The Meijberg Commission is awarded to talented artists that will exhibit at Unseen Amsterdam through an open call by submitting a proposal for a unique artwork with a focus on photography. With the winner being announced at Unseen Amsterdam 2018, we caught up with Jury member Alessandra Capodacqua to find out more about her work as a teacher, curator and photographer and get to the heart of what she’s looking for in a winner.
Firstly, regarding your recent collections, can you tell us more about Regarding Women in the Action Collection, and the narratives driving it?
My work has been inspired by the research I conducted on the Acton Photograph Archive as well as by the pervasive personality of Hortense Mitchell Acton, whose aura still fills the air of the villa. I tried to create a dialogue between the feminine representation in the villa and myself. I like to shape each scenario both as the author and the subject. The self-portrait enables me to create a realm where I can express my past selves, repressed selves, desires, maladies of the mind, intellectual interests or to fantasise about being someone altogether different than myself.
Your work and artistic direction is guided by the experimentation and mixing of new digital technologies and alternative printing processes. How does this influence your collections and how important is this approach to the future of photography?
We are living very exciting times in terms of experimentation in photography, with possibilities in experimentation allowing us to break constraints and explore new levels of artistic production by combining different media. My interest is always directed by the capacity of the artist to push the limits of photography and art in general.
What will you be looking for in a winner for the Meijburg Commission and what leads your decision process?
I try not to have any preconception when I look at a body of work, even if at first sight I can’t get a hang of it. I always listen carefully to the opinions of the other jurors, before I start elaborating about the work we are evaluating. I also really like to be surprised by the proposal. When I look at the submissions, I have the tendency to look for the unexpected, the new, or maybe the old transformed by new surprising conceptualisations.
As a photographer, curator, director and teacher, what do you most enjoy about being on a jury for such an award?
The opportunity to exchange ideas, develop new interests, and above all, incite discussion. I am very much looking forward to meeting the other jurors and have the chance to fully immerse in such exchange of ideas.
How important are such platforms and commissions in the promotion of young artists?
These platforms are undeniably integral for young artists to make their work visible to collectors, curators, art galleries. I see deep transformations in the contemporary art scene and I envision it will profoundly affect young professionals of a wide range of disciplines interconnecting in the contemporary culture. I have been the organiser of the Gabriele Basilico Prize in Architecture and Landscape Photography since its first edition, and the prize has given the participants a great opportunity to show their works to an exceptional group of jurors from all over the world.