Vuyelwa Vuvu Makubetse, Daveyton Johannesburg, from the series ‘Faces and Phases’, 2013 © Zanele MuholiMikhael Subotzky (b. 1981, South Africa) and Patrick Waterhouse (b. 1981, UK) for their publication Ponte City (Steidl, 2014). The 54-floor apartment block in Johannesburg was built in 1976 for the white elite under apartheid rule. During the political transition in the 1980s and 90s, it became a refuge for black newcomers to the city and immigrants from all over Africa. Over the yearse decline and neglect led to it being positioned as the prime symbol of urban decay in the city and the supposed epicentre of crime, prostitution and drug dealing. Subotzky and Waterhouse began their project in 2007 working with the remaining residents, after a failed regeneration project. Through photographs, architectural plans, and archival and historical material Subotzky and Waterhouse created an intimate and evocative social portrait of the building’s community of residents and their culture. An additional sequence of seventeen booklets containing essays and personal stories complete the visual and spatial narrative of this Johannesburg landmark. Viviane Sassen (b. 1972, Netherlands) for her exhibition Umbra at Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam (8 March – 1 June 2014). The exhibition presented abstract photography, drawings and light installations accompanied by specially commissioned poems from artist and poet, Maria Barnas. Sassen’s distinctive and experimental approach to images foregrounds vivid colour alongside stark contrasts of light and shade in sculptural compositions where form and content verge on abstraction. In Umbra, Latin for shadow, the characteristic qualities of Sassen’s work support darker sensibilities, informed by the Jungian theory of the ‘shadow self’. This notion taps into personal fear, desire and shame as well as expressing more abstract concepts of the unknown, time and death.
Axiom GB01, from the series ‘Axiom’, 2014 © Viviane Sassen
The members of the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2015 jury are: Chris Boot, Executive Director, Aperture Foundation; Rineke Dijkstra, Artist; Peter Gorschlüter, Deputy Director, MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst and Anne Marie Beckmann, Curator, Art Collection Deutsche Börse.
Brett Rogers, Director of The Photographers’ Gallery, and non-voting Chair of the Jury said: This year’s shortlist reflects a diversity of attitudes towards the medium underpinned by an exploration into new and unexpected modes of presentation. The tension between public and private as a point of enquiry is reflected in the work of Nikolai Bakharev,whose images of Russian bathers expose the political hypocrisy around permitted imagery in the former USSR. Similarly in the work of Zanele Muholi, the personal and political become interwoven in her tender, unflinching portraits and testimonies of the South African LGBTI community. South African political and social issues are also featured in the work of Mikhael Subotzky and Patrick Waterhouse. Their collaborative publication presents an album of images and texts, uncovering the history of a once elite, now abandoned high-rise apartment block in Johannesburg. And finally, Viviane Sassen’s sculptural, abstract, sensual images continue to effect the blurring of genres, which characterise her work and position her as a leading force in contemporary photography.Frank Klaas, Managing Director Global Public Affairs, Deutsche Börse said: We are delighted to announce this year’s shortlist for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2015. The four artists showcase the broad artistic approaches, social documentary concerns and imaginative use of form and content that this prize celebrates. We are particularly pleased that the exhibition will be presented for the first time in Frankfurt’s MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst. The winner will be announced at a special award ceremony held at The Photographers’ Gallery on 28 May 2015.