Claude Samuel Zanele
26.10.2018 - 10.02.2019
Claude, Samuel, Zanele. Three photographers who train the lens on themselves three times as a window on the world. They each address issues about politics, race, gender and identity in a personal way.
Throughout her life, Claude Cahun (FR, 1894-1954) took photographs of herself that challenged preconceptions about gender and identity. Born Lucy Schwob into a Jewish family of publishers, she is known as a transgender avant-la-lettre, an outspoken opponent of Nazism and an active member of the surrealist art scene.
Samuel Fosso (NG/CM, 1962) started his own photography studio at the age of thirteen. He used remnants of film rolls to take his first self-portraits. Fosso communicates a clear political message by continually adopting new identities. Through his work, postcolonial freedom fighters finally have a place in the museum.
For the series Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail The Dark Lioness, visual activist Zanele Muholi (SA, 1972) uses their own body as a canvas to address personal and cultural politics of race. Each self-portrait, taken in (South) Africa, America, Europe and elsewhere, asks critical questions about social (in)justice, human rights, and contested representations of the Black body.*
* As a non-binary person, Zanele Muholi prefers to use the
non-gendered pronouns they/them/their. This exhibition is a
partnership with Autograph (London).
Curators: Rein Deslé, Joachim Naudtsen Renée Mussai (Autograph London)
26.10.2018 - 10.02.2019
Bieke Depoorter (BE, °1986) joined the renowned photography agency Magnum Photos in 2012. She already had an impressive career behind her at a young age. In her first solo exhibition for FOMU, Depoorter reveals a different side of herself: an artist at a turning point in her career. She questions her position as an image-maker and outsider in five separate projects, some of which are still ongoing.
While the night and moments when no one else seems to be looking continue to intrigue her, collaboration and dialogue now take centre stage. After years of photographing in Egypt, she returned with a first version of the book, to ask others to write directly onto her photographs. In As It May Be(2017), a dialogue commences between Egyptians and a voice is also given to people who would not otherwise have allowed themselves to be photographed. With the multimedia installation Sète#15 (2015) and the short film Dvalemodus (2017), Depoorter began to conceive her subjects as actors, projecting her own narratives onto factual environments.
Two projects in progress will also be shown at FOMU. Agata (2017-…) is a project in collaboration with a young woman whom Depoorter met in Paris. Both the photographer and the subject become contributors in the narrative. With Michael (2015-…), Depoorter almost finds herself in the role of detective in search of the life story of a man from Portland, Oregon. Following a brief but intense encounter, Depoorter received three suitcases full of collages and scraps of writing, after which the man disappeared without a trace.
Curator: Joachim Naudts
Collection In Transit
20.02.2018 - 10.02.2019
Preparations are underway for the large-scale relocation of FOMU’s collection to the new collection tower, the first low-energy depot for photography in Europe.
We are taking this opportunity to present a look behind the scenes at the work that goes into conserving a collection. The collection team will occupy a temporary transit zone that is open to the public.
Collection In Transit allows you to follow the objects on their journey to their new home as they are registered, described and restored. Observe all the aspects of collection conservation in the photography studio, restoration workshops and registration-unit.
Discover the stories – big and small – behind the pieces in the FOMU collection. Witness unexpected discoveries as the team processes a constant stream of old and new material.
Curators: Caroline Vincart and Tamara Berghmans
Camille Picquot - Young Belgian Photographer
29.06.2018 - 24.10.2018
In Camille Picquot’s (°FR, 1990) visual world, nothing is what it seems at first glance. Her images are striking, with their tight compositions and sharply contrasting colours. But there is always an element that causes unease: an unusual angle or a disturbing detail. From pleasantly curious, one starts to feel guarded.
Over the years, Camille Picquot has steadily built a coherent body of work that includes both film and photography. She walks the thin line between between truth and fiction by combining staging and coincidence. The viewer is drawn into an absurd universe replete with tension and unexpected turns. The exhibition presents three photography series, Domestic Flight, Total Ground and Images du dedans, and the film Hollow Hours, which was awarded a VAF Wildcard in 2016.
FOMU offers a platform for young Belgian photographers. Camille Picquot studied in Brussels and Ghent. Her first monograph, Domestic Flight (Art Paper Editions), is being released to accompany the exhibition. In 2019, the exhibition will travel to Vlaams Cultuurhuis de Brakke Grond in Amsterdam.
Curator: Rein Deslé
Paul Kooiker - Untitled (nude)
29.06.2018 - 07.10.2018
Untitled (nude) is the first major museum exhibition of Paul Kooiker’s (NL, °1964) work outside the Netherlands. This alternative retrospective, focused on “watching”, voyeurism and distance, draws the viewer into a confusing, destabilising creative and obsessive vacuum.
A new work that was created specially for FOMU takes centre stage: Eggs and Rarities (2018). This room-sized installation is Kooiker’s “encyclopaedia of life” and reads like a sampler of photography genres: landscape, nude, still life, etc. Public and private spaces merge into each other. Kooiker’s most baroque project, Sunday (2011), is inspired by the relationship between artist and model, observer and observed. As the viewer, you are obliged to ask questions and take a position (sometimes literally) on the objectification of the female body.
The Heaven series (2012) – a selection of 494 Polaroids from Kooiker’s analogue archive – gives us a glimpse into the artist’s engine room. FOMU is also showing a comprehensive overview of his publications, from the early Hunting and Fishing (1999) to more obscure works such as S/S 13 Island (2013), created for fashion designer Rick Owens. The exhibition Untitled (Nude) poses questions about both the role of the photographer and that of the viewer and their gaze.
In September 2018, the book to accompany the exhibition, Eggs and Rarities, will be co-published by Art Paper Editions, Dashwood Books and FOMU.
This exhibition is part of Antwerp Baroque 2018. Rubens inspires.
Curator: Joachim Naudts
31 days of .tiff
Highlighting Emerging Image Makers
29.06.2018 - 29.07.2018
Belgium bursts with photographic talent. In response FOMU launched a platform for inspiring young Belgian photographers: .tiff. This summer we highlight 10 of the very best up-and-coming image makers from .tiff 2017: Alexey Shlyk, Arnaud De Wolf, Calixte Poncelet, Jeroen Bocken, Maria Baoli, Massao Mascaro, Pauline Beugnies, Pauline Niks, Sine Van Menxel and Thomas Nolf. This presentation is part of Futures a European collective striving to make sure young photographic talent does not pass by unnoticed
This presentation is part of Futures a European collective striving to make sure young photographic talent does not pass by unnoticed. FOMU is a founding member of Futures. Together with our 9 fellow founding members we create a network of artists, experts and resources to push European photography even further.
Futures is a collaboration of: British Journal of Photography (UK), CAMERA (IT), Hyères Festival (FR), FOMU (BE), Fotofestiwal Lodz (PL), PHotoESPAÑA (ES), PhotoIreland (IR), Photo Romania Festival (RO), Robert Capa Contemporary Photography, Center (HU) enTriennial of Photography Hamburg (DE).
Harry Gruyaert - Retrospective
09.03.2018 - 10.06.2018
Harry Gruyaert (Antwerp, °1941) is one of the most well known photographers in Belgium. A pioneer of colour photography, Gruyaert has been a distinguished member of the renowned photography agency Magnum since 1982. The FOMU retrospective presents a broad overview of his work and shines a light on some of its more surprising aspects.
Gruyaert’s iconic images are the focal point of the exhibition. Each photograph reveals his unique universe, constructed from a flawless feeling for colour, light and composition. Gruyaert travels the world in a single-minded quest for the beauty of the everyday.
The photographer’s poetic language is very much in evidence in three series: Rivages (2003), which incorporates images of the horizon and the sea; the recent publication East West (2017), which opposes the colour palettes of Moscow in 1989 and Las Vegas and Los Angeles in 1981; and the conceptual TV Shots (1974), which is considered by Gruyaert himself as his most journalistic piece of work, displayed at FOMU in the form of a video installation.
Gruyaert’s trademark is his masterful use of colour photography and his beloved Kodachrome film. But the FOMU exhibition also shows his versatility and focuses on elements of his career that are relatively unknown: early black-and-white work, a fashion campaign for Hermès, covers for the Penguin pocket editions of Georges Simenon, a homage to filmmaker Michelangelo Antonioni, family photos and a diverse selection of commissioned work.
Harry Gruyaert – Retrospective offers a comprehensive summary of an acclaimed career. It presents a poetic narrative, in which colour and light play the leading roles and photography does what it does best: creating “the conditions for a miracle”.
Curators: Rein Deslé and Joachim Naudts
A Photographic Investigation - Mathieu
09.03.2018 - 10.06.2018
The multinational Monsanto® has been causing controversy for many years. Today, the biotechnology company is best known as the market leader in genetically modified seeds and the much-discussed herbicide Roundup. Mathieu Asselin (FR, °1973) has been investigating the impact of Monsanto’s® activities on people and nature for over five years.
He has photographed dumpsites in the United States, portrayed Vietnamese and American victims of the defoliant Agent Orange and exposes lobbying practices. Asselin employs photographs, advertisements, news items and many other resources to provide a clear, nuanced picture of the company’s historical behaviour - in the hope that this will give us an idea of what to expect in the future.
In 2017, the acquisition of Monsanto® by the German chemical company Bayer was announced. To date, the European Commission has not approved this takeover. Environmental organizations, scientists and human rights organizations warn of the far-reaching effects of such a monstrous merger for agriculture in the world, since “who controls food controls the people” (Henry Kissinger).
The publication Monsanto®: A Photographic Investigation (Acts Sud / Kehrer Verlag) was awarded the Aperture First PhotoBook Award last year and has been nominated for the prestigious Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2018.
The exhibition is a collaboration with Les Rencontres d’Arles.
Curators: Rein Deslé and Sergio Valenzuela Escobedo
Ai Weiwei - Mirror
27.10.2017 - 18.02.2018
From 27 October 2017 until 18 February 2018, FOMU presents the first photo exhibition of Chinese visual artist and political activist Ai Weiwei in Belgium.
Ai’s radical visual critique of human rights violations, abuse of power, and the unchecked state control of the Chinese government in particular has made him into one of the world’s most important contemporary artists.
Although he is often characterized as a Chinese “dissident”, he primarily sees his activism and critique against the Chinese government as a defense of the universal values of free speech and freedom of expression.
Photography plays a crucial role in Ai’s work. The exhibition at FOMU includes both seminal political statements such as Study of Perspective (1995-2011) and his daily stream of selfies and snapshots on social media. On Twitter and Instagram, Ai recorded the years he spent under constant surveillance by the Chinese government, he documents his art and the people he encounters, and shows his ongoing commitment to pressing social and political issues, including the worldwide refugee condition. Ai Weiwei is unafraid to stand up against authority, denounce abuses and expose unbalanced power relations – and always does so with grand poetic gestures and a great sense of irony.
Designed by the artist himself, the exhibition at FOMU presents a thought-provoking overview of Ai Weiwei’s photographic work from the 1990s until today.
Curator: Ai Weiwei
Ebifananyi - Andrea Stultiens
27.10.2017 - 18.02.2018
The noun Ebifananyi is derived from the verb Kufanana, which means “to resemble”. Ebifananyi is the Luganda word for drawings, paintings and photographs.
In 2011, Andrea Stultiens (NL) and R. Canon Griffin (UG) founded the History in Progress Uganda platform. Under this name, they document historical Ugandan photography collections in their current state.
Stultiens’ role alternates between documentalist and artist and curator. Both personal records and the work of Ugandan photographers, Western colonists and missionaries of the past are being amassed. Having chosen a multi-vocal approach, she invites contemporary artists to help activate the visual material. The results so far are presented in eight intimate publications entitled Ebifananyi and have been shown in numerous small exhibitions in Uganda and Northern Europe.
The FOMU presentation brings together for the first time all the photography collections upon which the publications are based. They demonstrate the wide variety of narrative potential for historical footage. The exhibition also provides insight into responses to the collections in Uganda itself. Stultiens thus aims to show how photographic images in this East African country are being used and questions the stereotypical imagery that is associated with Africa.
This exhibition was organised in partnership with Paradox.
Curators: Andrea Stultiens, Joachim Naudts (FOMU, BE) and Bas Vroege (Paradox, NL)