I was invited to present a project at the Winterthur Fotomuseum Plat[t]form 2014 event.
During a weekend, a group of selected artists show their work to a group of experts, while general public can freely walk around and have a look too.
Each artist has a set of tables on which they display whatever they want to show. Some people display prints, other have books, monitors, ipads, objects, or all of these together. Many are giving brochures, info sheets or simply cards, so the viewer and potential client can take something with them to remember and consider when planning a festival or an exhibition, be it in a commercial gallery or an institution. Basically it’s like a temporary market, where artists show their best and have the chance to carefully explain their work and plans to people who are usually too busy to see emergent artist’s works.
Tiago Casanova presenting to Simon Baker, Shirana Shahbazi, Laurence Vecten and Duncan Forbes
This is not a portfolio review like the ones we are all already tired to see. Wether you are showing your stuff or seeing other people’s things, portfolio reviews happen too fast, and the best you can get or give is a tap on a shoulder, a contact card and a polite smile.
Instead, the Plat[t]form model allows each artist 2 hours to show artwork and be very specific about what they want and need. The reviewers will spend enough time, and will see more than a box full of pictures. All the artists I’ve seen there –including myself- had carefully prepared their presentations. Our speeches were concise and straight. I clearly stated that I have translated The Pigs into an exhibition, and I am looking for the right institution or gallery to produce and show it. I have many other goals in life, but in that context this was the one I needed to talk about.
Xiaoxiao Xu (CH)
I made good friends with the Osservatorio Fotografico team – Silvia Loddo and Cesare Fabbri- from Ravenna, Italy. I finally met Max Pinckers and we swapped books. My “first friend” around was amazing artist Charlie Koolhaas, who was Morten Barker “first friend”. Morten presented his work in a way I won't forget. I also met Tiago Casanova, Mathieu Asselin, and other artists. I will spare you the polite-listing. There were also people I didn’t even exchanged a word with, mainly unpurposedly. Everybody was quite busy seeing other people’s work and preparing their presentations.
Ravenna Postacrds by Osservatorio Fotografico (Moira Ricci)
My presentation was apparently not too bad. I got one of the 7 mentions, which means I have a star on Plat(t) form website. I don’t know any serious photographer or artist working for medals or badges, but it was funny to speculate about this sort of student-like hope.
Plat[t]form reviewing model is very interesting, because it’s a curated event. Artists showing their work have previousy been nominated by trusted people in the photography world oll around the globe, and then only a part of those nominated get access to it. So whatever you see in Plat[f]form has a minimum of quality and prefessionalism. You won’t find many weekend artists, or the extremely young students, there. You’ll find people who have already published books, had exhibitions, but want to give a step forward.
Max Pinckers autoportrait in his "The Fourth Wall" book.
The other striking thing is that there is actual public there! People from Winterthur and Zürich go the Fotomuseum and see what’s going on. It’s not just the usual photographers and their friends. It’s everybody and their sons. And I just love to see non related-people watching art and asking about it.
Mathieu Asselin - shooting "Monsanto a photographic investigation."
One can never know if after the talking comes the making, but you do know for sure that you had the chance to say yours to a very qualified audience. After all, this job is a lot about seeding, leaving traces, and hoping that the sun comes after the rain so the work ends up blooming.
Milou Abel (NL)
Duarte Amaral Netto (PT)
Mathieu Asselin (FR)
Phillip Aumann (DE)
Morten Barker (DK)
Máté Bartha (HU)
Sara Bjarland (FI)
Justine Blau (LU)
Sarah Carlier (BE)
Tiago Casanova (PT) *
Yves Drillet (FR)
Cédric Eisenring (CH)
Robert Ellis (IE)
Krisztina Erdei (HU)
Michael Etzensperger (CH)
Anna Fabricius (HU)
Julie Goergen (LU)
Adrien Guillet (FR)
Annabel Hesselink (NL)
Viivi Huuska (FI)
Sophie Jung (LU)
Charlie Koolhaas (NL)
Joëlle Lehmann (CH)
Osservatorio Fotografico (Silvia Loddo & Cesare Fabbri/IT)
Tom Lovelace (UK)
Sara-Lena Maierhofer (DE)
Theo Michael (GR)
Benjamin Mouly (FR)
Sabine Niggemann (DE)
Hannah Perry (UK) *
Max Pinckers (BE) *
Stef Renard (BE)
Sevim Sancaktar (TR)
Theo Simpson (UK) *
Carlos Spottorno (E) *
Sebastian Stadler (CH) *
Andrzej Steinbach (DE)
Sutercaputo (Linda Suter & Paola Caputo/CH)
Anna-Stina Treumund (EE)
Stuart Whipps (UK)
Xiaoxiao Xu (CN/NL) *
The primary experts:
Simon Baker, Curator of Photography, Tate Modern, London;
Karol Hordziej, artistic director, Photomonth Krakow;
Shirana Shahbazi, artist, Zurich;
Laurence Vecten, collector, photoblogger and publisher of photobook, Paris;
Pro Helvetia Guests Plat(t)form 2014:
Arnis Balcus, Riga Photo Month Latvia
Pablo Bartholomew, photographer, New Delhi, India
Maha Maamoun, The Contemporary Image Collective, Cairo, Egypt
Thyago Nogueira, ZUM Magazine, São Paulo, Brazil
Duan Yuting, Lainzhou Photo Festival, China.