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.tiff 2021 - Emerging Belgian Photography

Magazine for young Belgian photographers

The concept may seem simple: ten artists each present their work in the form of a poster. But this compilation is more than the sum of its parts: it becomes a small-scale exhibition on paper ‒ one that can be pulled apart, unfolded, flipped over and rearranged so that it is the reader who is in charge of how the images interrelate.

This concept has not changed since.tiff was launched in 2012. What has evolved, however, is the scope of the project. Over the years, .tiff has morphed into a platform for supporting upcoming artists. The participants are offered a year-long trajectory that includes presentations, conversations with experts and exhibitions. FOMU puts its network, expertise and other resources at their disposal as a stimulus to further development of their artistic practice and personal vision.

Selected artists for .tiff 2021:
Aurélie Bayad, Sébastien Cuvelier, Michiel De Cleene, Youqine Lefèvre, Lucas Leffler, Kamel Moussa, Joud Toamah, Josephina van de Water, Erien Withouck & Ugo Woatzi

For the selection process, FOMU reaches out to a large number of experts within the Belgian photography scene and to participants of previous years. They are all asked to nominate three photographers. This combination of the experienced voice of photography experts and the insight of talented artists results in a longlist of photographers from a diverse range of backgrounds. After extensive deliberation, our team at FOMU strives to establish a final selection of ten photographers that reflects the heterogeneity of the Belgian photographic landscape.

The most important selection criterion, however, is whether the candidates will actually benefit from our support at this point in their careers. In a cultural climate that fetishizes youth and commodifies talent, upcoming artists are easily exploited, which is why FOMU adopts a critical attitude towards its own position in this narrative as an established institution.

Over the years, .tiff has succeeded in building a Belgian photography community that breaches language barriers and allows for an exchange of ideas and insights between artists, curators, critics and researchers. The current selection shows that this community is still growing and that Belgian photography will continue to reinvent itself for many years to come.

Buy .tiff magazine (€4) at www.shop.fomu.be or in the museum.

.tiff is part of Futures a European collective striving to make sure young photographic talent does not pass by unnoticed. FOMU is a founding member of Futures. Together with our 9 fellow founding members we create a network of artists, experts and resources to push European photography even further..

Aurélie Bayad

Aurélie Bayad

'With a raw imagery, a bit of leg hair and a strong taste for the strange and disturbing, Aurélie Bayad (FR, °1994) models and shapes bodies in front of the camera. Hers, or those of other people. With her, everything is a pretext for a new shoot: a song, the discovery of an incongruous place, or even a new accessory. She just manages to catch the attention of the viewer in a round-trip between voyeurism, exhibitionism and intimacy in the age of the internet.' - Céline Mathieu voor Vice magazine

www.aureliebayad.com

Sebastien Cuvelier Paradise City 01

Sébastien Cuvelier

With In Paradise City, Sebastien Cuvelier (BE, °1975) turns our attention to modern Iran. We are guided by a travel log, written by his uncle, who travelled to Persepolis fifty years ago. The word paradise has its roots in the old-Persian Paridaia (walled garden). Since the revolution in 1979, the government has ruled with an iron hand.

Cuvelier is moved by the many encounters with young Iranians, and witnesses the weight of their country’s history, but also their sense of romance. He translates these experiences into fleeting, romantic images in which he attempts to capture the search for paradise.

www.sebweb.org

Michiel De Cleene

Michiel De Cleene

With Reference Guide, Michiel De Cleene (BE, °1988) invites you to find your way in a web of images. The work unfolds as an open system allowing spectators to make their own connections, based on the cross-references provided by De Cleene.

This search can be compared with the way in which you flick through an encyclopaedia, or search the internet using an online search engine. An action that can take you from heart to aorta to surgeon to scalpel to blade to axe to forest management, all the way to silver birch, or – in the event of other choices – to windmill, an oil painting, the moon or a ship’s keel.

www.michieldecleene.be

Youqine Lefèvre

Youqine Lefèvre

The Land of Promises is founded on Youqine Lefèvre’s (CN, °1993) very own adoption story. In 2017, she returns to China for the very first time, to discover the culture and history of her birthplace for herself.

As from 1979, Chinese government policy limited families to a single child, in an effort to prevent overpopulation. This measure led to the mass international adoption of Chinese girls. Since 2015, the Chinese government has raised the restriction to two children per family. Meanwhile, this generation of girls has grown up and is left with unanswered questions. Lefèvre looks beyond her personal family archive and tells her own story in The Land of Promises.

www.youqinelefevre.com

Lucas Leffler

Lucas Leffler

Lucas Leffler (BE, °1993) starts his research in the archives of Agfa–Gevaert. This factory, located in Mortsel in the district of Antwerp, was a famous producer of photographic rolls and other material for amateur and professional photographers. During his search in the company’s archives, Leffler stumbles upon the tale of the ‘Silver stream’. One of the employees was said to have earned a fortune by mining silver from the nearby stream. This silver, a material used in various photographic procedures, was dumped in the stream by the factory. Leffler treats oxidised steel plates with light-sensitive emulsion on which the factory site is pictured. In addition, Leffler photographs the Silver stream and prints them off using mud from the stream.

www.lucasleffler.com

Kamel Moussa

Kamel Moussa

In Graveyard for the anonymous, Kamel Moussa (TN, °1981) observes the Tunisian fisherman Chemseddine Marzoug. People die on a daily basis as they attempt to cross the Mediterranean, in their search for a better life in Europe. Touched by this tragedy, Marzoug decides to honour the lifeless bodies washed up on the beach by giving them a proper grave. In doing so, he gives those left behind a place to grieve. He also supports survivors in rebuilding their lives and gaining a future with dignity. Along the way, Moussa takes portraits of the people stranded in this purgatory.

www.kamelmoussa.com

Joud Toamah

Joud Toamah

Joud Toamah (SY, °1992) finds inspiration for this work in the photo albums of friends and family from Syria and the diaspora. We increasingly capture precious family moments with our smartphones, causing traditional albums to go digital. With her video work, Toamah makes layered compositions by lining up the various phases in digitisation and sharing. In doing so, she uses visual poetry to clearly narrate the importance of physical and digital encounters.

cargocollective.com/joudtoamah

Josephina van de Water

Josephina van de Water

The lost paracosmist is an animated film by Josephina van de Water (NL, °1985). She transports us to her imaginary island Paperland. Its inhabitants are a group of colourful animals, made out of cardboard by van de Water. She photographs the animals in a decor and scans in her images. Each frame is then carefully coloured by hand. Having completed this painstaking process, she lines the images back-to-back in a video montage.

Van de Waters’ characters give a childish impression, but nothing could be further from the truth. The island’s inhabitants are confronted with the major issues facing every society, such as religion, territorial disputes, exclusion and inequality. A naive world at first sight, yet actually very close to our own reality.

www.josephinavdw.com

Erien Withouck

Erien Withouck

Folklore and underexposed female figures provide inspiration for the work by Erien Withouck (BE, 1994). During a journey to the Shetland Isles, local inhabitants share their stories of the Selkie, a mythical figure with the skin of a seal concealing a human form.

For On wind knots, Withouck listens to tales on the North Sea ferry. In one narrative she discovers the mythical meaning of knots and how they can affect the weather at sea. Legend has it that women, or witches, sold ropes with three knots to fisherman, which would cause the wind to stir. For Withouck, this story forms the foundation of a stream of associations.

www.erienwithouck.com

Ugo Woatzi

Ugo Woatzi

One of the most unique characteristics of a chameleon is its ability to change colour and adapt to its environment. For Ugo Woatzi (FR, °1991), Chameleon is a metaphor for concealing your own identity. In a heteronormative society, many people adapt to their environment. Using various accessories, Woatzi creates scenes which celebrate masculinity in all its forms. With his work, he wishes to encourage the queer community to show themselves and be proud of who they are.

www.ugowoatzi.com