Unconventional Photography at Unseen Amsterdam

by Unseen October 02 2017

Many of the artists that presented work at Unseen Amsterdam 2017 pushed the boundaries of photography in remarkably innovative ways. From performances to sculpture to collective efforts, photography was experimented with in all its forms and possibilities throughout the weekend. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most experimental image makers at this year’s edition of Unseen Amsterdam.

Alix Marie
Represented by Rome-based gallery Matèria, Alix Marie’s magnified images of flesh, reimagined into structural forms, were definitely a highlight at the Fair. Her interpretations reveal society’s harsh codification of masculinity and femininity, and expertly lifted and reappropriated photographs outside of the traditional frame.

Adrea, 2014 c Alix Marie:Matèria.jpeg Adrea, 2014 © Alix Marie/Matèria

Thomas Kuijpers
Thomas Kuijpers is represented by LhGWR, an exhibition space based in The Hague. Kuijpers has established himself as a driving force of political commentary in the Netherlands, developing immersive installations that question our reliance on mainstream media for objective information. At the Fair, he showed a series of layered, purposefully three-dimensional collages that represent an inundation of image-based information, overlapping and displacing each subsequent element with another form of visual media.

Cargo, 2017 (c) Thomas Kuijpers:LhGWR..jpgCargo, 2017 © Thomas Kuijpers/LhGWR

Japanese Photography Extended
Spew is a Japan-based artist collective comprised of artists Daisuke Yokota, Naohiro Utagawa and Koji Kitagawa. The collective’s ideology is rooted in looking at photography ‘beyond the frame’, and each artist makes a point to actively engage in activities that push the boundaries of the medium. Spew developed a performance production for Unseen Amsterdam’s Onsite Project PARA/SITE, presented by G/P gallery. For the collective’s interactive live show, they dressed up in rabbit costumes to tap into childhood memories, asking visitors to blow up balloons that they then included in their installation. Each balloon was fused to a Polaroid image of the visitor who inflated it, acting as documentation of the group’s performance. Spew pushed the boundaries of the photographic medium while illustrating the energy and creativity inherent to contemporary Japanese image making.

OnsiteJap_Unseen2017_Bert-Jan Kramers_25_LowRes_0.jpg Japanese Photography Extended, Unseen Amsterdam 2017 © Bert Jan Kramers

Founded earlier this year, POIUYT is a platform that questions ‘reality’ and our unconditional acceptance of the status quo. Under the curatorial direction of Gaia Tedone and Francesca Lazzarini, members of POIUYT include The Cool Couple, Discipula and Alessandro Sambini. At Unseen CO-OP, the group created a broadcast radio show  which included interviews with other exhibiting artists at Unseen Amsterdam including Erik Kessels & Thomas Mailaender, LIVE WILD collective and DER GREIF amongst others. Additionally the programme included features such as Sing the Image and Guess the Meme.  

Fair_Unseen2017_IrisDuvekot__21sep.2017_0806.jpgUnseen CO-OP © Iris Duvekot 

The Photo Pleasure Palace
As Unseen Amsterdam’s headlining exhibition, the Photo Pleasure Palace was developed by artists Erik Kessels and Thomas Mailaender, who both have an interest in collecting and repurposing peculiar imagery. The Photo Pleasure Palace tested the possibilities of photography and pushed the medium to bizarre extremes in a series of carnival-style attractions, where visitors had the opportunity to engage with custom installations and take home photographic mementos.

We’d like to thank all the artists who participated in creating challenging and innovative work at this year’s event! Unseen continues to foster new photographic talent in all its unconventional forms, providing a platform for artists to experiment and push the boundaries of the medium.