‘Prix Pictet: Power’ explores recent history

‘Prix Pictet: Power’ explores recent history

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
‘Prix Pictet: Power’ explores recent history

Guy Tilim. The exhibition displays the struggle for survival between humankind and nature, despair in the face of human-caused damage, social power conflicts.

The “Prix Pictet: Power” exhibition at Istanbul Modern Photography Gallery showcases the finalists of the Prix Pictet, a major award in photography today intended to raise public awareness about modern issues. The exhibition will continue Jan. 30 to April 28.

In its fourth edition the competition focuses on the broad and paradoxical concept of “Power.” While often leading to disaster and despair, power can also generate hope and renewal.

The exhibition displays the struggle for survival between humankind and nature, despair in the face of human-caused damage, social power conflicts and the dichotomies of power in the world today with its invasions and revolts.

Istanbul Modern was among the nominators for this year’s awards. There were over 650 nominations for works by photographers in 76 countries. Among these images, which were awe-inspiring and disturbing at once, the independent jury selected 12 artists from 10 countries.

Around the disturbing theme of “power,” the works of the artists reveal in a straightforward manner the striking facts experienced in recent history and which we are still experiencing today.

The independent jury was presided over by Sir David King, director of the Smith School of Enterprise and Environment at the University of Oxford and the U.K. government’s former chief scientific adviser. Among members of the jury were the Financial Times arts editor, Jan Dalley; the winner of the growth-themed Prix Pictet, Mitch Epstein; art historian and critic Michael Fried; the art consultant and curator at Pictet & Cie, Loa Haagen Pictet; sustainability consultant Leo Johnson; the director of the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, Fumio Nanjo; and the director of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Martin Roth.

The opening of the exhibition of works by the 12 shortlisted photographers was held at the Saatchi Gallery in London on Oct. 9, 2012. During the ceremony Luc Delahaye was announced as this year’s winner by famous architect Norman Foster and the winner of the Prix Pictet Commission was announced as Simon Norfolk. Following the exhibition in London, “Prix Pictet: Power” began touring the world. After Munich, Paris and Beirut the exhibition has arrived at Istanbul Modern and will end its tour in 2014 at the Museum of Photographic Arts (MoPA) in San Diego.

The exhibition opened with a press conference at the museum. The chief curator of Istanbul Modern, Levent Çalıkoğlu, said the exhibition focused on the concept of “power,” one of the today’s most complex dynamics, and added that the show revealed what we can do with power and the consequences of what people have done with it.

Levels of power

“Power, both on the macro and micro level, changes and governs our lives in its entirety, from government policies to environmental issues. Of course the outcome is not very optimistic. Today we are even more worried about the future of humanity and our planet.”

The exhibition offers the viewer the immediacy of coming to a reckoning with the present, according to Çalıkoğlu.

“Prix Pictet: Power” has parallels with the show “Modernity? Perspectives from France and Turkey” being held concurrently in the temporary exhibition hall, Çalıkoğlu said. The exhibition on power analyzes, through the eyes of the photographer and via photography culture, the limits of a world built by modernity, he added. This simultaneity offers Istanbul Modern visitors a kind of roadmap for understanding the visible and invisible dynamics of modern life, the curator said.

The exhibition at Istanbul Modern includes the photographs of the 12 finalists: Robert Adams (United States), Daniel Beltra (Spain/United States), Mohamed Bourouissa (Algeria/France), Philippe Chancel (France), Edmund Clark (United Kingdom), Carl De Keyzer (Belgium), Luc Delahaye (France), Rena Effendi (Azerbaijan), Jacqueline Hassink (Netherlands).

About the Prix Pictet

Founded by the Geneva-based private bank Pictet & Cie in 2008, the Prix Pictet aims to raise awareness about the social and environmental challenges of our millennium through the power of photography. Since the day it was founded, the Prix Pictet has rapidly established itself as one of the world’s leading prizes in photography. For its fourth cycle the competition chose the theme of power. The themes of the previous prizes were water, earth and growth.

The book “Power,” based on the theme of the fourth Prix Pictet, was published by teNeues and distributed worldwide. The book showcases the works of the shortlisted photographers alongside outstanding images by other nominated photographers. In his foreword to the book Kofi Annan, the honorary president, writes, “The work of the shortlisted photographers provide a vivid portrait of human vulnerability. But they also remind us that the same forces that might engender despair can also be the source of great hope. They evoke a heartening reminder of our capacity for humanity, courage and solidarity in the face of adversity.”