“In many ways Another Europe questions whether Europe is other at all,” says Hamish Park. “While this is not an explicitly political exhibition, I do hope that it will go some way to reminding the audience that we share deep cultural roots which go beyond geographic borders or treaty arrangements, and that what we share is as significant as what makes us distinct.”
Park has just curated an exhibition called Another Europe which goes on show soon around Kings Cross, London, mounted on specially-designed concrete benches. Featuring one photograph from each of the 28 European Union member states, shot by a photographer from the country, it’s been organised by the Austrian Cultural Forum London to celebrate both the European Year of Cultural Heritage, and Austria’s presidency of the EU council.
It’s also interesting timing for this exhibition in the UK, as the country negotiates Brexit – the ACF had been considering staging an outdoor exhibition about Austria for around a year, says Park, but when the UK announced it was to leave the EU on 29 March 2019, the project morphed into a project on Europe. “I think that it is extremely important that we continue to maintain an openness to cultural developments in Europe and our significant cultural links with all member states of the EU,” says Park.
To do so he’s picked out image-makers with a variety of photographic styles, and balanced established names – such as Markéta Luskačová (Czech Republic), Simon Roberts (UK), Massimo Vitali (Italy), and Henk Wildschut (Netherlands) – with emerging artists. When inviting submissions, Park encouraged photographers to reflect broadly on the theme of cultural heritage, hoping that the exhibition would reflect a wide range of responses.
“In some ways that was the most exciting point because it was then that my interpretation of the theme was challenged by the photographer’s interpretation of theme,” says Park. “The work I received forced me to recalibrate my conception of what I thought the exhibition should be about against theirs.”
Another Europe will be displayed around London’s Kings Cross station from 12 July until 09 August www.acflondon.org/events/another-europe/