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 the Czech Republic 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 FAMU in Prague, 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, Wales Arts International, the State Capital Stuttgart and Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts Baden Wurttemberg.
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.
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.
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.