“With this exhibition FOAM is trying to form a vision of how contemporary photography is shaped by young photographers,” says Mirjam Kooiman, curator at the FOAM Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam. “These artists have already made really good work, and they have a lot of potential.”
She’s discussing the Foam Talent show, which gathers work by 24 artists under the age of 35. Selected by the editors of FOAM magazine out of almost 1500 submissions from 75 different countries, the photographers were first announced in the Talent issue of FOAM magazine last September, and their work is now in a group show travelling around the world. The London outing, in the Beaconsfield Vauxhall gallery, opens on 18 May.
For Kooiman the exhibition is an opportunity to reflect on the themes running through the photographers’ work, despite their widely differing styles. One such theme this year is the question of identity, she says. “Samuel Gratacap made a series of refugees from Libya,” she explains. “Sofia Ayarzagoitia travelled four few through Spain, creating a visual diary that documents the kind of relationship she had with the people she met.”
Niccolo Degiorgis has photographed hidden places used as mosques by Muslims living in Italy, where Islam is still not formally recognised as a religion by the State. “Their mosques are always behind very anonymous facilities where people gather behind closed doors,” says Kooiman. “It is an important document reflecting upon the concept of the freedom of religion.”
“Juno turns into an alter-ego reflecting on female beauty, Ilona Szwarc also found a double as a sort of makeup artist with Youtube tutorials,” says Kooiman. “She used make-up tutorials to teach herself the skills of a make-up artist, and then she transformed her double into an older or fatter version of herself using this skills as kind of a reflection to her looks and her identity.”
“Nowadays identity is an extremely important issue,” she concludes. “On the one hand, we have online identities and are very much aware of how we present ourselves in social media; on the other hand, we have to deal with ideas of national identity and how we are looking at the other.”
Foam Talent is on show from the 18 May – 18 June 2017 at London’s Beaconsfield Vauxhall. www.foam.org