Aperture’s 2016 Summer Open was a call for contributions to the idea of photography as a magical form. This optimistic premise attracted a diverse scope of magical contemporary approaches—from pictures found in the happenstance of everyday life to elaborate stagings of studio or desktop experiments.
The photographic practices represented in the final selection for this year’s Summer Open are rich with vitality and deep curiosity for the magical medium of photography. They share a fascination with and substantial knowledge of the historical roots and the contemporary state of photography. These artists actively play with the medium’s heritage—re-animating and re-contextualising its alchemical properties—to render ideas about its contemporary material value. They are astutely aware of the viewers’ perceptions and trains of thought, grounded in our shared context of an ever-expanding image world. They invite us to pay attention to the thriving possibility of photography as an experimental platform, rich with materiality and visual sleight of hand.
—Charlotte Cotton, curator and writer
Delaney Allen / Syl Arena / Lucy Wood Baird / Stella Baraklianou / Amelia Bauer / G. Roland Biermann / Thom Bridge / Radek Brousil / Drew Brown / Bubi Canal / Ellen Carey / Jesse Chehak / Joseph Desler Costa / Adam Ekberg / Annabel Elgar / Ailbhe Greaney / Valerie Green / Jill Greenberg / Aaron Hegert / Matthew Herrmann / Sheree Hovsepian / Noah Jackson / Jessica Labatte / Dionne Lee / Matthew Leifheit and Cynthia Talmadge/ Jo Longhurst / Jason Lukas / Chris Maggio / Irene Mamiye / William Miller / Chris Mottalini / Deepanjan Mukhopadhyay / Jennifer Niederhauser Schlup / Zachary Norman / Ryan Oskin / Megan Paetzhold / Meghann Riepenhoff / Anastasia Samoylova / Michael Schmid / Marco Scozzaro / Katie Shapiro / Tabitha Soren / Jessica Thalmann / Sonja Thomsen / Patricia Voulgaris / Marta Wlusek / Guanyu Xu / Hyounsang Yoo / Junsheng Zhou
About the Aperture Summer Open
Aperture Summer Open is an annual open-submission exhibition at Aperture Foundation’s gallery that features a wide variety of work drawn from members of our photographic community. Selected annually by a prominent curator or editor, the exhibition seeks to reveal and report on critical themes and trends driving international contemporary photographic practice. The exhibition opens the doors of the Foundation to all photographers, both well- and lesser-known, as it fosters and promotes new ideas and talent.
“What I really love about this exhibition is the conversation that happens between individual practitioners’ work,” said curator Charlotte Cotton. “It feels like there are a lot of people thinking along very similar lines, experimenting in similar ways, and it’s just a really beautiful reflection of how vibrant photography is at the moment.”
Ailbhe Greaney's, Nam, Paris, from the series 'StreetFlower', was one of the pieces selected for exhibition. The work ‘Street Flower’, created as part of a Residency Award at the Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris, depicts a young generation of Vietnamese women living in Paris now, as well as the daughters of women who travelled by boat to Europe in the 1970’s. Here they wear jackets within Parisian landscapes that they previously wore moving through the streets of Vietnam by moped. In Vietnam the jackets are worn to protect the skin from the sun. The jackets are multi-coloured, with floral patterns. They are not traditional, nor do they reference the past. Rather, they are a part of contemporary culture, referencing a momentum that is forward facing. Moving en masse through the streets of Hanoi and Saigon, women wearing these jackets, appear like a moving garden.
Photography enables us to recreate one world within another. It has the ability to transport like a magic carpet or the white horse from the tale of Tir na NOg (Land of the Young). Within these images colour and dress become a language, and the photographs a kind of fabric, which transform and re-imagine complex personal identities, connecting people and place across time and space. Specifically, the displacement of the Vietnamese jackets re-locates aspects of Vietnamese sun, style and subtlety of substance, within a Parisian landscape.