European Month of Photography
Press Release, June 2022
After Rethinking Nature (2021), the curatorial team of EMOP choose the theme of Rethinking Identity for 2023 in order to show the importance of this current topic in the context of contemporary photography. More than ever, the role of photography and its dissemination in social networks in the construction and deconstruction of identities is crucial nowadays.
From around 40 artistic positions proposed and discussed by the curators of the EMOP network within the framework of the theme “Rethinking Identity”, the following five outstanding artists, all living and working in Europe, are nominated for the EMOP Arendt Award 2023:
CIHAN CAKMAK, ULLA DEVENTER, JOJO GRONOSTAY, LIVIA MELZI and KAROLINA WOJTAS
In their artistic work, the nominated artists bear witness to this new, reflected awareness of politically, socially and culturally imposed identity policies.
The EMOP Arendt Award is a prestigious award created in 2013 for emerging visual artists with strong artistic skills and a developing photographic practice. The prize is worth € 6,000 and is sponsored by the Luxembourg law firm Arendt. The winner will be announced in April 2023 at the Arendt House in Luxembourg during the European Month of Photography in Luxembourg, where all nominated artists will be exhibited and invited to attend the exhibition and award ceremony. Additionally, a publication with monographic zines will be published.
Curatorial statement: RETHINKING IDENTITY
Rethinking identity can take us down different paths. When we talk about identity, we tend to think about human identity. What kind of characteristics identify us? Outwardly, we present our physiognomy, and we are classified according to skin colour, gender, eye colour, hairstyle, and so on. But the concept becomes more complex when we move to the psychological state of the individual. What do we identify with? Which identity attributions distinguish us, do we reject, do we discard, which ones do we want to change or dissolve. There, a set of variants are based, ranging from aspects intrinsic to the individual, to the education received and to the socialization process. Therefore, to the physical identity of each person, there is added the whole set of experiences, traumas, memories and relationships that form the identity of each one of us. Identity is built as the socialization process evolves. We establish relationships that influence us, experiences and traumas that mark us. However, in addition to individual identity, other typologies of this concept can be addressed.
The cultural identity that can be shaped in small indigenous communities, certain ethnic groups or even a certain territorial identity. As an example, we can consider the Sami people in Northern Europe, the communities of the Amazon, the Australian Aboriginals or even the Bantu in Africa.
In the legacy of the colonial period, several European nations sought to impose their culture on the colonized peoples and, with this policy, annul their cultural identity. However, many of these cultures resisted and maintained, in an exposed or camouflaged way, their cultural identity, for example through language, stories, some ancestral rituals or customs. Today, much of the cultural heritage of the colonized peoples makes part of European museum collections. But, often, there are also small objects, with marked symbolic value that are recovered and remembered in current artistic practices.
In a different way, we have different territorial identities, which are a consequence either of natural phenomena or direct human action in the environment where we are raised or where we are living, The arctic region, the rainforest or the desert shape different territorial identities.
In an increasingly global world, we observe that different identities are losing their original matrix through different processes of contamination that generate new identities.
Curatorial team of the European Month of Photography network:
CIRCULATION(S), Paris: Emmanuelle Halkin (Collectif Fetart)
EMOP BERLIN, Berlin: Maren Lübbke-Tidow
MOIS EUROPÉEN DE LA PHOTOGRAPHIE, Luxembourg: Paul di Felice
FOTO WIEN, Vienna: Verena Kaspar-Eisert
IMAGO LISBOA, Lisbon: Rui Prata
PHOTO BRUSSELS FESTIVAL, Brussels: Delphine Dumont
For further information, please contact:
Paul di Felice firstname.lastname@example.org
director of MOIS EUROPÉEN DE LA PHOTOGRAPHIE Luxembourg and president of EMOP
Verena Kaspar-Eisert email@example.com
curator of FOTO WIEN and vice-president of EMOP