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Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2022 shortlist announced

Release date: 18 Nov 2021 | Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation

Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2022 shortlist announced

The four artists shortlisted for the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2022 are Deana Lawson, Gilles Peress, Jo Ractliffe and Anastasia Samoylova. 

Originally established in 1996, the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation has been awarding this long-standing and influential annual prize in partnership with the Photographers’ Gallery in London since 2016. The prize identifies and rewards artists and projects considered to have made the most significant contribution to photography over the previous 12 months. Over its 26-year history, the prize has become renowned as one of the most important awards for photographers as well as a barometer of photographic development, foregrounding outstanding, innovative and thought-provoking work that pushes the boundaries of the medium and exemplifies its resonance and relevance as a cultural force.

This year’s shortlist is no exception, with each artist offering very distinctive approaches to visual storytelling, while collectively tackling some of the most urgent issues facing us today. Despite the difference in perspectives (generational, geographical, racial, cultural) and artistic strategies, each of the shortlisted artists show an acute awareness of their present context, of the burden of history, the problematics of legacy and language (visual or otherwise) and a responsibility to address their own position in relation to their subject matter.

The exhibition of the shortlisted projects will be on show at The Photographers’ Gallery, London from 25 March to 12 June 2022. The exhibition will then travel to the Deutsche Börse’s headquarters in Eschborn/Frankfurt and be on display from 30 June 2022.

The winner of the £30,000 prize will be announced at an award ceremony held at The Photographers’ Gallery on 12 May 2022 with the other finalists each receiving £5,000 – an increase from previous years when the award fund was £3,000 each.

Full details on the prize exhibition and award evening will be announced in 2022. 

The 2022 shortlisted artists and projects are:

Deana Lawson is shortlisted for her exhibition “Centropy” at Kunsthalle, Basel (9 June – 11 October 2020).

An exhibition of photographs, mostly large-scale and spanning 2013 – 2020, 16mm projections, rock crystals and holograms arrayed in a dense constellation, “Centropy” conveys immediacy and immanence. Deana Lawson (b. 1979, Rochester, New York) evokes the language of the vernacular family photo album and the art-historical masterwork in meticulously choreographed portraits that are at once familiar and painterly. The richly textured domestic settings are embellished with uncanny details; peeling wallpaper and tired couches, but also the destabilizing presence of devotional objects and what the artist refers to as ‘portals’. ‘I’m actually trying to image the mythic realm’, Lawson explains, ‘to use the person as a vehicle to represent an entity beyond what is actually present’.

Gilles Peress is shortlisted for the publication “Whatever You Say, Say Nothing”, published by Steidl, 2021.

Gilles Peress (b. 1946, Neuilly-sur-Seine, France) first travelled to Northern Ireland in the 1970s, after the reintroduction of internment in 1971, and prior to and during the Bloody Sunday massacre in 1972. He returned in the 1980s with the intention of describing everything as a way of testing the limits of visual language to record and understand the intractable conflict. The resulting publication, “Whatever You Say, Say Nothing”, is a work of monumental achievement and complexity. Across 2,000 pages, two volumes of images, and an accompanying almanac of contextual material, Peress presents a ‘documentary fiction’. A decade of photographs is organised across 22 ‘semi-fictional days’: Days of Struggle, Day of Internment, Double Cross Days, but also days where nothing happens ... boring days, days that never end. “Whatever You Say, Say Nothing” delineates the helicoidal structure of history, ‘where today is not only today but all the days like today’. It describes existence and experience in a space ritualised by recurring violence, while striving for the savage nature of photography that exists in the no man’s land beyond accepted forms.

Jo Ractliffe is shortlisted for her publication “Photographs 1980s – now”, published by Steidl/The Walther Collection, 2021.

For more than three decades, South African photographer Jo Ractliffe (b. 1961, Cape Town, South Africa) has trained her lens on the landscape of her homeland. Her nominated project is the comprehensive monograph “Photographs 1980s – now”, which comprises major photoessays, early works and newly published images, steeped in literary reference. Presented chronologically, and introduced by the artist’s direct, almost diaristic, texts, Ractliffe’s images bear witness to the complexities of a country scarified by the violence of Apartheid, as well as the aftermath of civil war in neighbouring Angola. These stark images are set apart from social documentary. Ractliffe is drawn to quiet poetics, not direct political address. Decommissioned military outposts, makeshift dwellings stalked by stray dogs; her distinctive visual language is marked by desolation and absence. As sites of massacre, forced removal and violence, these images are neither silent nor empty. A signature style is observed in “Photographs 1980s – now”, with favoured techniques, such as ‘filmstrip’-like sequences or photographing with plastic and toy cameras, used by Ractliffe to capture life – or its lack – on the open road. Though black-and-white images predominate, there are also important forays into colour photography and experiments with photomontage and video.

Anastasia Samoylova is shortlisted for her exhibition “FloodZone” at the Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow (8 June - 28 July 2021).

“FloodZone” is an expansive and ongoing photographic series, responding to environmental changes in America’s coastal cities, with a particular focus on Florida, where the artist has lived since 2016. Anastasia Samoylova (b. 1984, Moscow, Russia) finds herself between paradise and catastrophe, but her record of climate crisis is less inclined to direct reportage than lyrical evocation. The colour palette is tropical and pastel-pretty, but there is peril too – rot, wear and decay. Samoylova pays particular attention to the proliferation of aspirational imagery that forms the region’s official iconography, but which exists in stark contrast to the realities of encroaching environmental disaster. From aerial views of saturated topography to close-up observations of architecture, displaced fauna and resilient flora, Samoylova captures the ‘seductive and destructive dissonance’ of a region deeply invested in its own image and sunny allure, while dangerously impacted by rising sea levels, storm surges and coastal erosion, brought about by climate change. 

The 2022 Jury and statements

This year’s jury are: Yto Barrada, artist, Jessica Dimson, The New York Times Deputy Director of Photography, Yasufumi Nakamori, Tate Modern’s International Art (Photography) Senior Curator, Anne-Marie Beckmann, Director of the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation, and Brett Rogers, OBE, Director of The Photographers’ Gallery, as voting chair.

Brett Rogers, Director of The Photographers’ Gallery:

“The work of this year’s nominees encapsulates themes which reflect not only the current times we live in, but the weight and responsibility of history and embrace two very different standpoints. That of a younger generation (Deana Lawson and Anastasia Samoylova) who are making a major impact within the photography world due to the distinctive ways in which they use the medium to interrogate and explore topical issues; alongside an older generation (Giles Peress and Jo Ractliffe) who demonstrate a long-term engagement (40 years +) with, and commitment, both subject and medium. Despite what might be conceived to be the harrowing thread connecting the subjects they deal with (conflict in Northern Ireland, the representation of the black body in visual culture, the impact of climate change in Florida or the trauma of post-apartheid Africa), each artist manages to propose moments of epiphany or revelation. Taken together, this year’s shortlist demonstrates that even in the darkness of our current world, artists still find a way to reveal hidden truths and make us look afresh at the world - a testimony to photography’s ability to offer us invaluable ways to reconsider and review our perspectives.”

Anne-Marie Beckmann, Director, Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation:

“Every year, as we go through the almost impossible task of selecting just four artists and projects for the annual prize shortlist, I am reminded afresh – not only of the extraordinary capacity of photography to encompass such a breadth of approaches and perspectives – but also of its unique ability to spark such varied, impassioned and essential debate. The jury session was especially notable for the quantity and quality of discussion, which had us considering not only the merits of the individual projects, but the nature, meaning and status of photography at this particular and peculiar point in time. I think for all of us, the richness of opinion only strengthened our belief in the intrinsic value of medium, and therefore for this prize, which continues to keep photography at the forefront of public attention and champion
its significance socially, politically and creatively. It is an immense privilege to be part of it and yet again to present a shortlist that works with photography in such interesting and different ways and offers such depth of subject-matter and perspective.”

Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation

The Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation is a Frankfurt-based non-profit organisation. The foundation activities focus on collecting, exhibiting, and promoting contemporary photography. Deutsche Börse began to build up its collection of contemporary photography in 1999. The Art Collection Deutsche Börse now comprises more than 2,200 works by over 140 artists from 32 nations. The collection and a changing exhibition programme are open to the public. Together with The Photographers' Gallery in London, the foundation awards the renowned Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize each year. The promotion of young artists is a special concern of the foundation. It supports them in the form of awards, scholarships, exhibitions and cooperations with other institutions, such as the Foam Talents Programme of the Foam Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam. Other focal points include supporting exhibition projects of international museums and institutions, and the expansion of platforms for academic discussion about the medium.

The Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize History

Founded in 1996 by The Photographers’ Gallery, and now in its twenty sixth year, the Prize has become one of the most prestigious international arts awards and has launched and established the careers of many photographers over the years. Previously known as the Citigroup Photography Prize, the Gallery has been in collaboration with Deutsche Börse Group since 2005. In 2016 the Prize was retitled the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize following the establishment of the foundation as a non-profit organisation dedicated to the collection, exhibition, and promotion of contemporary photography. The winner of the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2021 was Cao Fei for her exhibition Blueprints. Past winners have include: Mohamed Bourouissa, Susan Meiselas, Luke Willis Thompson, Dana Lixenberg, Trevor Paglen, Juergen Teller, Rineke Dijkstra, Richard Billingham, John Stezaker and Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin.

The Photographers’ Gallery

The Photographers’ Gallery opened in 1971 in Covent Garden, London, as the UK’s first independent and publicly funded gallery devoted to photography. It was the first UK gallery to exhibit many key names in international photography, including Juergen Teller, Robert Capa, Sebastiano Salgado and Andreas Gursky. The Gallery has also been instrumental in establishing contemporary British photographers, including Martin Parr and Corinne Day. In 2009 the Gallery relocated to a new multistorey building in Ramillies Street, Soho and opened its doors to the public in 2012 after an ambitious redevelopment plan which provided the Gallery with three floors of state-of-the-art exhibition space as well as an education/events studio, a gallery for commercial sales, bookshop and cafe. The success of The Photographers’ Gallery over the past four decades has helped to secure the medium’s position as a vital and highly regarded art form, introducing new audiences to photography and championing its place at the heart of visual culture.

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