Amsterdam, central canals. At 609 Keizersgracht, in a beautiful century-and-a-half-old house, you can find FOAM Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam, run by an internationally active organization in the field of photography and multimedia arts. Every 2-4 months on a regular basis the museum presents small exhibitions of two or three different international artists at the same time, giving visitors a chance to view work by both world-famous artists and up-and-coming talents.
The latest shows are by the Japanese artist Hiroshi Sugimoto, with Black Box, and London-based photographer Harley Weir with a set of works titled Boundaries. They offer a good opportunity to get in touch with what is happening on the international photography scene.
Black Box by Hiroshi Sugimoto is a solo show of about 34 large-format works in black and white, providing an overview of the last forty years of the artist’s career and looking forward to his future. Black Box is divided into five sections, representing the artist’s main series of works – Theaters, Lightning Fields, Dioramas, Portraits and Seascapes – which help us to understand that traditional methods of photography are not dead. Sugimoto avoids digital technology, using long exposure times and controlling everything on the set, representing his mental images like a group of sculptures. This is possible thanks to Sugimoto’s background: he studied sculpture, crafts, architecture, installation and, finally, photography. Pics like Bay of Sagami (1997), El Capitan Hollywood (1993) or Catherine of Aragon (1999) reflect his philosophy: every work is a composition of mental and surreal images. His images are “boxes” within scenarios that represent a theme, alluding to other hidden meanings.
The combination between art and tradition is also the key factor of Harley Weir‘s works in Boundaries. FOAM presents the first solo exhibition of this young artist from London (she is almost 29) and her approach to people, sexuality, and politics. This is another way to address current themes through traditional techniques. Weir uses only analogue cameras, printing the images by hand, working with lights, landscapes, the expressions of the people she meets, exploring the boundaries of what is politically correct: a half-naked female model in a fitting room, a young lady hiding her face with a fashionable scarf. Fashion and current events are narrated together: Harley Weir was discovered by the fashion industry, and since her breakthrough in 2014 she has worked for AnOther Magazine, i-D, Pop Magazine, Dazed & Confused, and shot campaigns for renowned fashion brands such as Maison Margiela and Calvin Klein.
Black Box by Hiroshi Sugimoto
on view until 8 March 2017
organized by Fundación MAPFRE and Aperture
Boundaries by Harley Weir
on view until 19 February 2017
1017 DS Amsterdam
In addition FOAM organizes workshops, publishes its own magazine and sells limited editions of photographs. You may order them via the museum’s webshop. The museum collaborates with MTV to present each year an annual show featuring the works of young talent.