Joachim Koester awarded Camera Austria Award for Contemporary Photography

Joachim Koester awarded Camera Austria Award for Contemporary Photography

Camera Austria

Joachim Koester, From the Secret Garden of Sleep #6, 2008. Courtesy Galerie Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen.

August 14, 2013

Joachim Koester will receive Camera Austria Award for Contemporary Photography by the City of Graz 2013

Camera Austria Award for Contemporary Photography by the City of Graz will be bestowed on Joachim Koester in 2013.

The award will be presented on Friday, 23 August 2013 by Lisa Rücker, City Councillor for Cultural Affairs. The laudatio address will be held by Catherine David.

The jury founded their decision to honour Joachim Koester with this award on the following statement:

“The photographic (and also filmic) work of Joachim Koester convinces thanks to the Danish artist’s innovative negotiation of relations between the documentary and the fictional. His series of works associate questions of knowledge and ignorance, of consciousness and unconsciousness, with questions related to the body, experience, and the metaphysical. Extensively researched events from the history of more recent counter-cultures, long-forgotten occultism, or pre-modern rituals are transferred into precise photographic series and filmic installations with high conceptual stringency and visual clarity. In Koester’s oeuvre, documentary rigour, depth of content, and narrative ease coalesce with brilliant aesthetic power of persuasion.”

Members of the jury: 
Sandra Križić Roban, Publisher, Život umjetnosti
Florian Ebner, Director of the Photographic Collection at the Museum Folkwang, Essen
Martin Beck, artist, Vienna and New York
Reinhard Braun, Publisher, Camera Austria International

The prize money is EUR 14,500.

Joachim Koester already participated in a two-part exhibition project at Camera Austria in 2006 and 2009: First the artist defines meaning and Then the work takes place. In the latter exhibition, Koester showed the series “The Morning of the Magician” from the year 2005, which references a commune founded in 1920 by Aleister Crowley in Cefalù on the island of Sicily. Closed in 1923 by order of Mussolini, ‘The Abbey of Thelema’ was abandoned for more than 30 years, only to be rediscovered by the filmmaker Kenneth Anger, who, supported by the sexologist Alfred Kinsey, exposed the original murals evocative of the tantric practices, sexual rites, and drug use of the Crowley group. Crowley’s system was a technology of the self, but from the fringes of official culture. His legacy is that of the “great transgressor.” He transgressed victorian morals in a sort of tour de force of debauchery. That side of his practice constitutes a direct link to parts of the later counter culture. Today, only ruins of the original buildings are left—a metaphor for the failed utopia. With only bits of masonry, overgrown pathways, and a view of the town of Cefalù visible, Koester’s documentation is teeming with gaps, insinuated contexts, and absent knowledge. In this sense, Joachim Koester brings the photographic image to the brink of documentation in this series, but then also to a domain where shifts play out among perception, history, knowledge, politics, and image. Yet since Joachim Koester is primarily concerned with what is not seen (or cannot be seen, or is not allowed to be seen), he unhinges this sensory experience and the fabric of the documentary images. As a result, the reconfiguration of image, knowledge, experience, history, and meaning becomes essential.

Joachim Koester’s work was published in Camera Austria International 66/1999.

Joachim Koester is an artist born in 1962 in Copenhagen, Denmark. His work has been shown at documenta X, Johannesburg Biennial; Venice Biennial; Manifesta, and Tate Triennial. Recent solo shows include CASM, Center d’Art Santa Monica, Barcelona; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Tamayo Contemporary Art Museum, Mexico City; kestnergesellschaft, Hannover; Institut d’art contemporain,Villeurbanne; MIT, Boston and S.M.A.K., Ghent.

The Camera Austria Award for Contemporary Photography by the City of Graz was established in 1989 and is bestowed every two years on an artist who has published a noteworthy contribution in the magazine Camera Austria International and has made an important contribution to contemporary photography.

Previous recipients of the Camera Austria Award include Nan Goldin (US), Olivier Richon (CH/GB), Seiichi Furuya (JP/AT), David Goldblatt (ZA), Hans-Peter Feldmann (DE), Allan Sekula (US), Aglaia Konrad (BE), Walid Raad (LB), Marika Asatiani (GE), Sanja Iveković (HR) and Heidrun Holzfeind (AT).

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