ABOUT THE FAIR
Galerie Ron Mandos is excited to be part of the 2021 edition of Unseen Photo Fair Amsterdam. This year’s presentation includes a selection of works by Erwin Olaf, Isaac Julien, Mohau Modisakeng, Gilleam Trapenberg, and Tasio Bidegain. The presented works show people, places and cultural practices around the world through the eyes of the artists, exploring themes like migration, slavery, and exoticism.
1014 DD Amsterdam
Friday 17 September: 11.00 – 21.00 uur
Saturday 18 September: 11.00 -19.00 uur
Sunday 19 September: 11.00 – 19.00 uur
Online day ticket: € 19,50 p.p. A time slot is required to enter the fair. Click here to book reserve your ticket(s).
Erwin Olaf (NL, 1959) explores the human experience through meticulously staged scenes. His distinctive aesthetic is highly stylized and perfectly polished, yet his work penetrates deep beneath a pretty facade. Instead, the heart of Olaf’s work addresses social issues, taboos, and conventions, often through subtle or mysterious details. A lot of his work is contextualized by complex race relations, the devastation of economic divisions, and the complications of sexuality. At Unseen we show the photographs and a five-screen moving portraits installation from the Shanghai series. This series is the second in a trilogy created by Olaf during his travels around the world. Within the three-part series, Olaf visually demonstrates the transformations occurring in Berlin, Shanghai and Palm Springs. About Shanghai he said, “[The city] reminds me of a young, confident adolescent full of boundless energy, convinced of its own power, and doing whatever it takes to reach its potential.”
Isaac Julien CBE RA (UK, 1960) is acclaimed for his multi-screen film installations and photographs. He currently has a solo exhibition at Galerie Ron Mandos, showing his Lessons of the Hour from 2019 alongside his very first film Who Killed Colin Roach? from 1983. At Unseen we present a work from Stones Against Diamonds created in 2015, which draws inspiration from a letter written by Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi and was shot in Iceland’s remote ice caves. The artwork examines themes within Bo Bardi’s letter, where she praises the beauty of semi-precious gems over preferred precious stones, such as diamonds. Shooting in remote Vatnajökull region in Southeast Iceland Austurland, and using the breath-taking scenery of glistening ice caves as a set for the photograph, Julien portrays some of the most beautiful objects as the least precious in a conventional sense.
Mohau Modisakeng (ZA, 1986) confronts in his work collective traumas and geographical displacements. He reflects on the socio-political, cultural, economic, and psychological implications of Africa’s violent colonial history. To establish this Modisakeng uses material, metaphor and the black body as tools. At Unseen we show works from Modisakeng’s series Zanj created in 2019 for the Sharjah Biennial. In Zanj, Modisakeng created a choreographed procession as a symbol for the movement of bodies and trade between the Gulf area and the East African coast. The photographs depict figures on a bed of sand, presenting both the ocean and the desert which had to be traversed during the period of slavery. Modisakeng uses history as a starting point for a larger meditation on the historical and present-day implications of mass migration.
Gilleam Trapenberg (CW, 1991) reflects on the contradictions that are part of the social landscape in Curaçao, where the idea of a utopian paradise is diametrically opposed to the realities of post-colonialism and tourism. He explores stereotypes and tropes that have manifested themselves through social culture and the Western media. At Unseen we present his series New Suns, in which the artist used the Caribbean sun as a symbol of exoticism and leisure to reflect on the tropes and stereotypes that establish the ideas of the Caribbean paradise on earth. The Caribbean sun also represents home for Trapenberg and visualises his ongoing search for the perfect Caribbean sun.
Tasio Bidegain (FR, 1996) is the winner of the RM Photo Talent Award presented to him during the Best of Graduates 2020 exhibition at Galerie Ron Mandos. As a young interdisciplinary visual artist, Tasio Bidegain developed several independent artistic practices including painting, drawing, video, and photography as a quotidian way to react and reflect on his surroundings. Over the last years, his practices have been converging into the creation of large-scale hand-carved photographs, leading him to establish his very own pictorial technique and visual language. At Unseen we show Bidegain’s series Signs of Seeing. This series consists of three photographs depicting seemingly banal but mystical details found over the city of Amsterdam. By using the chiaroscuro technique to make the objects emerge out of the darkness of the photographic print, the subtext of the photograph comes to the surface, making each print a unique expression of his visions. In this way Bidegain plays with the ideas of vision in a social media and attention-based society.