Culture and the Conversive Community
On Thursday 21 July I graduated Doctor of Philosophy. My thesis, ‘Culture and the Conversive Community: Framing Arts Policy for the Twenty-first Century’, questions how we might develop an egalitarian arts policy. It was passed without emendation.
Ouroboros: a Mexican Cycle
OUROBOROS explores the work of three distinguished Mexican photographic artists: Pablo López Luz, Fernando Montiel Klint and Dulce Pinzón. Drawing on the traditions of landscape, social documentary and surrealism, they each create compelling contemporary images that suggest not only a fresh point of view, but also new understanding what we see.
:: also available in Spanish and Chinese :: También disponible en el idioma español :: 中国语言也可 ::
Read and share the catalogue here…
FREE: 70-PAGE EXHIBITION CATALOGUE
This exhibition introduced Russian audiences to the work of four Australian artists: Hoda Afshar, Ray Cook, Simon Harsent and Owen Leong. These artists use photography to explore radically different concepts of climate change that span the personal, the social, the cultural and the environmental. In each case they approach their subject indirectly, through the poetic language of visual allegory.
Read and share the catalogue here…
ON BEING INDUSTRIOUS
CHINA: In a speech delivered at the launch of the 2016 Shenyang Festival of Industrial Photography, Alasdair Foster reminded delegates and guests of the importance of embracing both art and industry. “It is a basic human urge to be industrious,” he said. “Being industrious and being creative are what make us human … [and] it is when we imagine together that true innovation is possible.”
You can read an extract from this speech here…
The Wrong Side of the Looking Glass
On Friday 29 April Alasdair Foster was the opening keynote speaker at a festival of bold childhood ideas staged at the Art Gallery of NSW by Gowrie NSW. He argued that “children are born with a strong propensity for creativity, but conventional education is specifically structured to remove it by the time they reach puberty. This shapes children to become adults in a looking glass world in which they consume other people’s ideas rather than working together to find the best outcomes for their community.” The one-day conference, entitled ‘Down the Rabbit Hole’, sought to challenge leaders in education to broaden their perspective on culture, inclusion, gender and identity.
FREE: 170-PAGE EXHIBITION CATALOGUE
A Conversation of Memories
This exhibition brings together artists from Argentina, Australia, Canada, Colombia, Korea, Japan and the United States to explore the many and complex ways in which photography and memory come together. Sometimes the one can shed light upon the other but, at others, they play a complicit game of subterfuge.
(Bilingual Russian and English)
Выставка объединяет художников из Аргентины, Австралии, Канады, Колумбии, Кореи, Японии и США и исследует многочисленные и непростые пути взаимодействия фотографии и памяти. Порой одно проливает свет на другое, но временами память и фотография играют сообща и прибегают к сложным ухищрениям.
Dyslexia · Diversity · Democracy
Alasdair Foster delivered a lecture at Newcastle University last Wednesday, which built out from his personal experience of being dyslexic to argue for a better understanding of difference within our educational system. He does not consider dyslexia to be a disability but a different ability, one which he has been able to harness and without which he believes he could have achieved what he has in life. More here…
In April, Alasdair Foster will present an exhibition of work by three artists entitled ‘Industry re.Imagined’. The exhibition will be staged as part of the Festival of Industrial Photography in Shenyang, northern China. The artists are Alejandro Chaskielberg (Argentina), Marcus Lyon (United Kingdom) and Roger Hanley (Australia). Each artist reveals a distinctive and unexpected vision of industry: as a fading memory, as a global network and as a theatre of the psyche.
The exhibition opens 23 April, 2016.
the Year Awards
It was my honour to chair the judging panel for the self-published category of this year’s Australian Photobook of The Year Awards 2106. The winner was Jordan Madge for his book ‘Red Herring’, which he both photographed and designed.
Australian Photography Showcased in Dubai
Alasdair Foster is the curator of the Australian exhibit presented in Dubai this March as part of Dubai Photo Exhibition 2016. Staged under the Patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai, the Australian work will sit alongside presentations from 23 countries prepared by 18 leading curators from around the world.
Memory Holds the Future
SO, WHAT IS IT WE DO, we people who love art and photography…?
In a speech delivered on 15 October 2015 at the Krasnodar Institute of Contemporary Art (КИСИ), Russia, Alasdair Foster argued that art has an important relationship to memory because it “connects us in a shared experience of the world. It can nurture empathy and support ethics.” He went on to say that “It is my belief that the future of the world lies not with governments, or ideologies, or economics, or technology, but in our communities.”
You can read an edited version of this speech here…
FREE: 86-PAGE EXHIBITION CATALOGUE
Sian Bonnell (UK) :: Magdalena Bors (Belgium / Australia) :: Hillerbrand+Magsamen (USA)
Suk Kuhn Oh (Republic of Korea) :: Viktoria Sorochinski (Ukraine / Germany)
‘Dream Home’ features the work of four artists and one artistic partnership hailing from four continents. They each, in very different ways, explore the psychological dislocations between the consumerist ‘dream’, domestic convention and the complex, sometimes dissonant, interior life of the individual. Alasdair Foster put the exhibition together especially for the 2015 Pingyao International Photography Festival, China’s largest and longest-running festival of photomedia art.
A free, 90-page, bilingual catalogue is available including all of the work from the exhibition. You can view the catalogue here…
NOT SO SIMPLE PLEASURES
On Saturday 29 August, it was my great pleasure to open an exhibition by the talented Melbourne duo Gerard O’Connor and Marc Wasiak.
Photographer O’Connor and designer Wasiak work with a team of production technicians, actors and models, and the post-production skills of Matthew Ryan at Visual Thing, to create nineteenth-century tableaux with a distinctly twenty-first century eye.
To introduce their work I have published my opening night speech – a short peroration on the pleasures of perversity – along with some of their art works, and shots of the installation and event. To see more visit here…
DREAM HOME, CHINA
The work of artists from Australia, Korea, Ukraine, UK and USA will feature in an exhibition especially curated by Alasdair Foster for the 2015 Pingyao International Photography Festival. The exhibition explores the psychological dislocations between the consumerist ‘dream home’, domestic convention and the complex, sometimes dissonant, interior life of the individual. Drawing on a range of perspectives shaped by personal experience and social critique the artists each brings a fresh, distinctive and sometimes troubling insight to the place we call home.
Free Online Catalogue
This is the catalogue for an exhibition by the Australian artist, Magdalena Bors. The exhibition is currently touring in Europe through a partnership between Galleri Image in Denmark and Cultural Development Consulting in Sydney, with support in Spain from the Centro Andaluz de la Fotografía.
Este es el catálogo de una exposición de la artista australiana Magdalena Bors. La exposición se está itinerando actualmente en Europa gracias a un acuerdo entre Galleri Image, en Dinamarca, y Cultural Development Consulting, en Sidney, con el apoyo del Centro Andaluz de la Fotografía en España.
English language version here…
Versión en español aquí…
Generosity Assures Future of Photo Award
CDC’s Alasdair Foster spoke at the dinner on 9 May held in honour of Mrs Win Schubert AO, who has given one million dollars to the Gold Coast City Art Gallery to allow them to run the Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award in perpetuity. Since its inception in 2002, the award has been the means by which an exhibition of some of Australia’s most exciting photomedia art comes together each year.
More information about the event and the book published to mark the occasion here.
Lyndal Irons wins
the Pool Grant 2015
Congratulations to Lyndal Irons, the winner of the 2015 Pool Grant. This was the third year that Alasdair Foster was the invited external judge for the award, which is organised and presented by the Pool Collective, a group of eminent Australian photographers who put their own money together to create the annual $10,000 grant. More…
Tours To Spain
Magdalena Bors’ exhibition, ‘The Art of Domestic Compulsion’, will tour Spain through to 2015, showing in Almería, Seville and Barcelona.
Curated by Alasdair Foster for Galleri Image in Denmark, the exhibition is presented in partnership with the Centro Andaluz de la Fotografía.
Introducing the Q&A Alternatives Season
IN THIS SERIES OF INTERVIEWS, Alasdair Foster talks with cultural practitioners who take an alternative approach to creativity – their own or that of others. These individuals hail from various cultures and continents; they have diverse aspirations and idiosyncratic means for achieving them. There is no consistency, no single path. Nor should there be.
Some look critically upon the world around them – be it the institutional world of art or the wider world of human affairs. Others seek to build connections where previously there was alienation; offering a means of expression to the marginalised and the dispossessed. And some simply try to feel their way to a sense of personal truth that can be communicated outwards in the centrifugal language of the eye. Each, in their different way, suggests how a questioning mind, human connection and creativity can work synergistically to achieve results significantly more valuable than those measured by the market or celebrity.
Proboscis employs the imaginative insights of art practice to address real-life social issues, not through commentary and hand-wringing, but in the development of practical tools for change. The emphasis is on empowerment through participation; of working together to overcome barriers in thinking that, at first, seem insurmountable. More…
“Cultures of listening are crucial to cultural experience”
She has been called a ‘Love Doctor’, but Tomoko Hayashi calls herself a multi-disciplinary artist/designer. She harnesses new and traditional technologies to connect distant lovers in subtle and truly romantic ways. In this interview she talks about her role as a creative practitioner working at the interface of art, science, design and technology. More…
“What is the nature of real human connection in this fast-moving society?”
The phrase ‘ahead of his time’ can be a cliché, but applied to Ian Milliss it is a precisely accurate description. Spanning almost five decades, his practice engages directly with issues of social, cultural and personal sustainability: the fundamental issue of survival. So why, for so long, has he been ‘the invisible artist’? More…
“An artist is someone who creates adaptive cultural change”
Sohrab Hura lives in Delhi and makes photographs. But he does not want to think of himself as a photographer… or an artist. He fears that to do so would set him on an art-world career path that would make it harder to strive for honest imagery. He keeps himself broke for the same reason. More…
“I’d like my work … to be bigger than me”
Scott Redford has a fascination for pop culture and a love of his home town of Surfer’s Paradise on the southern Queensland Coast of Australia. Harnessing a diverse array of media his work turns its back on the cosy coteries of the art world to address the international from the vantage of the local. More…
“Art is something made in private and validated in public”
For the past 25 years Thierry Geoffroy has created a series of conceptual formulas to initiate events and temporary installations. These projects involve many participants – often several hundred – to address the social psychology of issues such as conflict, collaboration, hypocrisy and commercialisation. More…
“By making and consuming art, have we become better human beings?”
Extending the Conversation
Following the highly successful series of interviews with Australian photomedia artists published in ‘PhotoWorld’ in 2013, the Chinese magazine has commissioned Alasdair Foster to write a further 12 articles based on conversations with photographers in Latin America. 2014 opened with the Peruvian artist Cecilia Paredes whose work features on the front cover of the January edition and across a 12-page spread inside.
During the year Alasdair Foster will interview artists from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay. In line with CDC’s mission to encourage empathy through visual dialogue, the commission represents a valuable platform through which to open up new cultural conversations across the richly diverse Asia-Pacific region.
Conversing in Pictures
In 2013 the respected Chinese magazine PhotoWorld commissioned Alasdair Foster to write 13 articles, each of which featured an Australian practitioner.
He selected the artists with a special emphasis on the diversity of approach and visual language at play in our country and each article consists of an introduction, interview and portfolio.
In all, the features span 148 pages presenting 220 images which are explored in texts amounting to over 25,000 words. More…
Alasdair Foster has won the inaugural international award for curatorial excellence at the 2013 Pingyao International Festival of Photography in Shanxi, China. The Jin Hou Niao Zun trophy was presented at a glittering televised event staged on Saturday 21 September in the newly opened Memory Theatre before an invited audience of international and Chinese VIPs.
TO RUSSIA WITH FABLES
CDC will present the work of four Australian photomedia artists at the celebrated Russian festival, PhotoVisa. The artists, Hoda Afshar, Ray Cook, Simon Harsent and Owen Leong, create fables that address variously hybridity, metamorphosis, dissolution and adaptation. Curated by Alasdair Foster, the exhibition will be presented at the Krasnodar Institute of Contemporary Art (KISI) in October and November 2013.
ALASDAIR FOSTER has been named as the Commissioner for the Latin-American Pavilion at the 2013 Pingyao International Photography Festival (PIP) in China.
Extending over more than 600 square metres, the Pavilion will feature work from Colombia, Cuba, Guatemala, Mexico and Venezuela. More…
It has been announced that the five Latin-American exhibitions commissioned for the 2013 PIP festival will tour on to Wuhan Museum in the principal city of Central China. More…
ACCOLADE TO THE CROWN-MAKER
Congratulations! to Shan Turner-Carroll who has just won the $35,000AUD National Tertiary Student Art Prize presented last Friday (9 April) at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art (PICA). His work featured on the CDC website in January (click here to view his portfolio)
The selection panel comprised Glen Barkley (curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney); Isobel Ching (an independent curator based in Singapore); Andrew Varano (an artist and curator of OK Gallery, Perth); Leigh Robb and Tim Carter (respectively curator and special projects curator at PICA).
Shan is an exceptional young artist with a distinctive vision that draws on his cultural heritage. That journey is now leading him to undertake creative research in Burma.
His work was previously recognised when he won the 2012 Jennie Thomas Travelling Art Scholarship.
CONNECTING WITH COLOMBIA
CDC will present the work of Melbourne artist Polixeni Papapetrou at a major South American festival this May. Fotográfica Bogotá is reputedly the continent’s largest photo biennale, reaching an audience of some 80,000 people.
While in Bogotá, Alasdair Foster will present a paper at the Encuentro Teórico, Latin America’s foremost photo-theory conference, which attracts some 1,200 delegates from the across the continent.
Syria: a Culture of Peace in Time of War
Any artist, gallerist or festival director in the West who feels life is tough; spare a thought for Issa Touma, the founder and director of the Aleppo International Photography Festival (AIPF), Syria.
Plans for the 2012 festival were ambitious, with a new venue in a former power station and 48 local and international artists to present some 870 works. When they began work a year ago, no-one imagined that by September Syria would be in the grips of civil war and Aleppo at the heart of the conflict.
Who, facing such calamitous events, would not throw in the towel and abandon the festival? Not Issa Touma and his colleagues. More…
Update: A Message from Issa Touma
Asia-Pacific PhotoForum Ambassador
Alasdair Foster has been elected the Asia-Pacific PhotoForum Ambassador, with a remit to help build new alliances between photographic festivals from across the Asia-Pacific region.
“Alasdair Foster’s extensive international experience provides a perfect fit as Ambassador for our blossoming APP network”, said Julia Durkin, Director of the Auckland Photography Festival. More…
In May 2012 CDC took at a look at the challenging issues of censorship. The season included two extended interviews and an article by Alasdair Foster, along with a Q&A of the views of 14 artists and commentators from Americas, Asia, Australia and Europe.
Bringing together all the links to the various articles and Q&A responses, the OMNIBUS page is a one-stop access point for the entire season.
Please join in by adding your comments at the foot of the page of any of the articles or Q&A rounds.
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Images (from the top):
Shenyang image: © Roger Hanley ‘electroPura #16’ (detail) 2013
Photobook Award image: © Nathan Larkin Jordan Madge
Dubai image: © Alexia Sinclair ‘The Library’ (detail) from the series ‘A Frozen Tale’ 2013
‘Victoriana’ image: © O’Connor & Wasiak ‘Mr Fox’ (detail)
‘Dream Home’ image: © Viktoria Sorochinski from the series ‘Daddy’ (detail)
‘Compulsion’ image: © Magdalena Bors ‘Jungle’ from ‘The Seventh Day’
Latin American Pavilion image: © Oh Yiste (Venezuela)
Accolade image: © Shan Turner-Carroll
Pablo Lopez Luz and Alasdair Foster after the awards ceremony, PIP 2012 [photo courtesy Fernando Montiel Klint]
SarKiss Rshdouni with a rubbing made at Art Camping, Aleppo (image © SarKiss Rshdouni)