Projects and Collaborations
Offering a visual and creative response to the question “and where are we now?”, European Prospects: Visual Explorations in an Undiscovered Continent is a two year collaborative project involving key arts organisations in Wales, Germany, Lithuania and France which uses photography and contemporary art to examine questions of identity and experience in an enlarged European Union. The core partners are Ffotogallery in Cardiff, Fotosommer in Stuttgart, the Lithuanian Photographers Association in Kaunas and Le Château d’Eau in Toulouse, all based in European cities that have undergone major economic and social transformation. The project offers a new space for European artists and cultural agents to share experience and practice, and achieve wider exposure in Europe for their work.
The programme has received financial support from the European Cultural Foundation, The European Union Culture Programme, Wales Arts International, the State Capital Stuttgart and Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts Baden Wurttemberg.
I See Europe, an accompanying exhibition at the Kunstbezirk Gustav-Siegle-Haus, was launched on 16 August and presents 19 European photographers taking their personal look at Europe as lived and turning their observations into a multi-faceted photo essay. The artists exhibiting work are Arnis Balcus (Latvia), Katharina Gaenssler (Germany), Julian Germain (UK), Ken Grant (UK), Martin Kollar (Slovakia), Geraldine Lay (France), Eva Leitolf (Germany), Frederic Lezmi (Germany), Søren Lose (Denmark), Andreas Meichsner (Germany), James Morris (UK), Marcella Müller (Germany), Krzysztof Pacholak (Poland), Jordis Antonia Schlösser (Germany), Volker Schrank (Germany), Corinne Silva (UK), Laurenz Theinert (Germany), Remigijus Treigys (Lithuania) and Arturas Valiauga (Lithuania). At the exhibition opening, a 2,000 Euro special award, sponsored by Südwestbank AG, was presented to Andreas Meichsner for his project Arkadia, which examines life in Dutch holiday home parks.
European Prospects moved to Stuttgart on 15 – 17 August 2013 with a conference Centre and Periphery: or how to put yourself on the map which focused on the issue what it means to be ‘European’ whether you are living in major centres or on the periphery. Visiting artists and curators from around Europe debated questions about visual convergence in an increasingly mobile society, around how to be visible in Europe’s art-world, and about contemporaneity of diverse lifestyles and mentalities. Speakers included Professor Cindy Gates from FH Dortmund University of Applied Sciences and Arts, curator and gallerist Ute Noll, Søren Lose, artist, and David Drake, Director of Ffotogallery.
In February 2013, Ffotogallery, the Project Coordinator, received news of a 200,000 Euro boost for European Prospects from the European Union’s Culture Programme. A new two year next phase of the project was marked by a major exhibition entitled European Chronicles during Diffusion: Cardiff International Festival of Photography, showing across two venues The Cardiff Story and Norwegian Church. The exhibition featured nine European photographers whose work reflects various personal, family and community stories. The featured artists were Mindaugas Ažušilis (Lithuania), David Barnes (Wales), Tina Carr & Annemarie Schöne (UK/Germany), John Duncan (Northern Ireland), Anna Kurpaska (Poland), Catrine Val (Germany), Arturas Valiauga (Lithuania) and Elin Høyland (Norway).
During November, Ffotogallery and the Lithuanian Photographers Association moved forward their collaboration with a four week residency in Kaunas by Cardiff artist Michal Iwanowski, who retraced sections of a walking journey through Lithuania that was a key part of his family history.
At the same time, Gintaras Česonis visited Cardiff to meet with Ffotogallery staff and partners. During his visit, the final selection for the Borderliners exhibition was made, in preparation for the work being on display in Cardiff in February/March 2013.
David Drake and Gintaras Česonis then travelled together to Paris Photo, where they met other European Prospects partners, including Jean-Marc Lacabe from Le Chateau d’Eau in Toulouse, the latest addition to the core partners group.
At the end of November, Ieva Meilute-Svinkuniene from the Lithuanian Photographers Association was invited to spend a week in Wales to coincide with the Artes Mundi award announcement. The visit was funded by Wales Arts International, and presented an opportunity for several artist portfolio reviews in Cardiff and Swansea, and a meeting with Rita Valiukonytė, Cultural Attachė at the Lithuanian Embassy in London, to plan collaborative projects for 2013.
In October 2012 David Drake and Matthias Bullinger jointly presented at Bildkultur gallery in Stuttgart an exhibition called ‘Beyond the View’, featuring selected works by the Wales-based artist Helen Sear.
The inaugural European Prospects workshop in July 2012 at the Stuttgart Academy of Art and Design brought together 60 artists and cultural agents from the participating countries and other parts of the European Union. Artists presented and discussed their work, and lectures were given by Prof. Nils Buttner, Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design, Dr Paul Frey, Linguistic Administrator, EU, Prof Horst Dichanz, University of Hagen, Ulku Sungun (artist), Laurenz Theinert (artist), Prof Hans Dieter Huber Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design, David Drake, Ffotogallery, Matthias Bullinger, Fotosommer, Gintaras Česonis, Kaunas Photography Gallery and Lenka Eidlpesova, FAMU.
The partners re-convened at Kaunas Photo Festival in September 2012, participating in an international portfolio review and launching a new artist residential programme to encourage mobility and intercultural dialogue within the European Union.