Unseen Amsterdam returns for its eighth edition to highlight the latest developments at the forefront of contemporary photography.


From 20 –22 September, visitors discovered photography from 53 international galleries, alongside an eclectic mix of Exhibitions, On-site Projects and Talent Development programmes, all coming together to affirm Unseen’s role as a leading platform for the most exciting developments in the world of contemporary photography.



Computers in Control, from the series Encrypted Purgatory, 2019 © Christto-Andrew, Metronom.



●This year the Fair featured 140 artists with more than 95 presenting new work. 19 galleries joined Unseen Amsterdam for the first time.

●The 2019 Exhibitions programme featured Vortex of Infinity by Tabita Rezaire, group exhibition Woven Matters, Lumix Meets Beyond 2020 By Japanese Photographers #7 and A Global Sense of Place by Felicity Hammond.

●This year’s Book Market was bigger and better than ever with 85 independent publishers presenting their latest titles.

●Three-day speakers programme the Living Room was hosted in collaboration with V&A and Lagos Photo.

Unseen continued  celebratating talent development through the ING Unseen Talent Award, Meijburg Art Commission, Unseen Dummy Award and Futures.



Chisi Island, Lake Chilwa, Malawi, 2018 – Fisherman, from the series Fish for Sex, 2018-2019 © Julia Gunther, Mirko Mayer Gallery



Unseen Amsterdam the leading platform for contemporary photography returns ​to providen oveland diverse approaches to engage with the medium. This includes combining various programme elements such as the Fair, On-siteProjects & Exhibitions, the Living Room (three-day speakers programme), the Book Market (70 independent publishers), and the City Programme.



Untitled, from the series Half-Light, 2017© Shahrzad Darafsheh, Ag Galerie.



The 2019 edition enabled 300 up-and-coming and established artists to present boundary-pushing and note worthy work, much of which has never been seen before, and all of which has been created within the last three years.

The ambitious programme featured new international photographic talent, innovative city-wide exhibitions, sales to both private collectors and international institutions and a stimulating speakers series. The emerging talent this year included over 60 female artists out of the 140 exhibiting artists, as well as a strong focus on current socio-political issues such as globalisation, climate change and mental healt.



Carrot Carpet, 2018 Oman ©Scarlett Hooft Graafland – Flowers Gallery.



The Fair

Each year Unseen aims to develop and strengthen its programme by collaborating with innovative institutions and artists, enabling visitors to engage with a variety of photographers and their unique methods. Thisyear’s On-Site Projects included a visual presentation of talented Dutch students from Dutch Academies KABK, HKU and Rietveld. New work from the collective ​Charles Goes Arles, screened from a camper van; as well as work from the photography platform Docking Station.

Now in its eighth year, the Fair element of Unseen Amsterdam has captured the ever-increasing appetite for photography with 53 galleries from around the world presenting work by over 140 artists; 95 of which were premiering work for the first time.



Untitled, from the series Cypher-Cypress, 2019 @Yuval Yairi, Podbielski Contemporary



Unseen Amsterdam: galleries participatingin 2019’s Fair

The galleries came from all around the world, including countries such as Iran, India, Argentina, Ghana, Japan​, and TheUnitedStates. The fair welcomed 19 new international galleries.



Untitled 6, from the series An Oscillating Shadow, 2019 © Celeste Rojas Mugica, Rolf Art.



New galleries included,​ NatureMorte (India), who presented a solo show booth with premiering work by Bharat Sikka;  DECK Gallery (Singapore), whose booth was focused on nature and climate change with participating artists Ang Song Nian,Woong Soak Tang and Robert Zhao Renhui;  Gallery 1957 (Ghana), who showed a solo show booth with Ivorian artist Joana Choumali; and​ RolfArt (Argentina), showcasing politically engaged work by artist and activist, Marcelo Brodsky  and emerging talent Celeste Rojas Mugica.

The 2019 edition also saw numerous returning galleries;​ Ag Galerie (Iran) showing work by three female artists Matin Abedi, Parisa Aminollahi and Ghazaleh Rezaei,​ GRIMM​ (The Netherlands & TheUnitedStates) premiering works by Dana Lixenberg and Saskia NoorvanImhoff,  METRONOM ​(Italy) presenting work by Christto & Andrewand Elena Aya Bundarakis;  Flowers Gallery​ (UK&USA) ​showing Scarlett Hooftgraafland; and ​Robert Morat Galerie (Germany) showing Peter Puklus, Lia Darjes and premiering work by Andrea Grützner.



Untitled, from the series THE SAPPER, 2017 © Bharat Sikka – Nature Morte.



The Living Room

The Living Room brought together creatives and influencers from across the globe for a comprehensive three-day speakers programme packed with lectures, interviews, and panel discussions about the state of photography today. For the 2019 edition,the programme has been organised in close collaboration with  renowned art and design museum The Victoria and Albert Museum (London,UnitedKingdom), and LagosPhoto (Lagos,Nigeria), one of Africa’s first international photography festivals. Topics included the power of images to change social behaviour, how to setup new terms in curating photography, and the influence of modern technology on the way images are made, shared, and experienced.





Unseen Amsterdam’s three-day annual speakers programme aimes to inspire and educate by triggering questions and provoking thought on some of the most pressing subjects surrounding contemporary image-making. This year the Living Room brought together photographers, industry professionals, and scholars from across the globe. Speakers included Azubuike Nwagbogu (Founder/Director, LagosPhoto), Elena Aguido (Artistic Director of SAVVY Contemporary), Artur Walther (Founder of The Walther Collection), Marina Tanguy (Founder of MTART Agency) and Margriet Schavemaker (Artistic Director, Amsterdam Museum), as well as Artist Talks from Dana Lixenberg and Marcelo Brodsky.



Untitled, from the series Vessels, 2017 – 2019 © Bryan Schutmaat,Wouter van Leeuwen.



Book Market

Hosted for the first time at Westergas’ Transformatorhuis, this year’s Book Market has been bigger and better than ever. With 85 independent publishers presenting their latest titles, it has been the place to meet the creative forces of the photobook industry. The Book Market presented more than 32 photobook launches and more than 41 signing sessions throughout the weekend, accompanied by multiple presentations by artists of their books at the Book Market Talks site. Some of the highlights will included: Fw:Books, Elspeth Diederix, When Red Disappears; META/BOOKS, Małgorzata Stankiewicz, Lassen; MACK, Lisa Barnard, The Canary and The Hammer; the(M) éditions, Miho Kajioka, So it goes & Hideyuki Ishibashi, Other Voices; CONVOKE, Ina Jang,


Utopia Center folds At Play.

The special events of the Book Market included, among others, Rob Hornstra’s & Arnold van Bruggen’s presentation of the upcoming project The Europeans. Another highlight was the Unseen Dummy Award,



#60006, from the series Nyx, 2019 © Albarran Cabrera, Bidhalle.




Unseen Dummy Award

The Unseen Dummy Award is a collaboration between Unseen and Lecturis aimes at showcasing the work of exceptional artists and designers from around the world, and to give them a chance to realise and publish their photobook dummy.  Moritz Jekat (1987, DE) won the Unseen Dummy Award 2019; his book, Non ya (None Of Your Business), will be published by Lecturis in spring 2020. Karin Krijgsman from publisher Fw:Books said:


“We have taken part in Unseen’s Book Market programme every year since the event started. For us Unseen acts as a meeting point for both photo book collectors, as well as industry professionals. The new space this year has worked particularly well”.


*The Unseen Dummy Award gives exceptional photographers from around the world the opportunity to publish their photo book dummy.



Smoke Bomb, from the series PROVO Seeds of new ideas, 2019@Marcelo Brodsky, Rolf Art.



Unseen Talent Award 2019

Mentored by internationally acclaimed artist Adam Broomberg(GB), who, together with Oliver Chanarin (1971, GB), form the internationally renowned artist duo Broomberg & Chanarin, the finalists created new work for the ING Collection over the course of several months, related to this year’s theme: Nature of Change. Karolina Wojtas (1996, PL) took away the Jury Prize with We can’t live-without each other and will recive €10,000 to invest in a new project. Winner of the 2019 ING Unseen Talent Award, Karolina Wojtas stated:

“I’m so excited and on the other hand also very terrified! It was a great pleasure to be here at Unseen Amsterdam and it has been wonderful.”



from the series “hive”, 2017



Meijburg Art CommissionKPMG

Meijburg & Co and Unseen proudly presented five nominees for the fifth edition of the Meijburg Art Commission this year. The leading art prize examines the work of multimedia artists with a strong focus on photography, supporting photography talent by providing them the opportunity to develop new work. Marleen Sleeuwits (1980, NL) was selected as the winner of the Meijburg Art Commission




The 2019 programme saw one of the most exciting line-ups of Exhibitions to date, exploring topics from migration and post-colonialism, to feminism, religion and virtual reality.

Vortex of Infinity was one of the leading exhibitions at Unseen Amsterdam 2019, presented by new media artist Tabita Rezaire and curated by Unseen’s new Artistic Director Marina Paulenka. The exhibition presented three video installations by Rezaire: Deep Down Tidal, revealing water’s power as an interface for information and communication, Satellite Devotion, a call to align with the rhythms of the Moon, and Ultra Wet -Recapitulation, questioning the western impulse to reduce the world to binaries: man-woman, masculine-feminine, good-bad, light-dark, strong-weak, life-death.



SJW, from the series Drown In My Magic, 2019 © David Uzochukwu, Galerie Number 8.



Additionally, Woven Matters, an exhibition initiated by Unseen Foundation, presented a selection of contemporary artists combining textiles and photography within their practices. Lumix Meets Beyond 2020 by Japanese Photographers #7  featured the work of six emerging Japanese artists, exploring the theme ‘Over to another parallel world’. Finally, Felicity Hammond’s A Global Sense of Place, investigated the material collision between quasi-photographic images and local urban realities.



Forest on Location – Old Growth, 2019 ©Persijn Broersen – Margit Lukács, AKINCI.



ON-SITE PROJECTS  –  The Graduates and The sponge, the clay, the brick and the bridge  –

Visitors encountered a diverse mix of On-site Projects, a new programme element which aims to empower emerging artists, allowing them to develop their practice, explore unfamiliar topics and apply creativity in new and experimental ways. This year’s projects included, among others, The Graduates, a new initiative by Unseen Foundation marking the transition from student to artist of nine outstanding students from three renowned Dutch art academies: Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht, Koninklijke Academie van Beeldende Kunsten in Den Haag, and Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam.



Indigo 1, from the series Indigo, 2018-2019©Steve Macleod, Black Box Projects.



In addition to the On Site festival programme this year, there was, as with previous years, a city wide programme. This programme included a diverse mix of more than 15 museums and project spaces that participate throughout the city of Amsterdam offering a wide range of exhibitions and viewings Among them; Foam, Stedelijk Museum, Huis Marseille, Melkweg, Iso

Every year Unseen Amsterdam extends beyond Westergas with a rich programme of photography exhibitions and events taking place across the city this year from 20 –22 September. Visitors could explore a diverse mix of museums and project spaces, each contributing with their own events, and could see as well the artworks of prestigious artists and exhibitions by note worthy curators. On the evening of Saturday 21 September from 20:00 to 22:00, a number of local galleries, museums, project spaces and other art institutions opened their doors to welcome guests for exclusive after-hours visits. Unseen Open Gallery Night offered exciting experiences for all photography enthusiasts.



Pink Lady, 2015©Scarlett Hooft Graafland_Flowers Gallery.



Unseen Amsterdam 2019 edition saw 85 independent publishers at the Book Market, an engaging and insightful Living Room speakers programme held in collaboration with V&A and LagosPhoto, as well as thought-provoking Exhibitions (Vortex of Infinity-Tabita Rezaire, Woven Matters, Lumix Meets Beyond 2020 By Japanese Photographers #7 and A Global Sense of Place-Felicity Hammond), the launch of Issue 7 of the Unseen Magazine, as well as other numerous interactive initiatives.


Over the course of three days, the city of Amsterdam was transformed into the capital of contemporary photography, welcoming over 25,000 visitors.




Untitled, from the series THE SAPPER, 2017©Bharat Sikka- Nature Morte




About Unseen

Unseen is the leading international platform for contemporary photography. By focusing exclusively on everything that is new in the world of photography, Unseen reinforces the careers of pioneering artists. Unseen offers a platform to both emerging and established talents, and shares the stories of the world’s most interesting artists -the ‘change-makers’ of tomorrow. Throughout the year, through its magazine, through dynamic events and online, Unseen draws attention to new and experimental approaches to photography and brings the international photography community together.


About Unseen Foundation

Unseen Foundation is an independent not-for-profit organisation that aims to increase the impact of artists working with photography on society. Unseen Foundation launches initiatives to promote the work of emerging artists, with a specific focus on young talent. Through various events, Unseen Foundation creates environments where those with personal and professional interests in contemporary photography can exchange ideas -pushing the medium of photography forward and bringing artists into contact with new audiences every step of the way

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