As the uncertainty surrounding Covid-19 is not diminishing Photo London has decided, following extensive consultation with stakeholders, that the best way to create the outstanding platform we envisaged for their exhibitors is to move the October Fair online as part of the Fair's ongoing digital programme. Working with the online Fair partner Arts, Photo London aims to create a successful online event for exhibitors, collectors and partners.
Photo London will also continue working with Nikon and long term partners the FT and Arts Council England (ACE), to build on the success of Photo London Digital - an exciting platform that will support the online Fair and enrich the audience experience with a year-round programme of gallery support - talks, live events and magazine - via the Photo London Academy.
The online Fair and Photo London Digital will be an important bridge to the next physical edition of the Fair that will be...held at Somerset House between 13–16 May, with a VIP preview on 12 May. Applications for the sixth edition will be live in early September.
Further to the announcement that, as a consequence of the global health emergency, Photo London 2020 would be rescheduled to a date in the autumn, the Fair unveils the new dates and venue of its sixth edition.
Photo London 2020 will take place from 7–11 October at Gray's Inn Gardens, London, with a VIP preview on the evening of 6 October.
Gray's Inn Gardens is a historical site and one of the largest privately owned gardens in London. The Gardens are located close to Holborn Station and just a short journey from Somerset House and Frieze Art Fair, which will take place that same week in October.
Photo London hopes to return to Somerset House in 2021 and has decided to move its sixth edition to a new venue in agreement with the arts centre, which sadly is hosting another event that week.
The choice to use Gray's Inn Gardens was driven by Photo London's determination to find an equally iconic and well-placed location that would also allow staging a large-scale event in a controlled and safe way. The new site will see the Fair located on one level with a single entrance and exit. Thanks to this tightly monitored access, Photo London will take place safely, in respect of social distancing rules imposed by the government in response to the current global pandemic.
Michael Benson & Fariba Farshad, Founders of Photo London, commented: "When earlier this year, we took the inevitable decision to reschedule Photo London, we set ourselves the goal of delivering an alternative plan for this year's Fair no later than mid-May.
This has not been an easy task. However, we felt very strongly that we owed it to our exhibitors and the artists who have supported us over the past five years to try to find the best possible solution. So, with cautious optimism, we are delighted to be able to report that the sixth edition of Photo London will now take place between 7-11 October at a new location, Gray's Inn Gardens. As a private venue, the Gardens will allow us to achieve a far higher level of social distancing than would normally be possible. We are incredibly grateful to the Mayor of London's Office and the team at Somerset House who have been instrumental in helping us secure this outstanding new location.
Throughout this process, we have consulted widely with art world professionals and a host of other advisers. The message that kept coming back through these discussions is that, while no one is under any illusion about the challenges we face, we should hold fast to the idea of staging a Fair as soon as it could take place safely and successfully. From this point of view, it is encouraging to see auction houses, galleries and museums across Europe making their first tentative preparations for a resumption of activities."
Timothy Persons, founder and co-director of Persons Projects / Helsinki School, Berlin, commented: “Persons Projects/ Helsinki School is overwhelmed by the new opportunity Photo London now offers us with its new date, place and chance to be one of the first fairs to realistically welcome in the autumn season.”
Mirjam Cavegn, Founder of BILDHALLE, Zurich, commented: “Photo London is an important fair for us. We love the atmosphere, the quality of exhibitors and the team of the fair. No matter where and when the fair takes place, we will be there. We are so happy to be back in business and meet collectors on an international platform that we do not shy away from any effort. Let’s move forward and share our treasures with an international group of photography lovers.”
Photo London remains committed to celebrating the work of this year’s Master of Photography, Shirin Neshat, with a dedicated exhibition that will open during the week of the Fair and will run for three weeks.
While the Photo London team looks forward to a safe and strong 2020 edition in October, it has in the meantime pushed forward the launch of the Photo London Academy, with the support of Arts Council England. This free online resource acts as a virtual gateway into the lives of photographers around the world via different elements:
The Talks Archive, which gives access to the video recordings of the world-class panels and talks held at Photo London over the past five years, including conversations with Sebastiao Salgado, Hannah Starkey, Don McCullin, Liz Johnson Artur, Stephen Shore, Susan Meiselas, Vera Lutter, Miles Aldridge, Mary McCartney, Erik Madigan Heck and Juergen Teller. New talks are published daily, Monday to Friday.
Photo London's recently launched digital magazine. Each issue is built in the spirit of an artist's photo book and spotlights the creative processes and artworks of our selected guest contributors. The magazine focuses on personal anecdotes, stories and behind-the-scenes materials, typically those unseen on the main stage of physical art fairs and exhibitions. Issue 01 focuses on the 2018 Master of Photography, Edward Burtynsky. Following issues will be dedicated to leading UK conceptual photographer Clare Strand, Professor Sarah Kenderdine, a renowned expert in experimental museology, as well as the 2020 Master of Photography, Shirin Neshat.
* Photo London has announced that the sixth edition of the Fair, due to take place at Somerset House between 14–17 May, will be rescheduled to early autumn to safeguard public health. Photo London’s founders, Fariba Farshad and Michael Benson explained why this has been a very difficult decision to make.
‘For the past few weeks, we have been monitoring the gathering storm around the COVID-19 outbreak. Although it seemed for a while that we might be able to run the Fair as planned, the safety and well-being of our exhibitors, artists, staff, suppliers and visitors from around the world is paramount. We had a great edition in prospect, but this has now become an irrelevance in the face of public health and our responsibility to adhere to the latest government advice, as well as the logistical challenges of international travel. We have taken this decision because we simply must do all that we can to keep people safe. There is nothing more important than that.
No one quite knows when the virus will have run its course, and having weighed the opinions of various experts, we have decided to move the Fair to a date in the early autumn. To that end, we are in discussions with the team at Somerset House and we hope to make a more detailed announcement in the coming days about our plans for this sixth edition of the Fair.
In the meantime, we would urge everyone to stay safe and stay well. These are difficult and unprecedented times, but they will pass, and when they do, we look forward to welcoming everyone back to Photo London.’
Photo London is delighted to announce the details of its sixth edition, which will feature a total of 109 exhibitors showing the best of international photography in the spectacular neoclassical architecture of Somerset House, where the term ‘photography’ was first coined by Sir John Hershel, the Astronomer Royal, in 1839. To date the Fair’s Curatorial Committee has confirmed 94 exhibitors from 22 countries and is carefully considering the last applicants who could further strengthen the Fair’s offer.
Michael Benson and Fariba Farshad Founders of Photo London said: ‘We are enormously grateful to our Curatorial Committee for urging us to take time and great care over the curation of this year’s Fair. This has paid dividends. The exhibitor list already has great strength and depth and it gets stronger by the day. We are also delighted to be able to champion the work of so many outstanding women photographers including, of course, our sixth Master of Photography, Shirin Neshat.’
This year, Photo London consolidates its commitment to showing the best historic and vintage photography together with a focus on future directions in photography. This is particularly evident in the development of an exciting group of young galleries, many of whom – such as Black Box Projects, Webber and MMX Gallery— have previously exhibited in the Discoveries section and will now exhibit for the first time in the main section of Photo London.
Roderick van der Lee, Director of Photo London, stated: ‘I am proud to see that this year’s expanded curatorial focus and close dialogue with exhibitors has resulted in such exceptionally strong and considered presentations. Booths exploring either the depth of a single theme, the boundaries of photographic process and material, or the scope of a single artist or time-frame are complimented by an increased institutional presence at the fair in the form of exhibitions and a professional curators symposium. All in all, I think the coming of age of photography is beautifully reflected in this year’s edition of Photo London.’
The exhibitors selection reflects Photo London’s strong curatorial focus and the Fair’s ultimate mission to promote excellence in photography.
Under the chairmanship of Philippe Garner, the Fair’s Curatorial Committee has played a crucial part in guiding conversations with exhibitors. This open dialogue with exhibitors has resulted in a series of strong themed booths, including Bastian (London) gallery’s presentation of Polaroid works from legendary artists Andy Warhol, Cy Twombly and cinematographer Wim Wenders; and Prahlad Bubbar’s (London) juxtaposition of unique 19th century with 21st century prints of architecture in India.
Several exhibitors feature artists who will also be presented in major London exhibitions this spring. They include Zanele Muholi at Autograph (London) who will feature in a major exhibition at Tate. Also, Karen Knorr at Sundaram Tagore Gallery (Singapore, NYC, Hong Kong) and Karlheinz Weinberger at Galerie Esther Woerdehoff (Paris) are among the group of photographers taking part in Barbican’s monumental Masculinities exhibition.
This year there is again a significant emphasis on solo presentations in both the Discovery section and the main section. In the main section, these include Miles Aldridge at Christophe Guye Galerie (Zurich); Todd Hido at Reflex Amsterdam; Delphine Diallo at Fisheye Gallery (Paris); Guido Guidi at Large Glass (London); Ralph Ziman at The Rendon Gallery (L.A.); Hsu Ching-Yuan at galerie_frédéric moisan (Paris) and Margaret Courtney-Clarke SMAC Gallery (Cape Town;Johannesburg; Stellenbosch). In the Discovery section solo presentations include Alastair Whitton at Black Box Publishing (Cape Town) and Sebastian Cramer at GUDBERG NERGER (Hamburg).
Photo London 2020 welcomes back many regular exhibitors to the main section, including Flowers Gallery (London, celebrating their 50th anniversary), Michael Hoppen Gallery (London), Galerie Johannes Faber (Vienna), Sundaram Tagore Gallery, Persons Projects (Berlin), Peter Fetterman Gallery (Santa Monica), Akio Nagasawa Gallery (Tokyo) and Robert Hershkowitz Ltd. (U.K.).
In addition, the Fair welcomes a strong selection of new and international exhibitors including Autograph, FLATLAND GALLERY (Amsterdam), Joerg Maass Kunsthandel (Berlin), Miyako Yoshinaga (New York), Nicholas Metivier (Toronto), Prahlad Bubbar, Richard Saltoun Gallery (London), Vision Neil Folberg Gallery (Jerusalem) and Gabriel Wickbold Gallery (São Paulo).
In the Discovery section, returning exhibitors such as EQUINOM Gallery (San Francisco), A.I. gallery (London), UP Gallery (Hsinchu, Taiwan) and Sid Motion Gallery (London) are joined by a number of exciting new young initiatives showcasing the next generation of artists who are working to push the boundaries of photography still further, including Szena Gallery (Moscow) showing Igor Samolet; Vanessa Vainio (London) showing the sculptural work of Josefina Nelimarkka; Versus Art Project (Istanbul); Galeria Aura (São Paulo) bringing Julia Milward, Paula Scamparini and Renato Custodio; and Galerie Zielinsky (Barcelona) showing works by João Farkas, Romy Pocztaruk, Leonardo Finotti.
As a new addition to the Discovery section, Photo London has created an informal space to meet and network within the fair. This year, the space will host the inaugural event of Photoworks’ (Brighton) 25th anniversary programme – a special exhibition celebrating Photoworks Annual magazine and interrogating the institution’s archive.
With exhibitors from Austria, Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Taiwan, Turkey, United Kingdom and the U.S., Photo London retains its global perspective.
Master of Photography
Photo London is delighted to present the 2020 Master of Photography Award to the Iranian artist Shirin Neshat (b. 1957, Qazvin, Iran). The award is given annually to a leading contemporary photographer who is the subject of a special exhibition at the fair.
Over the past three decades, working across photography, video and cinema, Neshat has dedicated her practice to an understanding of the religious and political forces of power that have shaped Iranian and other Islamic cultures. Her art centers on the contrasts between Islam and the West, femininity and masculinity, public life and private life, antiquity and modernity, and bridging the spaces between these subjects.
At Photo London, Neshat presents for the first time in the UK the photographic series ‘The Home of My Eyes’ (2015), recently on view at The Broad in Los Angeles as part of the artist’s major retrospective. The 55 intimate, close-up portraits in this series represent a shift in Neshat’s practice, as they depart from works that focus primarily on her Iranian society and instead reflect on other cultures. Portraying the diverse people of Azerbaijan, the artist conceived of the series as “a portrait of a country that for so long has been a crossroads of many different ethnicities, religions, and languages.” Additionally, Neshat calligraphically inscribed the portraits, using the graphic element of the text – recurrent in her photographs – to report the subjects’ individual opinions on cultural identity and the concept of home.
The exhibition also includes the film ‘Roja’ (2015) where Neshat – employing a surrealist lens and nonlinear narrative – reflects on her own experience of living in the foreign culture of the United States, tracing an Iranian woman’s nostalgia for her homeland.
In addition, Neshat presents a site-specific photo installation, comprised of a collection of her unseen mood books, studies and finished photographs.
In a first for Photo London, the Master of Photography exhibition will be extended beyond the fair days until the 21st of June.
As part of the Photo London Talks Programme Shirin Neshat will be in conversation with Yasufumi Nakamori, Tate Modern's Senior Curator of International Photography, on Thursday, 14 May. The exhibition ‘Shirin Neshat: Land of Dreams’ is on view at Goodman Gallery, London, until 28 March.