of self expression and feelings of her peers, the endless potential of a whole generation.
Anna Rogneby photographs of ordinary scenes and portraits point out to different emotional states associated with stress, overthinking and anxiety. Her images, calm but also dark and sometimes unpleasant, come from an introspection from the artist who placed herself as a starting point for this project. For Anna it is really important to expose these issues and try to understand their rise and consequences.
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Juan Blasco — Founder & Curator of Conceptual Projects