Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2023

The four shortlisted artists are: Bieke Depoorter, Samuel Fosso, Arthur Jafa and Frida Orupabo.

From blurring the relationship between photographer and subject and unpicking the ethics of being a photographer, to exploring gender and sexuality, violence, injustice and the Black experience, this year’s shortlisted artists all push the boundaries of photography and exemplify its resonance and relevance as a cultural force today.

The annual exhibition of shortlisted projects will be on show at The Photographers’ Gallery, London, from 3 March – 11 June 2023.

The winner of the £30,000 Prize will be announced at an award ceremony held at The Photographers’ Gallery on 11 May 2023, with the other finalists each receiving £5,000. Full details on the Prize exhibition and award evening will be announced in early 2023.

Jury

This year’s Jury are: Thyago Nogueria, Head of Contemporary Photography at Instituto Moreira Salles, São Paulo; Natalie Herschdorfer, Director of Photo Elysee, Lausanne; Mahtab Hussain, artist; Anne-Marie Beckmann, Director of Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation, Frankfurt/Main, and Brett Rogers, OBE, Director of The Photographers’ Gallery, London, as voting chair.

 

Bieke Depoorter, Agata Paris, France, November 2, 2017 © Bieke Depoorter/ Magnum Photos (in collaboration with Agata Kay) Courtesy of the artist

Bieke Depoorter

Bieke Depoorter has been shortlisted for her exhibition “A Chance Encounter” at C/O Berlin (30 April – 7 September 2022).

In an exhibition of installations, projections, film and photography, Bieke Depoorter (b. 1986, Kortrijk, Belgium) blurs the traditional relationship between photographer and subject. The exhibition presents two unfolding, ongoing, bodies of work, “Agata” and “Michael”. Here, a chance encounter develops into an enduring personal relationship and, thereafter, into an interrogation of the medium. In “Michael”, Depoorter examines the life and the disappearance of a man she met on the streets of Portland, Oregon, in 2015. Gifted three suitcases of Michael’s personal items, sketchbooks and essays, Michael’s subsequent disappearance turns Depoorter detective. The exhibition documents Depoorter’s immersive, perhaps obsessive, quest to find Michael and to understand his life. In “Agata”, both as an exhibition and a self-published book, a first meeting in a Parisian strip-club in 2017 evolves with complex tension into an exercise in collaboration. Here the images and words of Agata Kay are in taut dialogue with Depoorter’s images and letters. They offer not conclusions or endings but a living visual changing narrative that explores concepts of authentic versus performative identity; the potential impossibility of truth in representation; artistic authorship; photographic ethics; the responsibilities of the photographer; personal boundaries; and the limits of a creative friendship.

Samuel Fosso Autoportrait, from the Series 70’s Lifestyle, 1976 © Samuel Fosso Courtesy of the artist and JM Patras, Paris

Samuel Fosso

Samuel Fosso has been shortlisted for his exhibition “Samuel Fosso” at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris (10 November 2021 – 13 March 2022). 

Since the mid-1970s, Samuel Fosso (b. 1962, Kumba, Cameroon) has dedicated his artistic practice to self-portraits and performative photography. Fosso’s retrospective exhibition traces a career of almost 50 years and comprises more than 300 prints.  The exhibition brings together iconic series, lesser-known works, as well as archival material and previously unpublished images, displayed principally in large-scale ensembles. Born in Kumba, Cameroon, and raised in Nigeria, Fosso fled the Biafran War as a young boy, and in 1972 was taken in by an uncle in Bangui in the Central African Republic. In 1975, at the age of thirteen, Fosso opened his Studio Photo Nationale. Alongside commercial work, Fosso immediately began a series of self-portraits – a mode of representation he has never abandoned. Playing the role of key historical figures and social archetypes in front of the camera, Fosso embodies a powerful way of existing in the world, and a vivid demonstration of photography’s role in the construction of myths.

Arthur Jafa: LIVE EVIL, LUMA Arles, France April 14 – November 14, 2022 © Arthur Jafa Courtesy of the artist, LUMA Arles, and Gladstone Gallery. Photography by Andrea Rossetti

Arthur Jafa

Arthur Jafa has been shortlisted for his exhibition “Live Evil” at Luma, Arles (14 April – 13 November 2022).

Arthur Jafa (b. 1960, Tupelo, USA) is an artist and filmmaker. Nominated for the largest and most comprehensive exhibition of his work to date, Jafa draws upon a substantial archive of film and still images, creating visceral, dynamic films and room-sized installations.In the gallery space and on the screen, Jafa derives power from astute juxtaposition and lyrical, syncopated editing. Here the role of his personal archive and his instinct as a collector of images comes to the fore. Since the 1980s, Jafa has been accumulating and assembling pictures from books and magazines, arranging this imagery in new constellations within notebooks and latterly within dynamic artworks. For ready-made moving images, YouTube remains a favourite resource, alongside news footage and home video. It is by placing one resonant cultural artefact next to another that Jafa references and questions the universal and specific articulations of Black experience. Eschewing a linear narrative, Jafa organises his material through formal and affective associations, linking his images through visual resemblance or thematic resonance. In this way, Jafa aspires to an art that harnesses “the power, beauty, and alienation of Black music.”

 

Frida Orupabo A lil help, 2021 © Frida Orupabo Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Nordenhake, Berlin, Stockholm, Mexico City

Frida Orupabo

Frida Orupabo has been shortlisted for her exhibition “I have seen a million pictures of my face and still I have no idea”, at Fotomuseum Winterthur (26 February – 29 May 2022).

The sculptural collages and digital works of Frida Orupabo (b. 1986, Sarpsborg, Norway) are multi-layered formations, exploring questions of race, sexuality and identity. Orupabo, a Norwegian Nigerian artist and sociologist, grounds her inquiry in her own experience of cultural belonging. Utilising visual material circulating online, spanning colonial-era photographs and ethnographic relics to contemporary imagery, Orupabo’s hand-wrought works re-arrange and re-make the archive. The resulting images take the shape of fragmented Black, mostly female-bodied, figures. These figures, first dislocated, are reassembled layer by layer in a complex and poetic manoeuvre that simultaneously denounces one-dimensional depictions of Black lives. Orupabo bestows complexity, ambivalence and contradiction. Her collaged cut-outs hold our gaze and invite various readings of the stories and lives of the people depicted, many of whom are entirely absent from the archives. In this way Orupabo invites a consideration of how photography significantly contributes to the formation and perpetuation of colonial power relations and violence.