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Elinor Carucci Eran almost touches me Courtesy Edwynn Houk Gallery

PHOTO50 Feminine Masculine

On the Struggle and Fascination of Dealing with the Other Sex


THE LONDON Art Fair (Islington 20-24 January) has shown itself committed to photography by supporting and expanding the original concept of Photo50 through an enlightened collaboration with curators drawn from the cutting edge of contemporary art. It is a feature popular with photographers and visitors alike and the inventive programming confronts the understanding of photography in modern culture and proposes alternative readings of the medium. 

Text: Mike von Joel | Images: PORTRAIT ALICE COX

PREVIOUS YEARS  have seen Sue Steward (2012), Nick Hackworth (2013), Jeremy Epstein/Charlie Fellowes (2014) and Sheyi Bankale (2015) to meet the challenge with aplomb. 2016 sees one of the rising stars of the photography scene, Federica Chiocchetti, conjure her own interpretation of the brief, taking as her inspiration Jean-Luc Godard’s 1966 film Masculin Féminin. Chiocchetti examines the multi-layered chasm between a woman and a man – but is quick to assert she offers no solution to any questions that may provoke.

Feminine Masculine is divided into five sections: He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not; Till Death Do Us Apart; Ennui and Obsession; Carrying On Without Them; and Wrap Thee with Fluctuant Winds; and will feature work by Laia Abril (Spain); Ekaterina Anokina (Russia); Jo Broughton, EJ Major, Timothy Prus, Natasha Caruana (UK); Elinor Carucci (US); Dicipula, Francesca Catastini (Italy); JH Engström (Sweden); Maya Rochat (Switzerland); Paul Schneggenburger (Austria); and Mariken Wessels (NL).

A bundle of enthusiastic energy, Federica Chiocchetti (born in Lucca, Tuscany in1983) can converse flawlessly in English on the esoteric arguments that plague contemporary art. Her early schooling was in economics – in Milan – but she took a job in publishing (Bruno Mondadori) that introduced her to art, albeit with a literary and theoretical perspective. Relocated to UCL in London, her main interest was the study of photography and literature. Since 2012, Chiocchetti has been active in the UK using her platform as a springboard for a range of pioneering initiatives with recent Italian culture as a constant ingredient. She was appointed to LAF after a selection process and is aware she is still ‘a young curator’. She says: ‘the challenging thing is it lasts just five days. You get a 35-metre long rectangular space and it is up to me to design it. I’m making the central – entrance – area a black space for video. I like the moving image. Obviously, I advocate the relationship between photography and text, it is my own niche where I enjoy myself. What can photography tell us about the relationship between men and women today? I wanted to propose for five days how photography might represent this – immaterial – dynamic. Last year the bar was set very high, Sheyi Bankale really pushed Photo50 forward. 

‘I selected from a body of works, which I knew already existed, or I knew of artists who had works in the pipeline, which would be appropriate. For example, the Italian collective, Dicipula, have this archive about a woman who is totally obsessed with a famous actor called Massimo Ranieri. They are just finishing a video commission that addresses notions of celebrities, sex-symbolism and groupies, entitled Mannequins & Mankind.'

London Art Fair’s Photography Focus Day takes place on Wednesday 20 January 2016 with artist talks, guided tours and panel discussions examining contemporary photographic practice.

Federica Chiocchetti is a photography critic, editor, curator and founding director of the photo-literary platform Photocaptionist. She is writing her PhD on photography and fictions at the University of Westminster. Chiocchetti is also the 2015 Art Fund Curatorial Fellow (Photographs) at the V&A and Nottingham Castle Museum. Her book, Amore e Piombo, co-edited with Roger Hargreaves, was winner of the Kraszna Krausz 2015 Best Photography Book Award. In January 2016, she will co-curate the photo-cinema room within the exhibition Italy 1968-1978 at the newly open CAMERA – Centro Italiano per la Fotografia, in Turin.



20-24 January 2016

(Preview Evening 19 January)

Business Design Centre,

Islington, N1



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