Amsterdam will soon open its eyes to the—already—sixth edition of Unseen Festival, which welcomes the work of more than 130 photographers to delight your senses. Layers of colourful, black and white, blurry, and clearly defined shapes and objects will be covering the walls of Westergasfabriek as well as other spots all over the city. Of course Glamcult couldn’t stay behind, so here’s a small bite of the visual candyland that’s just around the corner!
Glamcult regular Barrie Hullegie brings to De School an exhibition presented by yours truly. As the exhibition title suggests, the photographer, fascinated by coming of age, presents a set of images that approach masculinity as a pluralistic identity rather than as a fixed one. Being so, masculinity becomes performative—a performance that is defined by each individual that considers himself (or herself) masculine. In this exhibition, expect raw and physical fashion images through which Barrie studies bodies and their connotations.
Juno walks into a hotel room. As she closes the door and her front stage—as Goffman calls the presentation of the self in everyday life—vanishes, her alter-ego Joyce emerges to contest the overtly constructed image of female sensuality that is juxtaposed with male company. Lonely in her hotel room, Joyce becomes the seductive secret of a woman whose desire and disappointment lead to find herself absorbed by her own reflection. Juno, or Joyce, then turns into her own fantasy withdrawn from the forces driving any social encounter. At Unseen, expect Juno to take you on a solo honeymoon adventure.
Tokyo Rumando photographs her nude self-portraits that assure us that self-liberation comes from getting closer to the skin—underneath the make-up and clothes that, in the end, constitute a daily mask. Thus, Rumando uses her body to produce her own vision of sexuality and intimacy. She presents a work that challenges the meaning of identity as it embodies two images: one of herself standing in front of the mirror, and another reflected in the mirror that symbolises her memories. Together the two—body and mind—compose a whole. The display of both herself and a moment reflected in the mirror appeal to the lack of chronological borders between past, present and future, which come together all at once in her uncanny work.
Cape Town-based photographer Kyle Weeks brings to Unseen his most recent work Palm Wine Collectors, a project that displays a Namibian tradition that is still carried out to this day. In doing so, Kyle engages with the roots of identity and modern politics, being that palm wine collection is nowadays forbidden, yet, essential to Namibian indigenous people. Thus, Kyle portrays the discrepancy between the traditional world versus modernity and its corresponding laws, which act as a force that advocates for a homogenous culture. Likewise, Kyle plays with the ability to shape and preserve identity through photography.
Mexican photographer Sofia Ayarzagoitia links art and daily life through her work, which is based on an empathetic relationship to her subjects and the actions they carry out in front of her camera. However, apart from what the nature of her relation to her subjects might be, Sofia’s work has that “I don’t know what I’m looking at”—but it’s captivating: her photographs come across as worldly and lively, and as an aperitif that leaves us with eyes wide open searching for more of her work. All we have to say is make sure you don’t miss her at Unseen.
Austrian artist Thomas Albdorf isn’t afraid of altering the physical reality that is right in front of us. Meaning that, as reflected in his projects, he is willing to challenge the perception we have of the material world. Amongst his visual games, Thomas offers images that are not necessarily rooted in reality—a sort of analogy to the digital world that makes it possible to be in places in which we are not. The artist questions what is ‘real’ and what is not by presenting a series produced with the help of networks, asking us to reshape and rethink the visual experience of photography.