The Unexposed invites us to look at photography and how it is constructed by new generations of creators, a reason that led us to organize a physical collective exhibition. Based on the documentary series of the same name, the exhibition brings together the creative processes of young emerging photographers.
On March 25th 2023, from 3pm to 8:30pm, the 'street of galleries' in Porto - Rua Miguel Bombarda, 425 - opened space for the works of 8 national and international artists.
Cian Oba-Smith, Maria Baoli, Jetro Emilcar, Alec Castillo, Anabela Pinto, Laura Chen, Starry Kong and Devin Blaskovich come from all over the world (including the United States, China, the United Kingdom, and Portugal), with one thing in common: a fascination for photography and the representation of everyday life.
The Unexposed started with a question: can young people have control over their own narrative? Four international photographers answered the challenge in a series premiering in 2019, in partnership with the British photography platform Negative Feedback.
"The constructed image" was the motto for the second season of The Unexposed, featuring young artists whose work is not only limited to the photographic representation of a reality imposed on them, working imagistically from universes created, altered or subverted by themselves.
THE UNEXPOSED COLLECTIVE EXHIBITION
Alec Castillo is an upstate NY based photographer and member of the rock and roll band, The Nude Party. He documents the world and lifestyle he inhabits, be it life on tour or intimate moments with friends.
Cian Oba-Smith is an Irish Nigerian photographer who was born and raised in London. His work focuses on communities and subcultures around the world with a particular interest in approaching subjects that are often misrepresented and presenting them in a different light.
Maria Baoli was born in Madrid and lives and works in Brussels. Her work focuses on memories and spaces as a starting point to examine the relationship between identity and physical and non-physical spaces.
Jetro Emilcar is a Canado-Haitian photographer living between New York and Montreal. Jetro grew up in the Afro-Haitian diaspora of Montreal with his family, which has motivated him to represent his roots and community in his work, through varied representations of the minority populations.
Anabela Pinto is a Portuguese artist and photographer living in London.
Her practice reflects an interest in the relationship between people and technologies, consumer culture and desire, and its subsequent effect on the aesthetics of our daily living surroundings.
Laura Chen is a Dutch image maker and writer based in London, UK. Working within the fields of photography, mixed-media and found or archival material, her multidisciplinary practice associates a fine art and documentary approach where research, implementation and intervention are closely intertwined.
Devin Blaskovich is a visual artist working between Southern California and New York City. While active commercially in the editorial & still life space, his main focus is in the development of longer form book/exhibition projects that interact with cultural representation and the new visual potential provided by combining traditional photographic methods with contemporary subject matter.
Starry Kong is a Melbourne-based visual artist who was born in Kunming, China. Starry is interested in the intangible and inexpressible sentiments that are characteristic to humankind. She explores this phenomenon through her own experiences of loss, grief, alienation and her long-term mental illness, which has become the foundation and origin of her creative practice.
ONE MORE MILE
One More Mile shows the beginning of the band The Nude Party. Starting from 2013, scheduling self-booked tours playing to empty rooms around the country, to 2019 playing international headline tours and support tours with Jack White, Arctic Monkeys, and Orville Peck, to the halt of touring due to Covid-19. This is by no means a chronological story, but a cloud of moments the photographer felt important to document on and off the road. This is an ongoing story of intimacy that shows their relationship as a band, as friends and about the love built along the way.
CIAN OBA SMITH
African American contributions to horse culture have often been forgotten in the US but throughout the country there have been African Americans keeping and breeding horses for the past few centuries. Philadelphia is no exception, for over a hundred years there has been a lineage of black urban horsemen in Philadelphia. In North Philadelphia, which has a 97% African American population where over 50% live in poverty, there is a stable where horses are kept and ridden on the streets by a group of urban horsemen. The small community of horsemen is like a family where boys and men come to bond over their love of horses. The series aims to challenge common stereotypes over race and class in a time where they are such heated topics of debate but ultimately it questions what it means to be a black man in America.
In the industrial estates of London, there is a fast growing phenomenon of rebellious youth who choose to spend their time riding dirt bikes and mopeds around on one wheel. They are fathers, brothers, talented riders and mechanics; they are the bike life community. With injuries being commonplace and deaths sometimes occurring, they risk their lives everyday for the thrill and freedom of riding on one wheel. To them ‘it’s not just a passion, it’s not just a hobby, it’s a lifestyle.’
ANDOVER & SIX ACRES
A project that looks at the residents and landscape of the Seven Sisters area focusing specifically on the 'Andover and Six Acres Estates’. The piece seeks the truth behind the notoriety gained by the estates for crime and drug problems throughout the 80's and 90's and looks to explore whether or not these stereotypes hold true today.
In Between explores the relationship between memory and places of Polish women living in Belgium and is a short story about Sabina, Ania, Aneta and Natalia and their lives in Belgium. In this series the artist wonders how Polish women see and define themselves, what makes her different and similar from them and what are the social connections they have in common. Maria explores ideas related to concepts like territory, memory, identity and the global changes we are each going through.
The images aim to translate their unique and strong personality in their own personal environment. For the photographer these women represent a new generation of impassioned young spirits who are not afraid to undertake risks and move forward despite their roots.
WAVE OF DREAM
What is the shared language between Man and his environment? What place for him; what trace, left by him, in nature? Wave of Dream is a multi-layered narrative collage tracing dreams and reality and pointing out the poetic sensibilities that all life on Earth have in common, in a dialogue between vegetation sometimes soft and sometimes pungent, and distant portraits borrowed from intense inner reflection.
Jetro Emilcar’s goal through his art is to constantly try to challenge the hegemonic and heteronormative narratives of today's society to promote a logic of inclusion, not only of the diversity of gender, race and class but also of the diversity of ideologies and cultures present today, in order to contribute to the reconstruction of a more inclusive society. Jetro considers this work (exhibited) the seed that led to his current exploration of dreams.
Baudrillard writes how the system of objects is the embodiment of satisfaction and disillusion; how we find in objects an ambition to act as replacements for human relationships. Seemingly appearing to solve a mere practical problem, they subconsciously aim to resolve a social or psychological conflict.
Precious Things is an observation of the cult of technology as an extension of the human psyche, where consumer objects appear to channel, reflect, and feed on the emotions of its users.
The blue light emanating from the screen permeates the scenes and reiterates this presence, harboring the delights of artificiality, the promise of a more in-tune experience.
Steeped in nostalgia, home electronics become the main subjects in open-ended narratives that incite the imagination of the viewer, while speaking of an ever-evolving and ambiguous relationship, the human closeness to technological objects of desire, our precious things.
DOLL, DUMMY, DOUBLE
Doll, Dummy, Double started with the interest in mimicry and resemblance, which is explored in the context of the doll, figurine, dummy or automaton as our inanimate and mute “double”. Usually cast from real bodies, a mannequin may be considered a kind of photograph in itself, and similarly to the photographic image, mirrors and echoes the socioeconomic conditions of its time. These anthropomorphic objects, these likenesses of ourselves, have the ability to attract, captivate, emulate, trick and even discomfort. When photographed, many differences between an actual person and its fabricated duplicate tend to diminish due to the camera’s ability to capture them frozen in time and space alike. Photography facilitates a dimension within both appear like they could take off at any moment into movement again, confounding the spectator, at least temporarily, making them wonder if the model is alive or not. Laura uses the picture as a theatre of mystification, offering countless ways to elicit palpable associations, stories, fantasies, or even desires.
SOMETHING IN THE WAY OF SPACE
The selection of images presented here were taken over the last year, sourced from a number of projects and combined solely for this exhibition. Taking inspiration from the conceptual foundations of artists like Wolfgang Tillmans, Rinko Kawauchi, and Dirk Braeckman, this work aims to bring varied subject matter under a ubiquitous compositional structure in an attempt to create a new nonlinear narrative that intersects found landscape and sculpted still life photographs.
YOU CAN’T WALK THIS EARTH FOREVER; SOMEDAY YOU WILL HAVE TO FLY
Starry has been suffering from depression for the past 10 years and that has caused her to think about life’s meaning.
In 2018, her Australian mother, for whom she felt a deep affection, passed away due to brain cancer. This was the first time she witnessed the death of someone she knew, and experienced a profound depth of grief. Her understanding of such concepts and beliefs about her meaning in life were challenged.
She encountered a sentiment a few days after she passed away — ’You can’t walk this earth forever; someday you will have to fly’. This is what her mother used to tell her sons when they were kids. Somehow these words consoled her, and have accompanied her since. Her mother's words inspire her not to be obsessed with the state of living and to accept mortality as part of life.
IT’S STILL DARK BUT SOMETIMES I SEE
“Living with depression” — it’s like there is a tall, thick wall built in front of the heart, and nothing can pass through, says the artist. Sunlight, happiness, and hopes are blocked out. Darkness, dread, and desperation are locked in.
This series of photographs reflects the times the photographer begins to see the stars. Even though there are not many, and they are so tiny, they are bright and stunning, right there, shining on her. The artist says that the stars are what keep her alive.
Still from The Unexposed Season 2 featuring Starry Kong