In Focus: Behind the scenes with the Unbound artists at Unseen Amsterdam

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Marcin Dudek, Trans Hooligans, courtesy of Ron mandos gallery and Harlan Levey, Unbound 2022

In a short film produced by Unseen Amsterdam and Canal 180 in collaboration with British Journal of Photography, we revisit key highlights of this year’s Unbound exhibition, guest-curated by Damarice Amao

This September, Unseen Amsterdam celebrated its 10th edition. The main programme was accompanied by Unbound, dedicated to exploring “the outer limits of the photographic universe”.  The Unbound Foundation is an independent extension of the photofair founded last year by returning director Roderick van der Lee. “In a digital age, as a viewer, it’s very nice to be in an environment that completely engulfs you and is a physical sensory experience of photography,” he says.


Each year, Unbound invites a guest curator to select new and exciting works to expand the programme. In 2021, Marcel Feil, former artistic director of Foam Museum in Amsterdam, displayed his group exhibition titled Filling the Cracks. This year saw Damarice Amao, curator of photography at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, select 12 projects out of over 30 ambitious proposals, for her exhibition Alternative Realities. “The exhibition is an attempt to put into perspective the issues of current photographic production and to weave between various projects – formal, conceptual, theoretical narratives that the structure of a fair, with its organisation and its commercial obligations, does not allow,” says Amao.  


In terms of their career trajectory, generation and artistic interests, few common points united the artists selected for this year’s edition of Unbound. However, each of the proposals revealed a mastery of their discipline and a will to expand its limits, most often thanks to the possibilities offered by innovative resources stemming from digital technologies. The hybridization of practices that are well established in the artistic landscape – installation, film, sculpture, video, performance and photography in all its possibilities of augmentation – was placed at the service of new representations of complex contemporary realities. 


Thus, projects questioning the nature and construction of images in the digital age, such as Jaya Pelpeussy’s layered projection of exotic birds and Jaehun Park’s 3D video installation looking at world crises, stood alongside autobiographical and intimate subtexts offering stimulating reflections on the construction of identity; see Neoza Goffin immersive installation exploring ritual and touch, and Marcin Dudek’s visualisation of violence and hooliganism. Installations also took a critical look at current social realities, inviting the visitor to consider intriguing narratives and formal side roads without sacrificing the search for meaning, as we saw with Poulomi Basu’s The Moon Palace. Anna Malagrida, Laura Hospes, Laurence Aegerter, Lucile Boiron, Michel Lamoller and Vita Buivid complete the selection.


Editing: Carolina Ribeiro

Camera: Bauti Godoy, Carolina Ribeiro, Nicole Gonçalves

Production and Interview: Nicole Gonçalves

Translation and Subtitles: Cláudia Alegrete

Graphics: Vanda Novo