Seeing through Clouds

Photoforum Pasquart, Biel / Switzerland

May 4, 2022
May 4, 2022
Photoforum Pasquart
Seevorstadt 71
2502 Biel
Switzerland

www.photoforumpasquart.ch
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Photoforum Pasquart presents the exhibition programme for 2022. In times of social media, the shooting, accumulation and distribution of photographs has become simpler than ever before. How to deal with the countless images on our news feed? What kind of skills do we need to read, interpret and understand, but also protect ourselves from the mediated horror of violence and war? Which strategies can be used to decolonize image archives in the digital space?

Seeing through Clouds, Photoforum's curatorial theme of the year 2022, developed by the new director Jana Johanna Haeckel, deals with the role of image archives and their claim to an alleged documentation of "facts." In the digital age, in which more images are produced and consumed than ever before in human history, the virtual archive becomes an important site for the negotiation of "truth" and objectivity. The four different solo exhibitions by Bianca Baldi, Sheida Soleimani, Joud Toamah and Emmanuel Van der Auwera present various strategies in dealing with image archives as potential places for counter-narratives: They use found image material from digital, historical, fictional and personal sources to question the idea of the image as document. By reworking and combining biased footage, they develop a constructively critical access to photographic images and highlight how photography serves to regulate the ways in which stories are told and power relations are established.

Joud Toamah: The River Shines Stronger than the Sun, May 7–June 12, 2022
Joud Toamah’s (b.1992, SY) artistic practice is interested in the relationship between photography and memory. Her work often uses archives of digitized images of family albums that the artist sources from acquaintances, friends and family members in Syria and the diaspora. Toamah collects pictures that have undergone processes of scanning, uploading, renaming, forwarding, etc. in order to create digital archives of private and intimate images. By doing so, photography becomes a place where relation is possible. The exhibition is part of the Festival of Photography Biel/Bienne. Guest curator: Sorana Munsya.

Sheida Soleimani: NEGOTIATORS, July 3–September 4, 2022
Sheida Soleimani’s (b. 1990, US/IR) work explores intersections of art and activism, melding photography, sculpture, performance and film to highlight critical perspectives on events across the Middle East. Through constructing staged sets in her studio and documenting them with the camera, Soleimani focuses on the dissemination of information, adapting images from press and social media leaks to exist within alternative scenarios. Being the daughter of political refugees persecuted by the Iranian government in the 1980s, the engagement with Iran is an on-going facet of her practice. Curated by: Jana Johanna Haeckel.

Emmanuel Van der Auwera: FULL A.L.I.C.E., July 3–September 4, 2022
Emmanuel Van der Auwera (b. 1982, BE) challenges the self-evident nature of found documentary images that aim to produce facts and truth. His photographs, films and video installations use polarising visual material circulating in digital spaces, addressing the ethical responsibility in dealing with images of violence and collective trauma. The results provoke a questioning of our visual literacy: How do images of contemporary mass media operate on various publics and to what end? Curated by: Jana Johanna Haeckel.

Bianca Baldi: PATINA, September 18–November 20, 2022
Bianca Baldi (b. 1985, SA) deals in her work with hidden infrastructures and narratives as a means of knowledge production. Interested in both fictional and historical contexts, she often combines her photographs, films, objects and writings in the exhibition format as multi-layered, sensual installations. Her research-based works often use material from colonial contexts to demonstrate how comprehensively archives, as infrastructures of preservation, perpetuate hegemonic thinking. Curated by: Jana Johanna Haeckel.

Programme and events:
Photobooks Switzerland
, May 28–May 29, 2022
Photobooks Switzerland aims to bring the most innovative contributors of independent contemporary photographic publishing to Switzerland. The book fair seeks to open up reflection and discussion about the status and importance of the photo book, as well as to convey new inputs and impressions about the possibility of the medium. More info on the participation and programme.

Prix Photoforum 2022, December 4, 2022–January 15, 2023
The Prix Photoforum is one of the few photography awards in Switzerland with no limits on nationality, age or career stage, and no determined theme. As a result, each year it presents a great diversity of works, testifying to the richness of the contemporary photographic scene and the diversity of uses of the photographic image. More info on the application process, conditions and exhibition.

New research residency
Photoforum Pasquart is pleased to announce its first residency. The newly established residency programme aims to invite an artist, photographer or theorist for two months each year to carry out research on the photographic image and its contemporary challenges. The focus lies on investigating, discussing and locating photography in the context of the digital transformation, which is accompanied by a fragmentation and polarisation of global social space today. The first resident was Akosua Viktoria Adu-Sanyah (b. 1990), a German-Ghanaian visual artist and photographer who received the Prix Photoforum in 2020. More information.