Daria Tuminas
Pass It On. Private Stories, Public Histories

FOTODOK invites artists Inge Meijer (NL), Lebohang Kganye (ZA), Marianne Ingleby (US/NL), and Pablo Lerma (ES/NL) to take over the space at Lange Nieuwstraat 7 for three months, and transform it into a dynamic space for them to work on ongoing projects, present their artistic processes, and lead one on one dialogues with our visitors.

The projects brought together within Pass It On all take family archives as a starting point. Kganye’s Ho thubeha ha lebone (A breakage of the Light) addresses her family’s pictures made during apartheid in South Africa. In A Garden Revisioned, Meijer discovers an archive of pre-wedding photographs at a wedding hall in Gwangju which functioned between 1988 and 2006, and laid unoccupied until it was demolished during the artist’s stay in South Korea. Ingleby’s Operation Detachment originates from boxes of photographs, negatives, and documents which she inherited from her grandfather Bruce Elkus, who was an official US Army photographer in 1945 Iwo Jima. Lastly, for It Doesn’t Stop at Images, initiated especially for Pass It On, Lerma dives into the IHLIA LGBTI Heritage’s collection, composing possible queer relations representations from visual materials he encounters there.

With Pass It On FOTODOK draws to a close its central theme of 2020: collective memory. Here, we will focus on intimate personal stories that reflect larger historical events or epochs. Visitors will witness how artists shape and give meaning to initially untamed and unstructured volumes of photographs. The installations will show how artists attempt to grasp, organise, interpret, and transform those images, and how they can construct counter-memories by allowing neglected or unknown images to rise to the surface, forming alternative histories.

The exhibition also poses questions about the role of the artist working with found footage. What is the relationship between an artist and an archive? Did the artist end up with a body of images through their own family, a ‘lucky discovery’, or from thorough research at an institution? What responsibilities and ethical questions do each of these cases imply? And finally, where do the borders between an artist, archivist, and curator lie?

In the context of the pandemic, FOTODOK searches for alternative ways to engage with its exhibition space, artists, and audience. We support artists by providing them with the framework for developing their ongoing works at the different stages of production. We offer to the audience an opportunity to enter a vulnerable space, where methods, plans and doubts are exposed, and where the artists themselves are present and available for dialogue. The exhibition becomes an open place where stories, feedback, and ideas can circulate and be passed from the artists to the visitors and back again.

Installation views: Studio Hans Wilschut.

The full virtual tour through the exhibition with additional materials such as video introductions by the artists, video and audio works, texts etc. can be found here.

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