Prix Pictet: new photography exhibition to open at the V&A
November 19, 2021
A new major exhibition, Prix Pictet: Fire, presenting work by 13 international photographers will open at the Victoria and Albert Museum this December.
Twelve series of powerful photographs by 13 international photographers exploring the topical theme of ‘fire’ will be presented in the exhibition Prix Pictet: Fire at the V&A, London, 16 December 2021 – 9 January 2022.
The exhibition will showcase the world-class photography shortlisted for this year’s prestigious Prix Pictet, the global award with a unique commitment to promoting discussion and debate on issues of sustainability and the environment.
The bodies of work shortlisted for the prize draw their inspiration from both major global events and personal experiences. The photographic images span documentary, portraiture, landscape, collage and studies of light and process. The shortlisted photographers are based in five continents across the world.
The exhibition features established names such as Sally Mann, who documented the vast wildfires and thick smoke that consumed the Great Dismal Swamp in Virginia during her visit in 2008, and Rinko Kawauchi, who photographed firework displays throughout Japan every summer from 1997-2001.
They are joined by young and emerging names in photography, including David Uzochukwu, whose portraiture series In The Wake is set within an unknown landscape on fire, and Fabrice Monteiro, whose series The Prophecy addresses worldwide pollution through staged photographs of figures in costumes made of trash and natural materials.
The award of 100,000 Swiss Francs (USD108,000, €91,000) will be announced on Wednesday 15 December 2021. We share the shortlisted photographers below.
Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige (Lebanon)
Series: Wonder Beirut, 1998-2006
Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige are known for their long-term research projects based on personal or political documents, with a focus on secret histories, such as the disappearances during the Lebanese Civil War and a forgotten space project from the 1960s. Their artworks create thematic and formal links between photography, video, performance, installation and cinema.
They are held in major private and public collections and have been presented in solo and group exhibitions in institutions around the world, such as Jeu de Paume (Paris), Guggenheim (New York), Haus der Kunst (Munich), Sharjah Art Foundation (UAE), MOMA (New York), Red Brick Art Museum (Beijing), Tate Modern (London). Together, they have directed numerous films shown in major international festivals.
Wonder Beirut is an ongoing project based on a series of postcards from the 1960s and 1970s which are still on sale in Lebanese bookshops today, even though the places they depict were destroyed or altered in the bombardments or in subsequent reconstruction programmes. The artists created a fictional character: photographer Abdallah Farah who supposedly took photographs that were used to produce these postcards – and then burned them himself to record the impact of street battles during the Lebanese civil wars.
Rinko Kawauchi (Japan)
Series: Hanabi, 2001
Rinko Kawauchi was born in 1972 in Shiga Prefecture, Japan, and now lives and works in Tokyo. In 2001, she simultaneously released a series of three photographic books published by Little More, and in 2002 she was awarded the prestigious 27th Kimura Ihei Award. Other awards include the eminent Infinity Award by the International Center of Photography in 2009, the 63rd Ministry of Cultural Affairs Newcomer of the Year award in 2012, and the 29th Shashin no Machi Higashigawa Native Japanese Artist Award in 2012.
Kawauchi has exhibited in a multitude of group and solo exhibitions both within Japan and all over the world. Solo exhibitions include: Foundation Cartier pour l’art Contemporain, Paris (2005); The Photographers’ Gallery, London (2006); Hasselblad Centre, Göteborg, Sweden (2007); Semear at Museu de Arte Moderna de Sao Paulo, Brazil (2007); and Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography (2012).
Between 1997 and 2001, when Kawauchi was living alone in Tokyo and in the process of making her earliest works, she photographed fireworks every summer. Hanabi is a collection of photographs representing this body of work.
Sally Mann (USA)
Series: Blackwater, 2008-2012
Sally Mann is known for her photographs of intimate and familiar subjects rendered both sublime and disquieting. Born in Lexington, Virginia, Mann began studying photography in the 1960s, attending Ansel Adams Gallery’s workshops in Yosemite National Park, and Putney School and Bennington College, both in Vermont.
She received a BA from Hollins College, Virginia, as well as an MA in creative writing. A Thousand Crossings, Mann’s recent exhibition, explores the identity of the American South and Mann’s relationship with her place of origin. It debuted at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC in 2018 and travelled extensively.
In 2001, Mann was named “America’s Best Photographer” by Time magazine. Mann’s Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs (Little, Brown, 2015) received critical acclaim; it was named a finalist for the 2015 National Book Awards and won the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction.
For her series Blackwater, Mann explored the Great Dismal Swamp in Virginia, documenting the vast fires and thick smoke that consumed the swap during her visit and which seemed to epitomise the great fire of racial strife in America.
Christian Marclay (USA/ Switzerland, based in UK)
Series: Fire, 2020
Christian Marclay studied at the Ecole Supérieure d’Art Visuel in Geneva from 1975–1977 and the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston from 1977–1980. Marclay’s work has been shown in museums and galleries internationally, most recently in the major solo exhibition “Compositions” at Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (2019).
Other exhibitions have been held at Kunsthaus, Zurich (1997), the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2001), the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2002), Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2010), Aargauer Kunsthaus, Aarau (2015) and Sapporo Art Museum (2017). Marclay received the Golden Lion award for best artist at the 54th Venice Biennale for his 24-hour virtuosic video piece, The Clock, which was first shown at White Cube in London in 2010.
Fire is a series of photographic prints that began as small-scale collages featuring fragments from comic books, movie stills and images found on the internet. Fire, 2020, is a video animation made from paper cut-outs from comic book illustrations of fire. More than 1,500 photographs shown in rapid succession suggest a flip book, creating the illusion of a flickering fire.
Fabrice Monteiro (Belgium/Benin)
Series: The Prophecy, 2013 – 2020
Fabrice Monteiro is an Agouda, the descendant of Brazilian slaves with Portuguese names. He was born in Belgium, grew up in Benin, and now lives and works in Dakar, Senegal. Monteiro worked as a model for around a decade before becoming a photographer in 2007. Fabrice Monteiro’s images are at the intersection between photojournalism and fashion photography.
His series The Prophecy began in 2013 when Monteiro returned to Africa after several years and discovered that devastating pollution had overtaken the continent. The series was based on nine environmental problems in Senegal, including forest fires, plastic waste and oil spills, and was gradually expanded to address worldwide pollution.
This theme is personified in the photos of various figures who were inspired by West African masquerades and animism. The beautiful and distressing figures were created in collaboration with the Senegalese fashion designer Doulsy, who devised couture-like costumes made of trash and natural materials.
Lisa Oppenheim (USA)
Series: Stilleben, 2021
Lisa Oppenheim received a BA in Art and Semiotics from Brown University in 1998 and an MFA in Film/Video from the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College in 2002. Oppenheim’s work has been exhibited in galleries and museums throughout Europe and the United States.
Her work is held in major museum collections such as the Guggenheim Museum; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Centre Pompidou, Paris; the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam; and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, among others.
In 2014, she won both the Shpilman International Prize for Excellence in Photography awarded by the Israel Museum and the The Aimia | AGO Photography Prize awarded by the Art Gallery of Ontario. Solo exhibitions have been held at MOCA Cleveland and the MCA Denver in 2017; The FRAC Champagne-Ardenne in Reims, France in 2015; the Kunstverein in Hamburg in 2014 and the Grazer Kunstverein in 2013.
In Oppenheim’s series Stilleben, the presence of fire is indicated by smoke even if it remains unseen. Using found images in newspapers or the internet, Oppenheim ‘reprocesses’ the photographs in the darkroom, using the light of a match to expose the negative.
Mak Remissa (Cambodia)
Series: Left 3 Days, 2014
Mak Remissa is regarded as one of the most successful Khmer photographers of his generation. In 1995, he graduated in Fine Art and Photography at the Royal University of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh. He credits his first and third place awards in the 1997 National Photojournalism competition as a major catalyst in his career.
Currently working as a photojournalist for the European Pressphoto Agency (EPA), his work is often seen on the international news wires. His 2005 fine art photography exhibition, titled “The fish eats the ant”, was shown in Phnom Penh galleries, the Angkor Photo Festival in Kobe, Japan, in 2013, and GETXOPHOTO festival 2014 in Bilbao, Spain. Remissa has exhibited his fine art photography in Cambodia, France, Canada, US, Australia, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, China, Japan, Singapore, and Myanmar.
Left 3 Days recalls Remissa’s memories from his childhood during the Cambodian genocide, particularly on 17 April 1975 when Khmer Rouge troops took control and occupied Phnom Penh.
Carla Rippey (Mexico)
Series: Immolation, 2009-2019
Carla Rippey is an American artist based in Mexico City. Her work seeks to expand the margins of drawing and graphics. She works extensively from her collection of archives (images from photographs, postcards, family albums, newspapers, magazines, books and internet sources), which she translates into drawings, artist’s books and prints.
She was educated in Nebraska, La Sorbonne in Paris, The State University of New York and the University of Chile in Santiago. Rippey’s solo shows include the Museum of Modern Art, Mexico, The National University Museum “El Chopo”, the National Print Museum, the galleries Arte Mexicano and Arróniz Arte Contemporáneo in Mexico City, as well as the Graphics Institute of Oaxaca, Seguela Gallery in Guangzhou, China, and the Mavi Museum in Santiago, Chile.
Her series Immolation began in 2010 with a series of artist’s books made from images of fire collected in magazines, newspapers and the internet: juxtaposing images of volcanoes and people set on fire (lynchings in Mexico), throwing fire (Palestinians) or people setting themselves on fire in acts of desperation. To make the collages, Rippey transfers photocopies to Japanese papers using solvent and an etching press.
Mark Ruwedel (USA)
Series: LA Fires, 2017-2020
Mark Ruwedel was born in Pennsylvania in 1954 and lives in Long Beach, California. He received his MFA from Concordia University in Montreal in 1983 and taught there from 1984 to 2001. He is currently Professor Emeritus at California State University. In 2014 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Scotiabank Photography Award, and was short-listed for the Deutsche Borse Photography Prize in 2019.
Ruwedel is represented in museums throughout the world, including the J. Paul Getty Museum; Los Angeles County Art Museum; Metropolitan Museum, New York; Yale Art Gallery; National Gallery of Art, Washington; National Gallery of Canada; Stichting Foundation, Brussels; Maison européenne de la photographie, Paris; and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Ruwedel’s work was the subject of an Artists Room at Tate Modern in 2018. Recent solo exhibitions include: Large Glass, London, 2020-21; California Historical Society, San Francisco, 2019; Museum of Art and Culture of Marrakech, Morocco, 2018; and Gallery Luisotti, Santa Monica, CA, 2018.
LA Fires is a series of photographs selected from Ruwedel’s four-part, in-progress project titled “Los Angeles: Landscapes of Four Ecologies”. The photographs document the La Tuna fire in 2017, which is considered to be the largest in the history of the city.
Brent Stirton (South Africa)
Series: Burns Capital Of The World, 2013
Brent Stirton is a special correspondent for Getty Images and regular contributor to National Geographic magazine. Stirton specialises in documentary work, generally photographing at the intersection of man and the environment. He regularly works for Human Rights Watch, The Environment Investigation Agency and LAGA, as well as the Gates and Clinton Foundations and various UN groups.
He has received many awards, including the Overseas Press Club, The National Magazine Awards, The Peabody awards, Pictures of the Year International as well multiple awards from the World Press Photo Foundation. His photos have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Le Figaro and GQ amongst others.
Burns Capital Of The World documents young victims recovering from severe burns in India. Despite over six million people being burnt every year, India has very few burns facilities at clinics and hospitals and the best of these are very expensive.
David Uzochukwu (Austria/Nigeria)
Series: In The Wake, 2020
David Uzochukwu is an Austrian and Nigerian artist. Growing up in Luxembourg and Belgium, Uzochukwu delved into self-portraiture at age thirteen, and began developing a largely digital practice. This led to vivid collaborations with artists FKA twigs and Iris van Herpen, and a commission for the World Wildlife Fund.
Their self-portrait series A FAMILIAR RUIN was included in group show Dey Your Lane! at Bozar (2016). Further exhibitions include Photo Vogue Festival (2018, 2019) and The New Black Vanguard at Rencontres d’Arles (2021). Uzochukwu was nominated for an ICP Infinity Award in 2019 and named ‘One to Watch’ by British Journal of Photography the following year. Uzochukwu’s first short film, GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG, premiered at Max-Ophüls-Preis in 2021.
In The Wake is a series of portraits set within a landscape on fire. With all historic and geographic markers removed from each image, the bodies in the photographs are submerged into the landscape and removed from the confines of their social reality.
Daisuke Yokota (Japan)
Series: Matter / Burn Out, 2016
Daisuke Yokota was born in Saitama prefecture in 1983. Awards include the Grand Prix at the 2nd “1_WALL” Photography Competition in 2010, the Foam Paul Huf Award in 2016 and the 45th Kimura Ihei Photography Award in 2019. He has published numerous photography collections including MATTER/BURN OUT, VERTIGO, and Tarachine. His major exhibitions include Site/Cloud at Foam photography museum (2014) and Shape of Light at Tate Modern (2018).
Matter / Burn Out documents the burning of Yokota’s large-scale installation of photographic prints, titled ‘Matter’, at Aichi Triennial held in August 2016. This ‘burn out’ process was documented in 4,000 photographs, whereby the data was processed, manipulated and revived to form the new work titled Matter / Burn Out.
The Jury for the ninth cycle of the Prix Pictet is:
Sir David King, FRS (Chair), Founder and Chair, Centre for Climate Repair, University of Cambridge; Duncan Forbes, Head of Photography, V&A; Emma Bowkett, Director of Photography, FT Weekend Magazine; Professor Herminia Ibarra, Charles Handy Professor of Organisational Behaviour, London Business School; Jeff Rosenheim, Joyce Frank Curator in Charge, Photographs, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Joana Choumali, Winner Prix Pictet ‘Hope’ (2019); Philippe Bertherat, President, Musée d’art Moderne et Contemporain, Geneva; Shahira Fahmy, founder and Principal, Shahira Fahmy Architects, Cairo.
About Prix Pictet
The Prix Pictet award was founded by the Pictet Group in 2008. Today, it is recognised as the world’s leading prize for photography. Each cycle of the Prix Pictet tours the world, with exhibitions in over a dozen countries annually, bringing the work of the shortlisted photographers to a wide international audience.
The Prix Pictet is also published in book form, with extensive documentation of the work of each of the shortlisted photographers together with images from the wider group of nominees and essays by leading writers on the theme of the prize.
The eight previous Prix Pictet winners are Benoît Aquin (Water), Nadav Kander (Earth), Mitch Epstein (Growth), Luc Delahaye (Power), Michael Schmidt (Consumption), Valérie Belin (Disorder), Richard Mosse (Space) and Joana Choumali (Hope).