Unseen Foundation is an independent not-for-profit organisation that aims to increase the impact of artists working with photography on society. Unseen Foundation endeavours to launch initiatives to promote the work of emerging artists, with a specific focus on young talent. Allowing them to develop their practice, explore unfamiliar topics, apply creativity in new and experimental ways, will set them on their way to inspire us all.
If you share our vision, we would like to get in touch with you. To find out more about sponsorships, partnerships, donations and the tax benefits of supporting Unseen Foundation please contact Marije Fokkema, Director of Operations, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Through various projects Unseen Foundation creates environments where those with a personal and professional interest in contemporary photography can exchange ideas - pushing the medium of photography forward and bringing artists into contact with new audiences every step of the way.
We are grateful for the generous support of Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst, Gemeente Amsterdam Stadsdeel West, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and other funds, foundations, corporate partners and private benefactors through which we presented 9 inspiring projects in 2019.
The Graduates exhibition featured the work of nine outstanding students on nine wooden pillars displayed during Unseen Amsterdam 2019. These artists, selected by Unseen and an international jury, graduated in 2019 from three Dutch art academies: Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht, Koninklijke Academie van Beeldende Kunsten in The Hague, and Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam. Each student adapted their graduating project to fit one of the pillars for this unique outside exhibition.
Unseen Foundation invited students from the same three academies as The Graduates to collaborate on a site-specific outdoor project. The sponge, the clay, the brick and the bridge offered an ironic yet serious reflection on the logic behind ‘development’: of students in art academies and the photographic process. This concept was explored through performances, activities and visual presentations in and around a greenhouse set up during Unseen Amsterdam 2019.
In 2019, Unseen Foundation was invited to become part of Futures, the European platform which promotes photographic talents. As a member of the platform, Unseen Foundation selected five young photographers living in the Netherlands to join Future’s wide talent pool and strengthen the representation of contemporary Dutch photography on an international scale. To provide support to the young artists, Unseen Foundation asked renowned curator Iris Sikking to coach and advise them–whatever stage they might be at in the work process. The work resulting from this programme was showcased in a group exhibition at Melkweg Expo–who share the common mission of nurturing and promoting emerging talent.
The exhibition Woven Matters took place during Unseen Amsterdam 2019 and presented artists, including Joana Choumali and Zohra Opoku, who combine textiles and photography within their practice. With different visual strategies, the works on show explored juxtapositions between the tactility of materials and the two dimensionality of photographic images. The featured artists weave common themes of family and identity, establishing new narratives on cultural identity and heritage.
The Living Room is an annual speakers programme during Unseen Amsterdam that aims to inspire and educate by triggering questions and provoking thought on some of the most pressing subjects surrounding contemporary image-making. This year, Unseen Foundation organised the Living Room in collaboration with LagosPhoto and Victoria and Albert Museum. It brought together photographers, industry professionals, and scholars from across the globe.
Artist in residence Kateryna Snizhko relocated her studio to Westergas from 8 September - 4 October. By opening up her space, visitors could experience and witness first-hand the process of what normally goes on behind closed doors. Kateryna’s artistic practice is linked to the exploration of creativity through manipulating various photographic prints and materials. Her investigation involved working with various photographic prints and materials by manipulating them in different ways to produce her works.
The collective Charles goes Arles returned to Unseen Amsterdam 2019 with their camper van from 19-20 September. Besides screening new work from their core members (Renate Beense, Geert Broertjes, Jan Hoek, Anton Kusters, Ilvy Njiokiktjien) they also invited photographers Heba Khamis, Lotte Bronsgeest, Lilia Luganskaia, and Camilla Ferrari, all brought together by Evelien Kunst.
What can a glass of soy milk and soy biodiesel tell us about how we deal with agriculture and its workers? According to Spanish independent documentary photographer Jordi Ruiz Cirera, quite a lot. In this long term project, Jordi unravels the complex realities behind the intensive soy cultivation in Latin America. During Unseen Amsterdam 2019, Docking Station took visitors on an audiovisual storytelling trip to the countryside of Argentina and Paraguay.
Unseen Foundation organised a City Programme in collaboration with institutions and art spaces all over the city during Unseen Amsterdam from 20-22 September. Art enthusiasts got the chance to explore a diverse mix of museums and project spaces, each contributing with their own events, and see the artworks of prestigious artists and exhibitions by noteworthy curators.