Despite the fact that people were still trying to recover from Frieze Seoul and The Armory Show, Europe could not finish September without Unseen. The Dutch capital got ready to host 65 exhibitors, taking into account only the main fair. This was in addition to another 60 national and international publishers at its Bookmarket. A must-attend event for all photography lovers in all its formats.
I must say that there was a lot of buzz around this year’s edition on social media. And in some way, it felt more like a gathering than a purely commercial fair. The independent publishing book fair, the programme and the side events definitely contributed to this perception. Overall, I found that Unseen still retains that youthful essence that makes the whole event less formal, and to see this from one of the biggest art fairs in the Netherlands, makes it very attractive to the new generation of collectors.
It would be interesting to see if they can keep this vibe for the next edition!
Like a post-apocalyptic scene, Oasis by Venezuelan artist Suwon Lee sums up her perception of the magnitude of nature and the role of humans within it. A pile of plants in pots stand on a seemingly abandoned plain. In the distance the foggy mountain chain rises up. The proportions of nature are presented simultaneously in the same frame. Lee masters the way of showing the unbalanced differences between human-made nature and the real environment. The vulnerability of the human being is evident in each of her images, which are based on a self-referential and meditative approach to landscape.
Dafna Talmor’s compositions have been attracting my attention for quite some time. There is something fascinating in the way she treats the images from the negatives and how she rescales them to achieve a much more striking effect on the viewer. By leaving out all traces of human presence, her works are fundamentally focused on the presence of the landscape. A constructed landscape. Dafna has been experimenting with collage and negatives throughout her career, which has led her to create these works that challenge traditional views of nature.
The act of looking as a theme has been fundamental, not only for photographers, but also for painters and sculptors throughout art history. For Eli Craven, the way people look at their surroundings plays an important role, as it helps her to examine human behaviour related to the forbidden, the hidden, or even the erotic nature of the images. Built out of found materials, Soap Opera #1 encompasses these concepts Craven works with and the sensations generated between viewer and spectator.
Based on an in-depth analysis of the techniques involved in the photographic process, Máté Dobokay produces these silver plates which spark abstractions caused by chemical solutions. In a very direct way, his works reveal the raw materials and physical reactions inherent to photographic techniques, but without using paper as medium. These different chemical reactions create random compositions, offering an abstract image which is linked to a practice that has been historically characterised by figuration.
Beautifully printed on wood, this precious work by Eva Faché was made after her residency in a small Greenlandic village in 2021. In this two-month residency, she realised how difficult it was for her to break barriers with villagers. Her role as a tourist forced her to be much more self-critical, to try to build stronger relationships with people in small communities and to better understand their history and how climate change was directly affecting their continuity. The whole series explores the cultural complexities of a small area of 28 inhabitants semi isolated from urban areas, where environmental problems are increasing.
From the comfort of her studio, Femke Dekkers works with space, treating it as a canvas. Without repositioning her camera, she arranges the scene to frame it and create these seemingly abstract images. Through the use of common materials such as wood, paper or fabrics, Femke looks for lines and patterns to balance her compositions. In her works there is a clear intention to further explore the perspective and its connection to architecture.