International Photography Prize 2016


Exhibition of the winner of the International Photography Prize 2016.

6 March – 8 May, 2016

The International Photography Prize will be awarded every two years to a living photographer of renowned fame, whose artistic research has made a significant contribution to the development of the culture of contemporary imagery and its multiple declinations.

In this first edition, dedicated to “Identity”, the jury was made up of Christine Frisinghelli (founder of Camera Austria), Shinji Kohmoto (founder of the Parasophia Festival in Kyoto), Simon Njami (co-founder of Revue Noir), Thyago Nogueira (head of the Photography department at the Instituto Moreira Salles, Brazil) and Filippo Maggia (director of the Fondazione Fotografia in Modena).

The six finalists of the International Photography Prize 2016 are:

Claudia Andujar (1931, Neuchâtel, Switzerland), a Swiss artist, Brazilian by adoption, who has dedicated her entire life to documenting and providing visibility to the Yanomami community, a population that lives in the heart of Amazonia. Sidestepping a merely anthropological approach, the artist has managed to grasp the richness and profound spirituality in the lives of these people, making her work available for the promotion of this important cause for the recognition and defence of their community.

Rineke Dijkstra (1959, Sittard, the Netherlands), for her fundamental contribution to the debate on identity, a theme which the Dutch artist has studied through various generations, from the world of childhood to that of adults, from the private and intimate dimension of the home to the discotheque, and from still imagery to video. Over more than 15 years, her work has achieved classic status in portrait photography and today constitutes a fundamental point of reference for anyone approaching this genre.

Jim Goldberg (1953, New Haven, USA), for his pioneering approach with which he has declined documentary photography and for the major contribution made to the construction of a social history of photography. Goldberg has always placed the relationship between the photographer and his subject centre stage, limiting the authorship of the artist and involving the subject directly in the production of the works with texts, comments and selfies, shifting from personal friendships and his family to social situations, dealing with both marginalised groups and hot social issues.

Santu Mofokeng (1956, Johannesburg, South Africa), for his tireless commitment to portraying the reality of his country, recounting everyday life from the era of Apartheid right up to the present day. Dealing with a range of different themes and drawing on various approaches to photography itself, he has maintained the issue of black identity and integration between various communities as a key focus point of all his work, thereby creating an extremely coherent corpus of works, a fine example of the capacity of images to serve as visual narratives.

Yasumasa Morimura (1951, Osaka, Japan), a leading figure in international art who ever since the 1990s has placed the theme of identity at the heart of his research, revisiting the key faces and icons of the 20th century, from the history of art through to Pop culture. The transformism with which he interprets and restages the cult images of the last century in his self-portraits says a lot about our relationship with history and the link between East and West.

Zanele Muholi (1972, Durban, South Africa), a young South African activist and artist who has made her work a spearhead for the establishment and defence of the rights of the black homosexual community, both in her own country and beyond. For Muholi photography and the issue of identity have an extremely political value: over the years she has put together an archive of portraits designed to map and maintain the visual history of her community, serving as a testimony for future generations.

The winner will be announced on the opening of the exhibition on Sunday 6th March 2016, at the Foro Boario in Modena.

“The International Photography Prize does not set out so much to celebrate artists,” explains Filippo Maggia, director of the Fondazione Fotografia Modena and head of the jury for the Prize, “as to insist on the importance of the language of contemporary imagery and therefore on the research which, every two years, best corresponds to the theme in question.” In this first edition, the name of the winner has been very hotly debated: “On one hand, we have artists who are very well known on an international level, widely appreciated and well established – Rineke Dijkstra and Yasumasa Morimura, for example – while on the other, we have artists who have spent their whole lives supporting major causes, like Claudia Andujar, with her 40 years of work among the Yanomami in Amazonia, or Zanele Muholi and her commitment to defending gender rights in South Africa; lastly, artists who had every right to emerge in other fields, and who by contaminating photography with practices from other disciplines – like Jim Goldberg – or having always remained independent from the arts system – like Santu Mofokeng – stand here as outsiders. This was the starting point for our discussion”. Maggia continues: “We all felt a great responsibility to identify a winner who not only reflected the given theme but who might also give a strong indication of what this Prize aims to become over the years: not just another prize like many others, but an example of quality. We have never really shared the notion of the ‘career achievement award’.”

Foro Boario Modena, Via Bono da Nonantola, 2

Wednesday – Friday 3 pm – 7 pm, Saturday – Sunday 11 am – 7 pm, admission € 5,00 / free on Wednesday