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The Eye is a Lonely Hunter:
Images of Humankind


4. Fotofestival

10.09. — 11.11.11

Curators: Katerina Gregos and Solvej Helweg Ovesen

For the fourth time, from September 10–November 11, 2011 the three cities of Mannheim, Ludwigshafen and Heidelberg hosted Germany’s most exceptional photography festival.

Entitled THE EYE IS A LONELY HUNTER: IMAGES OF HUMANKIND, the exhibition included 56 artists from 32 countries, and was curated by Katerina Gregos (GR/BE) and Solvej Helweg Ovesen (DK/D). The 4. Fotofestival focused on the new and critical ways photography transports anthropological knowledge and aimed to be a photographic survey of the human condition as we entered the second decade of the 21st century, seen from a plurality of geographic angles, including Africa, the Americas, Europe and Asia. Using a variety of lens-based media, which reflect the expanded nature of contemporary photography, the artists’ works drew on the traditions of documentary, ethnographic and staged photography to critically reflect on the anthropological role of photography today, often taking as their point of departure a humanist perspective in the tradition of documentary photography. What would a portrait of humankind look like in 2011? What are some of the key issues and challenges facing humanity today and how are they represented? How can photography create empathy and evoke affect?

The title of the exhibition The Eye is a Lonely Hunter was inspired by Carson McCullers’ book “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter” (USA, 1940), in which the mistreated, rejected, marginalised and forgotten in society are given voice. Many artists in the exhibition operated as interdisciplinary researchers, spending time to gain in-depth knowledge about the context they live or worked within, in a process of long-term engagement. Their work explored the most important issues currently affecting humanity, the human condition and human experience in the light of post-colonial discourse, globalisation, multi-culturalism, and geo-political, economic and environmental shifts. In doing so, it reflects a renewed ethical engagement with photography and the issue of humanism.

Participating artists: Bani Abidi, Mac Adams, Ravi Agarwal, Said Atabekov, Sven Augustijnen, Roger Ballen, Olaf Otto Becker, Sofia Burchardi & Plamen Bontchev, Marie José Burki, Edward Burtynsky, Peggy Buth, Marianna Castillo Deball, Philippe Chancel, Chen Chieh-Jen, Gohar Dashti, Fouad Elkoury, Köken Ergun, Hasan & Husain Essop, Simon Fujiwara, Peter Funch, Agnes Geoffray, Alexandros Georgiou, Francesco Giusti, Geert Goiris, Igor Grubic, Cao Guimarães, Jacob Holdt, Pieter Hugo, Nicu Ilfoveanu, Gulnara Kasmalieva & Muratbek Djumaliev, Rinko Kawauchi, Panos Kokkinias, Aglaia Konrad, Heta Kuchka, Florian Maier-Aichen, Ryan McGinley, Vincent Meessen, Barbara Metselaar Berthold, Boris Mikhailov, Boniface Mwangi, TorbjØrn RØdland, Kirstine Roepstorff, Bruno Serralongue, Jeremy Shaw, Taryn Simon, Johan Spanner, Beat Streuli, Fiona Tan, Guy Tillim, Clemens von Wedemeyer, Tris Vonna-Michell, Paolo Woods, Yang Yongliang, Tobias Zielony.

An extensive fringe programme (portfolio reviews, lectures, guided tours and artists’ talks) accompanied the exhibitions, including the award ceremony of the noted Cultural Prize of the Germany Association of Photography (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Photographie / DGPh). The Cultural Prize 2011 was awarded to Prof. Klaus Honnef on October 8, 2011 at the Heidelberger Kunstverein.

Organiser: Fotofestival Mannheim_Ludwigshafen_Heidelberg e.V.

Established since 1993, the Fotofestival Mannheim_Ludwigshafen_Heidelberg e.V. has instigated an ongoing dialogue on contemporary trends in photography. The three participating cities Mannheim, Ludwigshafen, Heidelberg are part of the festival executive board.

A 240-page colour catalogue designed by Studio Manuel Raeder and published by Kehrer Verlag was produced to accompany the exhibition. It included texts by the curators as well as TJ Demos.

For further information click here.

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