Acting as a barometer of contemporary photographic practice, the 2017 Foam Talent exhibition showcases 20 international artists, selected through an open call, to coincide with their Talent issue of Foam Magazine. Exploring both formal and technical innovations, and embracing work that stretches from installation, sculpture and durational process, the works on display are also characterised by an exploration of a diverse spectrum of political and social concerns.
The work of Vasantha Yogananthan, for example, looks at contemporary India through an epic multi-year project that traces the route of the Ramayana –a binding narrative for the sub-continent that spans the Himalayas to the South. Yogananthan uncovers the significance of the Ramayana in the very fabric and texture of the places and communities encountered. Similarly, the practice of Harit Srikhao looks at the deification of the monarchy in contemporary Thailand in a series of images that activate searing analysis of control, propaganda and corruption that have an international significance.
Wang Juyan’s pieces – which consist of large scale landscapes made of aerial photographs – are more lyrical in tone, but in its combination of micro and macro techniques, its beautiful suggestion of vintage photography, and the subtle depiction of shifting perspective, it too has a narrative that invokes the social realities of contemporary China. Meanwhile David de Beyter’s Big Bangers comprises ambitious installations that combine film and photography to document the phenomenon of the “crash aesthetic” of destruction as sport and entertainment, through the use of amateur shocks and compression techniques creates a mangled sculpture. Similarly, sculptural is the work of Mark Dorf, who makes 3-D photographic that explore ecology and the posthuman.
Aesthetically distinct, Namsa Leuba and Alix Marie use photography to explore, represent and manifest visceral ideas about the body and abjection. Sushant Chhabria makes subtle and distinctive fashion-oriented portraits in which her subjects are depicted against sensitively chosen pastel shades.
Other selected photographers include Sushant Chhabria, (India), Alinka Echeverría (Mexico/UK), Weronika Gęsicka, Poland, Thomas Kuijpers (The Netherlands), Quentin Lacombe (France), Clément Lambelet (Switzerland), Erik Madigan Heck (USA), Alix Marie (France), Martin Errichiello & Filippo Menichetti (Italy), Wang Nan (China), Kai Oh (South Korea), Viacheslav Poliakov (Ukraine), Ben Schonberger (USA), and Sadegh Souri (Iran).
Foam Talent runs from 1 September – 12 November at Foam Museum, Amsterdam. For more information: www.foam.org
1. The Promise by Vasantha Yogananthan.