Luke Willis Thompson wins the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2018

Release date: 18 May 2018 | Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation

Luke Willis Thompson wins the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2018

New Zealand artist, Luke Willis Thompson has been awarded the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2018 in London on Thursday night, 17 May at a special ceremony in the Photographers’ Gallery. He was announced as the winner of the prestigious £30,000 prize for for autoportrait, a filmic portrait of Diamond Reynolds.

Thompson’s 35mm film autoportrait is a portrayal of Diamond Reynolds. In July 2016, Reynolds used Facebook Live to broadcast the moments immediately after the fatal shooting of her partner Philando Castile by a police officer during a traffic-stop in Minnesota, United States. Reynolds’ video circulated widely online and amassed over six million views. In November 2016, Thompson contacted Reynolds to invite her to collaborate on a project which would act as a ‘sister-image’ to her video broadcast, and break with her more publically consumed image.

The winner was selected by the members of the 2018 Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize jury, who included: Duncan Forbes, Curator and visiting Lecturer Westminster University, Gordon MacDonald, Curator and Editor; Penelope Umbrico, Artist; Anne-Marie Beckmann, Director, Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation and Brett Rogers, Director, The Photographers’ Gallery as the non-voting chair.

Brett Rogers, Director, The Photographers’ Gallery and Chair of Jury, said

“The judging session to decide the 2018 winner, encompassed lengthy and complex discussions around the role and form of photography today, its almost unrivalled power as a social, political and creative force, and its unique ability to bring to public focus some of the most urgent and relevant issues of today.

Within that context, the panel decided to award the 2018 prize to Luke.  His singular and uncompromising portrait, made in collaboration with its subject, Diamond Reynolds, was conceived as a way to return agency to the protagonist.

As a contender for a prize focused on photography, the jury felt autoportrait imbued the moving image format with the singular and almost obsessional quality of a still photograph, drawing attention to its materiality, and challenging viewers to consider the personal stakes of representation in an environment at once intimate and collective.

Ultimately though, the project was felt to invite a timely and prescient conversation around the nature of image control, authorship and distribution in a way that expands rather than shuts down the debate.” 

Anne-Marie Beckmann, Director, Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize, said:

“We congratulate the winner of the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation prize 2018, Luke Willis Thompson. His silent filmic study autoportrait is a significant contribution to contemporary photography, reflecting on the most relevant issue of self-representation and the ownership of image in  todays’ complex  media world. We are excited to present the works of all four finalists soon at Frankfurt’s MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst as part of the photo triennal RAY 2018.”

Luke Willis Thompson (b. 1988, New Zealand) attended the Elam School of Fine Arts University in Auckland and the Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main. His works have been included in exhibitions such as the São Paulo Biennale; the Montréal Biennale; the Asia Pacific Triennial, Queensland; and the New Museum Triennial, New York. Thompson was awarded the 2014 Walters’ Prize. Thompson has been nominated for the Turner Prize in 2018.

The 2018 prize included works by artists Mathieu Asselin, Rafal Milach, Batia Suter and Luke Willis Thompson, all of which will remain on display at The Photographers’ Gallery until 3 June 2018. The show will then tour to the MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt as part of the photo triennial RAY 2018 from 22 June until 9 September 2018.

The 2018 shortlist has been heralded for reflecting on the production and manipulation of knowledge and systems of representation through visual formats. Collectively and individually, the four projects drive forward an artistic enquiry into the mechanics of visibility and concealment and interrogate the status and position of the image in contemporary culture.

2018 marks the twenty-first year of the Prize and reaffirms its position as a barometer of talent, excellence and innovation. The Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize is an annual award which has been established in 1997 by The Photographers’ Gallery, London and is awarded together with the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation. The prize rewards a living photographer, of any nationality, for a specific body of work in an exhibition or publication format in Europe, which is felt to have significantly contributed to the medium of photography between 1 October 2016 and 30 September 2017. The award remains committed to showcasing photographers and works of all genres and approaches, which exemplify exceptional viewpoints and bold practice.

About the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation

The Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation is a Frankfurt-based non-profit foundation. The foundation activities are focused on collecting, exhibiting and promoting contemporary photography. Deutsche Börse Group started collecting contemporary photography in 1999. Art Collection Deutsche Börse now comprises more than 1,700 works by over 120 international artists. Expanding the Art Collection Deutsche Börse is one of the key aims of the foundation. The collection and a changing exhibition programme are open to the public. Together with the Photographers' Gallery in London, the foundation awards the renowned Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize each year. Promotion of young artists is important to the foundation, whose activities include awards, scholarships and exhibitions, e.g. cooperation with the Foam Talent programme and the Frankfurt artist support association Frankfurter Künstlerhilfe. Other focal areas include supporting exhibition projects of international museums and institutions, and the expansion of platforms for academic discussion about the medium.

The Photographers’ Gallery

The Photographers’ Gallery opened in 1971 in Great Newport Street, London, as the UK’s first independent gallery devoted to photography. It was the first public gallery in the UK to exhibit many key names in international photography, including Juergen Teller, Robert Capa, Sebastião Salgado and Andreas Gursky. The Gallery has also been instrumental in establishing contemporary British photographers, including Martin Parr and Corinne Day. In 2009, the Gallery moved to 16 – 18 Ramillies Street in Soho, the first stage in its plan to create a 21st century home for photography. Following an eighteen months long redevelopment project, the Gallery reopened to the public in 2012. The success of The Photographers’ Gallery over the past four decades has helped to establish photography as a recognised art form, introducing new audiences to photography and championing its place at the heart of visual culture.

The Photography Prize History

Founded in 1997 by The Photographers’ Gallery, and now in its twentieth year, the Prize has become one of the most prestigious international arts awards and has launched and established the careers of many photographers over the years. Previously known as the Citigroup Photography Prize, the Gallery has been collaborating with Deutsche Börse Group as title sponsors since 2005. In 2016 the Prize was retitled as the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize following the establishment of the foundation as a non-profit organisation dedicated to the collection, exhibition and promotion of contemporary photography. Winner of the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2017 was Dana Lixenberg for her publication “Imperial Courts 1993-2015” (Roma Publishing). Past winners include Trevor Paglen, Paul Graham, Juergen Teller, Rineke Dijkstra, Richard Billingham, John Stezaker and Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin.



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