Photobook Phenomenon is an exhibition intended to contribute to offering new perspectives on the importance and impact of the photobook in contemporary visual culture, charting a course that extends from its origins to the vast output of the present day.
“The photobook […] can be considered photography's ‘natural’ home.”Gerry Badger
Photobooks have become increasingly popular in recent years and have come to occupy a central place in contemporary photography. Nowadays, more photobooks are produced, bought and sold, swapped and collected than ever before. Independent publishing and the self-publishing of books and fanzines have become a phenomenon that has had a considerable impact on both the publishing industry and the art world, and there is an evident return to the printed object, even though we are at the height of the digital era. Many photographers have found this format to be not only a good tool for showing their work, but also the perfect place for experimentation and creativity. In addition, there is a growing interest in reinterpreting the history of photography through the role of the photobook and printed photographs, as demonstrated by a number of ambitious studies and projects recently pursued around the world.
This exhibition, to be shown simultaneously in two venues in Barcelona, the CCCB and the Foto Colectania Foundation, will take a broad look at the phenomenon of the photobook, including the various visions put forward by those who have played a key part in showcasing this genre. The display thus becomes a multifaceted gaze and a dialogue between different perspectives on the photobook, making it the first of its kind. The selected exhibition curators are: Martin Parr, Gerry Badger, Markus Schaden and Frederic Lezmi, Horacio Fernández, Ryuichi Kaneko, Erik Kessels, Irene de Mendoza and Moritz Neumüller. In addition, it will feature various contemporary artists who have contributed a genuine vision to the medium and who present in the exhibition a selection of the creative processes involved in producing a photobook: Laia Abril, Julián Barón, Alejandro Cartagena, Jana Romanova, Vivianne Sassen, Thomas Sauvin i Katja Stuke & Oliver Sieber.
Photobook Phenomenon also explores the challenge of displaying a photobook by using a number of interactive systems that make it possible to look through and experience the book and photography from very diverse viewpoints.
The independent curator Moritz Neumüller has served as the executive curator of the exhibition thanks to the outstanding collaboration between the CCCB and the Foto Colectania Foundation.