With 35 galleries from 13 countries attending photo basel’s fourth edition at Volkshaus Basel, Daniel Blochwitz, the fair’s curator, shared that the young fair’s potential is strong and helping shed light on photography as a collectible art, as well as acting as a direct platform for dialogue and showcase of significant artists.
While the brunt of the participants hail from European locales such as France, Italy or Germany, the geographical spread is wide, including established and emerging galleries from countries such as Colombia and Japan. While key returnees include Fabian & Claude Walter Galerie from Switzerland; Galerie Esther Woerdehoff from France; Flatland Gallery of The Netherlands; Bildhalle of Switzerland; Galerija Fotografija from Slovenia; and Galerie Springer from Germany, the fair also welcomes several newcomers. This year, fresh faces include Belgian Ibasho Gallery; German Only Photography; Portuguese Carlos Carvalho Arte Contemporânea; German °Clair; and American Aperture.
A special focus is set upon the announcement of two new elements at photo basel this year. The first edition of the Alpa Award will be granted to an outstanding photographer, along with a cash prize or Alpa camera system. The second includes the new sector, Master Cabinet: Pivotal Moments, which showcases classic masterpiece works from the 20th century. “Next to the 35 international galleries showing over 450 artworks by 114 artists, we are especially proud to have created a special exhibition called Master Cabinet under the theme of Pivotal Moments.
Within this special exhibition, curated by Daniel Blochwitz, visitors will be able to see and explore truly rare vintage prints by the grand masters of photography,” says fair director Sven Eisenhut, who helped develop the new programme. “We define vintage prints as the following: prints that have been made by the artist or under his/her supervision a maximum of five years after the image was taken. Some artists that will be shown in the Master Cabinet are Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, Jill Freedman, Saul Leiter, Jerry Uelsmann, Stuart Franklin, Jeanloup Sieff, Erich Hartmann, David ‘Chim’ Seymour, Leonard Freed and René Burri.”
Additional programming alongside the conversations and special project installations includes the first Swiss hosting of the sixth edition of the PP-Aperture Foundation PhotoBookAwards, which will involve an exhibition of the 35 shortlisted books from categories including PhotoBook of the year; First PhotoBook; and Catalogue of the Year. On 13 June, CAP Prize, the International Prize for Contemporary African Photography will be awarded to five photographers who engage with the African continent or diaspora. Additionally, the special screening on 13 June of Felix von Muralt’s Shadow Thieves, portraying five professional photographers across three continents struggling to make a living through their photographic passion and documenting the historic shift from film to digital photography, will be followed by a panel discussion.