When Photo London launched at Somerset House in 2014 it had the ambition, according to co-founder Michael Benson, “to utterly transform the photography audience”. Modelled as photography’s answer to Frieze – in London at least – the fair brings together the work of photographers, mainly established but also emerging, under one roof. With the exception of a programme of special exhibitions and installations, everything at Photo London has a price tag.
This year, the fifth instalment of the fair brings together almost 100 galleries hailing from 21 countries around the world – its largest global reach to date. But beyond the fair itself is a wide range of satellite events and exhibitions, the majority of which are unconnected to the fair but timed to coincide. When Peckham 24 launched in 2016 it gave new direction to the event, a shift away from the pristine gallery walls of Somerset House, and paved the way for a host of smaller, independent shows and installations to pop up across the capital.
Below, BJP-online picks out a selection of artists and exhibitions that are worth a visit in 2019. This is by no means a definitive guide, but it may well be a good place to start.
PHOTO LONDON FAIR
Eamonn Doyle’s panoramic nine-screen installation Made in Dublin brings together the photographer’s images, Niall Sweeney’s production design, music by David Donohoe and the words and voice of Kevin Barry. Shown earlier this year in Dublin, the work is a choreography of the city; its population, body and psyche, presenting a continually changing cycle of events.
The River Rooms, Somerset House
16 May – 19 May
Dedicated to emerging galleries, the Discovery section presents 23 global galleries, curated by Tristan Lund. Among them is Almanaque Fotografica (Mexico City), a gallery founded in 2016. It presents the work of Fernando Bayona, an up-and-coming Spanish photographer, whose cinematic images from his series The life of the other explores identity and repressed desire. The gallery is also showing work by Danila Tkachenko and Tania Franco Klein. Just behind is Photon Gallery (Slovenia), established in 2003 to promote artists from Central and South-Eastern Europe. It is showing work by Rudolf Sikora, Stane Jagodic, and Vanja Bucan whose work explores urban and rural landscape in south Morocco. Other highlights include a large selection of work from Max Pinckers’ Margins of Excess and Red Ink at Gallery Sofie Van De Velde (Belgium), Benjamin Deroche at H Gallery (Paris), Kenta Cobayashi at Metronom Modena (Italy) and Ivars Gravlejs at Careva Contemporary (Riga).
For those who could see beyond the surface at Copeland Gallery
A multisensory exhibition built around themes of history, rituals, and community comprises work by Marianne Bjørnmyr, Maja Daniels, Katrin Koenning, Raymond Meeks, Alexander Mourant and Tenzing Dakpa. Curated by Emma Bowkett, it considers community as a fluid and complex concept, with projects that seek to engage in a deeper understanding of our own place within it. Tenzing Dapka’s images are shot in his family’s hotel, producing a sense of detachment but also familiarity, while Maja Daniels’ work is rooted in the mysteries that surround a village in rural Sweden. Through photography, sculpture, film, and sound, the six artists reveal personal feelings of isolation and displacement, navigating and questioning the strangeness of everyday life.
Copeland Gallery, Peckham 24
17 – 19 May
Photographic Memory by Baud Postma
Baud Potsma will be exhibiting a series of re-photographed desert images taken over a decade ago. “My work often relates to my interest in photography’s complicated relationship with authenticity,” he tells BJP-Online. His series was inspired by Lawrence of Arabia. Potsma created the work while he re-watched and photographed the 1962 film while simultaneously re-photographing his own work. “I was able to examine how the film – and perhaps Orientalism more generally – has influenced my own view of the desert,” he says.
Safehouse 2, Copeland Gallery, Peckham 24
17 – 19 May
Violence Religion Injustice Death by Martin Seeds
Martin Seeds’ large-scale installation presents over 190 silver gelatin prints of balaclava ski masks. Seeds was brought up in the 1970s and 1980s in Belfast, during the height of The Troubles. The series marks a new chapter in the photographer’s practice, driven by his fears that Brexit could lead to a complete unravelling of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, returning to the violence that pervaded his early life. The exhibition also includes new work from Disagreements, part of a long-term project made in the grounds of the Stormont Estate, home of the Northern Ireland Assembly in Belfast.
Seen Fifteen, Copeland Gallery, Peckham 24
17 – 19 May
FOAM Talent returns to Beaconsfield Gallery in Vauxhall, London, to present an exhibition of 20 emerging artists selected through their annual open call.
In his ongoing project Unfinished Topography / Collection, Takashi Kawashima combines fragments of narratives and images to make sense of the effects of natural disasters, and how national memory is shaped by them. The project focuses on volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and tsunamis as sources of rupture. Kawashima creates work that points to the absence and trauma left in its wake; he while also weaving in personal stories and recollections as a method of reconciling these events.
Beaconsfield Gallery, Vauxhall
15 May – 16 June
One of this year’s BJP Ones to Watch, Valentine Bo’s mockumentary, Your Next Step Would Be To Do The Transmission, builds a fictional narrative around a cult-like religion founded in 1974. The religion is rooted in the belief that humans were put on Earth by extraterrestrials. Employing sets, props and 3D printers, Bo has constructed sexualised body parts positioned among the vacant stares of real people.
Beaconsfield Gallery, Vauxhall
15 May – 16 June
The satellite book fair returns to Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall from Friday to Sunday, hosting 130 independent and self-publishers from 17 different – predominantly European – countries. The fair is, somewhat aptly, elusive online but information on various book signings and print sales can be found across social media, and information on talks here.
Offprint is open from 2pm until 10pm on Friday 17 and Saturday 18 May, and 11am until 6pm on Sunday 19 May
Jamie Hawkesworth’s A Short Pleasurable Journey, Part 2
Jamie Hawkesworth’s latest exhibition A Short Pleasurable journey, Part 2 comprises 86 photographs, and a film, shot over three weeks around the Romanian commune, Floresti. The series embodies Hawkesworth’s experience of the place. Including colour and black-and-white images spanning a range of sizes, the exhibition takes us on a journey. “I wanted to give a sense of me exploring: you don’t just have these one off, standalone images, but you see every step along the way,” said Hawkesworth in a recent interview with BJP-online. “It goes deeper and deeper into that momentum.
1-7 Aylesbury Street
The winner of the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2019 (announced on 16 May) is exhibiting work from Kurdistan/akaKurdistan – her ongoing project exploring the Kurdish diaspora. The series spans a range of media, comprising a book –Kurdistan: In the Shadow of History – a website –akaKurdistan – and a story map, displaying booklets with the stories and memories of Kurds from around the world. “In Central America, I was capturing the protagonists in the streets making history,” said Meiselas in a recent interview with BJP-online. “I could not photograph in the present, what had happened in the Kurdish past, so that led me to begin a search for the work of image makers who had come before me.” The work is on show as part of the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize exhibition that also features projects by shortlisted photographers Mark Ruwedel, Arwed Messmer and Laia Abril.
The Photographers’ Gallery
08 March – 02 June
Palm* Photo Prize 2019
Work by the 100 artists shortlisted for the 2019 Palm* Photo Prize is on show at the theprintspace gallery in east London. The line-up of featured photographers include Melbourne-based Sarah Pannell, Lewis Khan, and one of last year’s Carte Blanche recipients, Kata Geibl.
14 and 17 May