UNSEEN AMSTERDAM

ALEXANDER MOURANT & MARIANNE BJØRNMYR

20-22 SEPTEMBER 2019

Seen Fifteen is delighted to announce our participation in the eighth edition of Unseen Amsterdam – the leading platform for contemporary photography. Unseen has an exclusive focus on what’s new in the photography world, and Seen Fifteen shares the same passion for celebrating emerging talent and the latest developments in the medium. We’re proud to present a curated booth of works by two exciting young artists – Alexander Mourant and Marianne Bjørnmyr. Both artists will show new work that questions human interventions on the landscape, whilst also experimenting with photographic process and ways of seeing photography.

ALEXANDER MOURANT TO FEEL ITS TOUCH
Alexander Mourant presents a new series of abstract works which respond to the ubiquitous cycle of urban renewal and regeneration. To Feel Its Touch began as a commission by the Financial Times to make a body of work reflecting the artist’s feelings about London and his place within it. On an early morning walk, Mourant was struck by the sight of an area of the city being excavated and unearthed. A section of the city appeared before him as a void, ruptured as if it had an open wound:

“ I realised that London is essentially an interwoven lattice of materials – combining and dividing – instigating our meeting and plotting our separation.” Alexander Mourant

Inspired by ideas around memory and the city, Mourant retraced areas of London he had known during childhood which were now undergoing change. Where he found major works he removed some excavated earth and took it back to the darkroom.

Alexander Mourant’s practice is concerned with the metaphysical nature of photography. He experiments with the photographic process to find new ways to draw attention to and question our relationship to our environment. For To Feel Its Touch he created an abstract, interconnecting photogram using nine large format negatives. The material from the London excavations was suspended in a large tank of water. Taken during one exposure, this intensely physical process imbues itself with suggestive qualities and personal memory.

MARIANNE BJØRNMYR BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE
Marianne Bjørnmyr presents Between a Rock and a Hard Place, a new project that explores the secret history of mineral mines in Norway. The project grapples with the central paradox that the value of metals and minerals shapes wealth and conflict – beauty and destruction – at the same time. The work displays handmade photographic prints of disused and active dolomite quarries in Northern Norway, together with still life photos made in the artist’s studio.

For hundreds of years, Norwegian mining villages have risen and fallen in line with the fluctuating global value of the country’s natural resources. Recently released government documents outline a top secret and lucrative deal between Norway and the United States in 1951 which secured the export of Norwegian niobium, mined from dolomite quarries, for a period of 10 years. The agreement and the information that the exported niobium was as a key component in the development of US nuclear weapons during the Cold War arms race was not revealed to the Norwegian people for over 50 years. It is this dark secret that intrigues Marianne Bjørnmyr:

“The artist has long been fascinated by the unseen, the subject matter that doesn’t easily present itself to the camera. In contrast to the urge to capture a dramatic moment, Bjørnmyr’s work attempts to photograph the invisible, to evoke a sense of the cycles of things and reflect upon the longer term reverberations of war and conflict minerals worldwide.” Francesca Marcaccio

UNSEEN OFFICIAL OPENING PARTY
Thursday 19th September, 6.30-9pm

OPENING HOURS
Friday 20th September 11am to 9pm, Saturday 21st September 11am to 8pm, Sunday 22nd September 11am to 5pm

Alexander Mourant, To Feel Its Touch, Peckham I 2019

MARTIN SEEDS

VIOLENCE. RELIGION. INJUSTICE. DEATH.

9 MAY - 1 JUNE 2019

Seen Fifteen is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Northern Irish artist Martin Seeds – VIOLENCE RELIGION INJUSTICE DEATH. Seeds grew up in Belfast at the height of the civil conflict, The Troubles, in the 1970s and 1980s. Through his practice he engages with the conflicting experiences of Northern Irish identity, politics and culture.

The exhibition presents new works from the series Disagreements, part of a long-term project made in the grounds of the Stormont Estate, home of the Northern Ireland Assembly. The Assembly was created as part of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement with the aim of establishing a devolved government in which both Unionist and Nationalist political parties would share power. The devolved government of Northern Ireland collapsed in January 2017 and has not operated since. The issue of dysfunction at Stormont had rarely been covered in the British media until the recent death of journalist Lyra McKee. Seeds’ Disagreements works – which fuse positive and negative images of the same subject – are an allegorical response to the fragility and vulnerability of Northern Ireland politics.

The centrepiece of the exhibition is a large scale installation of Seeds’ latest body of work, Masks – comprised of over 190 unique silver gelatin contact prints of balaclavas, hand-made in the darkroom with the screen of an iPad. This new body of work marks a departure in the artist’s practice driven by the fact that Northern Ireland and the “Irish Question” has been thrust into the centre of political discourse surrounding the Brexit negotiations. The Masks are an overt symbol of terrorism and an expression of the artist’s darkest fears that Brexit could lead to a return to the sectarian violence that was the backdrop to his early life.

Martin Seeds, From the series Disagreements, Stormont Estate, Belfast (2018)

MAYA ROCHAT

SILVER SPACE

APPROCHE PARIS: 9-11 NOVEMBER 2018

Seen Fifteen is delighted to present SILVER SPACE, a new installation by Maya Rochat at Approche – an innovative salon dedicated to the photographic medium during Paris Photo 2018. We will be exhibiting a selection of works that embody Rochat’s on-going experimentation with the photographic process and the materiality of images.

Maya Rochat is an artist who works in layers, fusing process, materials and artistic medium in the process. Trained at the prestigious ECAL in Switzerland, Rochat’s starting point for image-making is photographic. She works from an archive of her own photographs which she continually revisits and recycles – breathing new life into her images by working on them by hand with paint, chemicals and various forms of textural layering. The concept of propelling images into an altered state is central to Rochat’s practice. The pure physicality of her works – which need to be viewed in person to appreciate the detailed interaction of texture and material – is a deliberate comment on image saturation in our current digital age.

The work of art as a physical object is important to Maya Rochat, and so too is the emotional experience for her viewers. Layers form an equally significant feature of her exhibition installations, which become complete takeovers of a space making use of every available inch of wall, floor, corner and window. Live performances are the climax of Rochat’s art of layering – here she immerses a live audience in a fluid multi-dimensional collage of photographs, moving image, live music and live painting. Most recently Rochat performed LIVING IN A PAINTING with musician Buvette at the Tate Modern Tanks in London, October 2018.

Maya Rochat, A ROCK IS A RIVER, Glitter Rain on Magic Tree (2018)

UNSEEN AMSTERDAM 2018

ALEXANDER MOURANT

AOMORI

“Just as you enter a forest and become surrounded by ancient branches and roots, the photographs by Alexander Mourant engulf you in a similar way, taking you on a mysterious voyage where both sorrow and beauty are tied together.”

Susan Bright

Seen Fifteen is delighted to return to Unseen Amsterdam this September, where we will present a solo booth by British photographer Alexander Mourant. We will be exhibiting works from the 2017 series Aomori, which takes its title from the Japanese word for “blue forest”. Mourant’s artistic practice is concerned with the metaphysical nature of photography. He employs different experimental methods to draw attention to and question our relationship with the organic environment. In a previous series, Aurelian, he created heightened humidity and atmospheric conditions in which to photograph flora and fauna. For Aomori his concept involves shooting through a bespoke lens filter made from blue church glass – a device which spiritually renders the photographs “forever blue”.

“I wanted to see if I could expand the possibilities of the photograph by giving it a body too, a soul almost, in which we could experience from the image itself.”

Alexander Mourant

Aomori is shot in the vast ancestral forests of Japan. Enclosed in an electric blue world, organic forms – tree canopies, running waterfalls, rocky crevices – are imbued with a mystical intensity. The project is in part inspired by the work of the French conceptual artist Yves Klein, who sought to eradicate conventional representation and create a deeper psychological exploration of the immaterial. Klein invented and trademarked his own Klein International Blue, working in this colour almost exclusively from 1957 until his death. Alexander Mourant’s photographs radiate the same highly charged phenomenon of blue – an oneiric space where the mind becomes free to roam.

Alexander Mourant, Waterfall II, 2017