Daria Tuminas
Curating & Production
Dutch Photography Experience

Whatever may be said about photobook publishing in the digital era of the 21st century, photobooks are alive and kicking. They are thriving, to be more precise. Modular space of the printed matter – paged, sequenced, folded and bound – provides contemporary makers with the ultimate presentation platform and a distribution model.

Dutch photobooks are internationally recognized by a professional artistic and design community. The quality of both photography and design and the fine balance between these two elements immediately put Dutch publications in the forefront of the discipline.

The show, hosted by Contemporary Art Museum Erarta, St. Petersburg, ran from 29 November 2013 to 13 January 2014 and included a public programme of talks, guided tours, and a series of workshops for young practitioners.

The exhibition opened with a gallery of more than 150 photobooks inviting the viewers to dive into the context of current photography publishing in the Netherlands. It continued further focusing on works of eight artists and one collective/publishing house looking into their work process, inspirations, and the role publications play within the larger context of their projects. Presentations include final books, dummies, prints, video interviews, and explore design decisions made.

Artists: Jaap Scheeren, Anouk Kruithof, Fw: Books, Nadine Stijns, Anne Geene, Willem Popelier, Florian van Roekel, Andrea Stultiens, Milou Abel.

The exhibition received Silver prize at European Design Awards

Overview of the exhibition and comments by co-curator Daria Tuminas and designer Renata Alvares.
Interview with FW: publishing house initiators - Hans Gremmen, Petra Stavast, Karin Krijgsman.
Last moments of montage: drilling Andrea Stultiens' books.
Last moments of montage: checking lights.
Co-curator Zhenia Sveshinsky and designer Renata Alvares.
Jaap Scheeren reads an interview with Hans Gremmen about their collaboration on 'Jaap Scheeren Cut Shaving'.
Nadya Sheremetova, director of FotoDepartament.

'Normally you do not have an exposure to this number of books at a time; you see something here and there, mixed with other experiences. But at this exhibition I had a thorough deep dive into hundreds of books, all from Holland. It gave more than just an exposure to individual books; I felt the connection to some common “mental” space, totally new experience. It gave me a huge charge of inspiration and energy to go on with my own work. One visit to the exhibition definitely was not enough for me; I went there 3 times, each time exploring a different piece. During first visit I spent time with the books I have not seen before as physical objects (some of them I knew from the on-line sources). Second time I was more interested to explore book design – ideas, solutions, materials, it gave me food for thought and some new direction for my projects. In my third visit I joined a guided tour with the anthropologist, and the entire story was built around 3-5 specific books on a similar subject. It was a mind opening perspective from the different angle – from someone who is not involved into photography and we had a chance to debate about important “mission” of photographers and photo books in our society.'

Natalia Baluta, photographer

'A book is a very important platform for photography, and now it’s getting more visible, especially for a local Russian context. Books from Undercover exhibition showed very important connections between the meaning of the project and a form of a book. I liked that the installation continued the ‘logic’ of a book and it’s objecthood, and thus made clear not only tendencies of photobook development, but also the whole discourse field around contemporary photography.' 
Kirill Savchenkov, artist 

'At the exhibition Undercover, I saw many ways of working with a book platform which partially inspired me for creating my own publication. A large number of visitors that I witnessed there several times proved that the topic of photobooks is interesting not only for a specific community in Russia, but also to a larger audience.'

Anastasia Tsaider, photographer

'I would compare Undercover with the sound of jazz improvisation, with a fun jam session where every musician is on one hand a strong individual, but also belongs to the whole band.'
Julia Borissova, photographer, graphic designer
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