Jaclyn Wright Receives The 1st Prize Of The PhMuseum 2024 Photography Grant

  • Published
    24 Apr 2024
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The American photographer explores the impacts and material traces of late capitalism and settler colonialism. Shelli Weiler receives the New Generation Prize. Discover all the judges' motivations and the selected projects of this 12th edition.

For the 12th edition of our annual grant dedicated to photography and visual language, an independent jury comprised of David Campany (Curator and Writer), Lebohang Kganye (Visual Artist and Photographer), Penelope Umbrico (Visual Artist), and Kensuke Koike (Visual Artist) has assigned the €5,000 PhMuseum 2024 Photography Grant Main Prize to American photographer Jaclyn Wright for her project High Visibility (Blaze Orange). Judge Kensuke Koike motivates the choice on behalf of the jury:

“The vibrant orange of Jaclyn Wright’s High Visibility catches my gaze and draws me in. The traces of various activities - photographs, maps, archival photos, installations, and performances - are unified and comfortably harmonized by the bright orange and its complementary color, blue. The viewer is naturally driven by the urge to try to understand the message intended by the artist. I’m impressed by the sensitivity with which the chaos is comfortably controlled, as well as the truly free approach to the photographic medium.”

The €2,000-second prize was claimed by Iranian photographer Kjavanmardi, who presented the project Spell Of The Caspian Lotus. Judge Lebohang Kganye comments on his work:

“Photographs enable us a glimpse into realities we aren’t experiencing. Though infested with many bewildering anomalies, Spell of the Caspian Lotus reflects an engaged visual vocabulary. Kjavanmardi gives more than just an eyewitness account of the environmental degradation of the Caspian Sea, eloquently highlighting exploitation and waste. The issue of territory and borders has always been linked to photography.”

With her work Dead Letter Room, American artist Allie Tsubota was granted the third prize of €1,000. Penelope Umbrico gives us a glimpse of the jury's reasoning:

“In Dead Letter Room, Allie Tsubota navigates between archives and her own images, and Japanese and English, creating shifts and fissures between these elements that perfectly speak to a distance in time, histories, and languages. The idea of missing, misinterpreted, or erased information is beautifully played out in the gaps and layers of material form in this work. Tsubota collapses, disrupts or breaks apart image and language, questioning our reliance on surviving information and dismantling assumptions of temporal continuity.”

The Main Prize Honourable Mentions were assigned to An Anatomy Of Fear by Alvaro Deprit, They Still Owe Him A Boat by Jono Terry, Anima Mundi by Máté Bartha, When The Sun Hits by Patricia Voulgaris, Non Fiction by Henri Kisielewski, and Between Hope And Dystopia by Maximilian Mann.

The New Generation Prize offering €2,000 was assigned to photographer Shelli Weiler who presented the project Techniques of the Liar, here analysed by judge David Campany:

“Shelli Weiler’s Techniques of the Liar takes us into an uncertain zone, where human behaviour seems like half-rehearsed ritual. Is this a fiction being documented? Or life being dramatized by the camera? Both. Weiler works as a film set photographer and special effects make-up artist, often on horror films in which violence against women is frequently part of the genre.  She’s interested in rote gesture and formula, but alert to chance and the contingencies of life.  Full of strange detail and clipped narrative, there’s a lot to look at, and a lot to think about here.”

Contrapasso by Massimiliano Corteselli, Ashes Of The Aeabian's Pearl by Valentin Joseph Valette, and Unnatural Collapse by Yuhang Jiang received the New Generation Prize Honourable Mentions.

PhEST's team granted a solo show at the coming edition of the Italian festival to Esperanto by Matthias Jung. Giovanni Troilo (PhEST Artistic Director) and Arianna Rinaldo (PhEST Photography Curator) explain how they selected the work that will be exhibited in Monopoli, Italy this summer:

“It is not easy to find the extraordinary in the ordinary. Matthias Jung does so, by discovering and documenting the life and human landscape of a small Belgian region where German speakers dreamt of creating an independent country right after World War II. With a strong and decisive use of black and white, Jung explores the descendants of those first dreamers who wanted to create a community united by the language Esperanto. Shot with respect, we smile while perceiving the sense of belonging and pride that permeates the glances of the people portrayed while they go about their daily chores and leisurely activities. We are entranced and immediately drawn in, and left with the desire to get to know them and pay a visit to the region to share and enjoy the idea of home and independence they convey.”

The exhibition at Getxo Photo Festival, which will take place in the Basque town this June, was awarded to Family by Ukrainian Spasi Sohrani. Maria Ptqk motivates her choice:

“Three years ago, Ukranian artist Spasi Sohrani started a photographic collaboration with her parents inverting the usual terms of the dressing-up game. ‘They are like those children whose mother puts them in front of the Christmas tree dressed in special clothes to take a photo for the family album. While the mother spends her time looking for the best angle, the girl looks at the camera with a frown because she is bored and she is uncomfortable dressed like this’, she says. For Sohrani, who began her career as an advertising photographer of objects, Family is a reinterpretation of the memories of parents and children from an adult perspective. Separated by war and with few occasions to meet, the project has become a channel to return to what each remembers from that common past.”

The solo show at PhMuseum Lab was awarded to That Moment When You Can See The Crack In The World by Swiss Matthieu Croizier. PhMuseum's Visual Editor Camilla Marrese commented:

“ 'A love letter to the abnormal, a farewell to the norm', Matthieu Croizier’s work sets bodies free from the way they are supposed to look like. He tilts and twists paradigms to shape a world where the horizon’s line isn’t straight, and flesh is not condemned to order. The words ‘beauty’ and ‘ugliness’ cease to mean much, monstrosity is reclaimed as tender and spectacular, queerness is a magical and constant act of mutation. If the images that we are used to seeing define the things we’re able to imagine, That Moment Where You Can See The Crack In The World suddenly expands the coordinates of what we feel is possible. Reality has opened up, free and in flux.”

A big thank you to all participants, jurors and organisations who supported this 12th edition. The 34 shortlisted projects of this 12th edition will be screened at Verzasca Photo 2024, Kranj Foto Fest 2024, and PhMuseum Days 2024, and many of them will be featured in the coming months. Meanwhile, enjoy all the selected and shortlisted projects at phmuseum.com/g24!

From High Visibility (Blaze Orange) © Jaclyn Wright
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From High Visibility (Blaze Orange) © Jaclyn Wright

From Spell Of The Caspian Lotus © Kjavanmardi
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From Spell Of The Caspian Lotus © Kjavanmardi

From Dead Letter Room © Allie Tsubota
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From Dead Letter Room © Allie Tsubota

From Techniques Of The Liar © Shelli Weiler
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From Techniques Of The Liar © Shelli Weiler

From Esperanto © Matthias Jung
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From Esperanto © Matthias Jung

From Family © Spasi Sohrani
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From Family © Spasi Sohrani

From That Moment When You Can See The Crack In The World © Matthieu Croizier
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From That Moment When You Can See The Crack In The World © Matthieu Croizier