Deutsche Börse: Universal Systems

Deutsche Börse: Universal Systems

Information networks are pervasive in the digital age. The four artists shortlisted for the annual Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize, Mathieu Asselin (b. 1973), Rafal Milach (b. 1978), Batia Suter (b. 1967) and Luke Willis Thompson (b. 1988), offer diverse perspectives on the representation and handling of knowledge. Each responding to ideas of visibility and concealment, their contributions are rooted in the present moment, and will be exhibited at The Photographers’ Gallery, London, from 23 February until 3 June, and MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt, as part of RAY 2018, which runs from 24 May until 9 September.

Asselin’s Monsanto: A Photographic Investigation, provides an in-depth critique of the international biotech company. Combining documents and snapshots that reveal the social, economic and ecological impact of Monsanto’s growth, the project takes a resolute approach that transports the viewer through Vietnam and the US. Uncovering the human cost of the firm’s practices, Asselin records the people and locales affected. In a similar way, Milach’s Refusal explores mechanisms of control through an enquiry into depictions of propaganda. With a focus on post-Soviet countries including Belarus, Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Poland, the series showcases architecture, urban projects and objects.

Suter’s Parallel Encyclopaedia #2, comprises a selection of found images from 1000 diverse publications. Examining textual and visual culture, the work highlights the process of consumption. By taking these documents out of their original context, the artist challenges notions of meaning, highlighting the ways in which messages can be easily manipulated. Exploring the relationship between media culture and racial power struggles, Willis Thompson’s 35mm film, autoportrait, is a silent representation of Diamond Reynolds. Acting as a “sister-image” to a widely-circulated Facebook Live broadcast – which was subsequently dismissed by a jury – recording the moments following her partner’s shooting by police, the piece is multi-layered and complex.

Exhibition runs from 23 February. Winners announced 17 May.

Find out more:

1. Rafal Milach, Anaklia, Georgia, 2013 © Rafal Milach. Courtesy of the artist.