CDC projects do more than put art on the walls. They work inter-culturally to open up new ideas and establish new connections. Alasdair Foster, CDC’s founding consultant, creates innovative, engaging and at times challenging exhibitions that win both critical and popular acclaim.
Clients include national and regional art museums, city and university galleries and international festivals.
Exhibition services include:
- Project concept and development
- Negotiating with artists
- Budget preparation and management
- Installation planning
- Exhibition interpretation
- Catalogue commissioning, writing and editing
Guest artistic director:
- CDC’s founder, Alasdair Foster, is available to program an entire international festival or photomedia season
Exhibitions are delivered on time and on budget. No project organised by Alasdair Foster has ever been late or overspent.
Built on a broad integrated vision of the importance of the visual arts in society, projects to date include major historical shows, challenging contemporary work and pioneering community projects. Currently CDC has a particular focus on the Asia-Pacific region.
“I can say without any reservation that Alasdair Foster is one of the most experienced and innovative developers and managers of contemporary photomedia festivals and touring exhibitions anywhere. He has repeatedly demonstrated the combination of leadership and negotiation skills, creativity and innovation as well as the strong technical and administrative skills needed to deliver exceptional exhibitions in a variety of international contexts.”
Gael Newton, Senior Curator of Photography, National Gallery of Australia (2011)
Experience makes the Difference
Alasdair Foster, CDC’s founding consultant, has extensive experience in creating innovative, engaging and at times challenging exhibitions that win both critical and popular acclaim. With 20 years’ experience heading national arts initiatives and a further 10 years as a successful independent, he has presented curatorial projects in many parts of the world including Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Korea, Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand and UK, and has worked with artists from over 50 countries globally.
“It was hugely refreshing to find in Alasdair Foster a person who could cut through the fog of rhetoric, jargon and posturing that is so abundant in the art world. His clarity is uplifting.”
Shahidul Alam, Founder, Drik picture library and Pathshala South Asian Media Academy; Director of Chobi Mela, festival of photography in Asia, Bangladesh (2012)
Landmarks and Milestones
Imagining the Everyday (China, 2010)
This exhibition of 20 Australian photographic artists was presented at the 2010 Pingyao International Festival of Photography as part of the Year of Australian Culture in China. With audiences of 200,000 the exhibition was widely considered the hit of the festival. Bronek Kozka, one of the exhibiting artists, won the festival’s annual international award. more…
In 2011 Alasdair Foster presented the work of the creative duo Gerard O’Connor and Marc Wasiak and once again these artists won the PIP international award. more…
“Working with Alasdair Foster, I have come to understand that a good exhibition requires much wisdom and cultural understanding. It is his exceptional professionalism and his dedication to photography that have made the Australian exhibitions presented at Pingyao International Photography Festival so successful.”
Liu Xiaoxia, Director of the International Program, Pingyao International Photography Festival, China (2011)
Phantasia (Australia and France, 2008-10)
Vivid, complex and magical, the works in this exhibition abandoned the traditional realm of the photographic – the real world – to conjure images of the fantastical. The exhibition took its name from an ancient word describing the artist’s inspiration for picturing the unseen. Predating notions of creativity and imagination it is an idea closely bound with the concept of art as making.
The exhibition was premiered at the Australian Centre for Photography in May–June 2008, followed by a national tour and presentation by the Australian Government at Photoquai festival, Paris. more…
“The Samstag Museum of Art was delighted to host Phantasia − an ultra-rich celebration of fantasy curated by Alasdair Foster. Phantasia has been one of the Museum’s most successful exhibitions. It drew large attendances but, more importantly, it reached and inspired a new, younger generation of art exhibition visitors.”
Erica Green, Director, Samstag Museum of Art, Adelaide (2011)
In its concept and in its making, Minutes to Midnight was and remains a unique project. Born of the passion and imagination of photographer Trent Parke, it is a spellbinding fusion of traditional black and white documentary, grand operatic spectacle and music video sensibility. Made 2003–05 on a two-year road trip around Australia with his partner Narelle Autio, the project sought to find the darker essence of contemporary Australia in the habits and habitats of metropolitan, suburban and remote Australia.
Hearing about the project in its early stages, Alasdair Foster immediately recognised the innovative and daring nature of this project and the creative vision of the photographer. From then on artist and curator worked closely together, turning the artist’s concept for a book into the experiential space of an immersive exhibition.
Minutes to Midnight is published by Steidl (February 2012)
“It has been my greatest pleasure to work with Alasdair Foster. In fact I very much doubt whether I will ever again experience the same bond with anyone in relation to my work. He is a brave curator with sharp insight who trusts his intuition. I still marvel at how quickly he summed up ‘Minutes to Midnight’ (and me) and ran with the project, sight unseen.”
Trent Parke, photographer (2011)
In 2002 Alasdair Foster was commissioned by the Australia Council for the Arts and ARCO Australia to create a major new exhibition to represent the nation at the international art fair ARCO, in Madrid. Staged in the Sala del Canal de Isabel II, the exhibition featured 14 artists and two artistic partnerships presented over the entire five floors of this historic building. more…
The exhibition subsequently toured in Asia, attracting the highest recorded number of visitors for a contemporary photography exhibition from Australia. The celebrated Aboriginal artist, Michael Riley, won the gold prize at the 11th Asian Art Biennale Bangladesh when this exhibition was presented in Dhaka. more…
“Engaging Alasdair Foster to curate ‘Photographica Australis’ in Madrid proved to be a stroke of genius. Alasdair brought to the project intelligence, diligence, insightfulness and flair. His communication and organisational skills are exemplary. The exhibition travelled extensively thanks to his unbounding enthusiasm and vast network. I cannot speak highly enough of this man and his abilities.”
Paul Greenaway OAM*, Commissioner for ARCO Australia 2002 (Spain) (2011)
* Medal of the Order of Australia
Fotofeis festival (Scotland/international, 1993, 1995 and 1997)
In 1993 Alasdair Foster was engaged by the Scottish Arts Council to conceive and realise a major new visual arts project. Named “Fotofeis”, this festival was the largest photography event staged in Europe in the 1990s, attracting three-quarters of a million visitors over four weeks to a single edition. Spanning the whole nation and engaging urban, suburban and remote rural population, the success of the festival was its combination of international outlook and local inclusiveness. Given its enormous success Alasdair Foster directed the festival again in 1995 and 1997.
“Top rate, exciting, exhilarating … It’s diverse, truly international and incredibly well-run”
The Herald, newspaper (1993)
“I am impressed by the eclecticism of Fotofeis. It sets out to cater for the widest possible interest in the subject, making no assumptions about public taste, or the place of the avant-garde versus the most popular common denominator. As it should be, it is pro photography and versus nothing.”
Scotland on Sunday, newspaper (1995)
This seminal exhibition was the first to survey the representation of the male body in photography from the invention of the medium in 1839 to the present day. It broke new ground in the unconventional way in which it displayed, side by side, fine art prints, scientific documentation, magazine tear sheets, popular posters and imagery from other diverse fields. The photographs were not presented through the hierarchical value-system of ‘fine art’ but in terms of the relevance of the image content and context to the unfolding historical narrative. Though this approach has subsequently become widespread, it was a radical departure from the conventions of photographic art exhibitions at the time.
“Event of the week is the fascinating ‘Behold the Man’”
The Guardian, newspaper (1988)
“Brave and scholarly … A particularly well-timed historical exhibition of photography … a welcome analysis of a sensitive subject in a climate of very mixed reactions”
The Independent, newspaper (1988)
The Sunday Times, newspaper (1988)